Dentures can bring your smile back if you have lost a few teeth due to injury or gum disease.
If you don’t have any teeth at all because of old age, dentures can add smoothness to your mouth by taking over your jaws. They give structure to your mouth while looking natural, so you don’t feel embarrassed among friends.
This article answers a bunch of questions about dentures, including what they are, how to take care of them, their costs, advantages and disadvantages, and much more.
Let’s get started.
What are dentures?
Dentures are artificial teeth made to replace your lost natural teeth. You can replace only a few lost teeth with them. Some dentures, however, completely replace your teeth, gums, or surrounding tissues.
Each denture has two parts: the base and the teeth. The base is made with a kind of pigmented acrylic called polymethyl methacrylate. This product mimics the look and color of your natural gum tissue. The teeth can be made from different materials, like acrylic or porcelain. They resemble your natural teeth as much as possible.
Types of dentures
Traditional Complete Dentures
Complete dentures replace your missing teeth on both the upper and lower jaw. They are not attached to any existing teeth, as dental bridges are. Rather they sit on your gums.
They are generally put within 8-12 weeks of tooth extraction. Sometimes they can be placed right after the extraction takes place. In that case, the gum tissues heal under the dentures.
Made from plastic, porcelain, or a combination of both, they may be attached to dental implants.
They will wear over time as the bone recedes and may require slight realignment.
Partial dentures are designed to help you when left with some teeth in your upper or lower jaw. They are also good for you if you have lost two to three teeth beside each other.
There are partial dentures for the front teeth as well. They are made from acrylic or acrylic substances and prevent your other teeth from shifting.
Partial Dentures settle within a few days, but you need another few days to adjust to them.
A metal clasp secures them in place inside your mouth. Your dentist may recommend a precision attachment for you. You can remove your partial dentures whenever you like. It is not necessary to remove them when you go to sleep.
Also Read: Interim Partial Denture: What Is It?
Custom dentures fit in properly with your jaw structure and look aesthetically pleasing. Unlike the readymade ones, they require little repair and adjustments. That makes them financially viable in the long run.
They are tailored to your smile. Your dentist takes the impression of your jaw or teeth on the impression material to ensure you have the perfect denture for your mouth.
Immediate dentures are generally implanted the same day your teeth are extracted. However, you must be a suitable candidate for them. Dentists prescribe them when you wait for your conventional dentures to be prepared.
Since they are ready-made, they may not fit your mouth perfectly. But they are a good choice because, in the absence of your teeth, the quality of your speech may deteriorate, which they will prevent.
A dental implant is used to anchor the denture with implant-supported dentures.
The implant offers substantial support for a stable foundation, allowing the denture to remain securely in place. But you have enough bone structure in your jaws to have this kind of denture.
They are a good fit for those who have lost all their teeth.
With two surgeries within about five months, you can have implant-supported dentures that will look natural and last a long time.
They are secured in place using dental implants or anchors attached to the existing teeth. What distinguishes them is the implanted locator attachments on the tissue side of the denture. The locator attachments are designed to snap into implants or locator receptors.
They are often used when you lack teeth but have sufficient bone to support an implant.
The attachments eventually wear out with time, rendering the dentures loose. Still, they last at least a year.
An overdenture is a removable partial denture that fits on top of the gums secured by titanium dental implants. They contain pearly-white prosthetic crowns and some simulated gum tissue made of pink acrylic.
Detachable, they can be used on either the upper or lower jaw, based on your need.
You can remove them at night for cleaning purposes. You can sleep with them, too, because they rest on the implant, not your gum. But do remember to clean them regularly to avoid bad breath and ensure good oral hygiene.
Upper dentures are exactly what they sound like: they are your new teeth for the upper jaw.
They may be the best option if you lack teeth in your upper jaw. They are partial dentures. You can extract your (remaining) teeth and have your upper denture on the same day.
The tissues will heal under the denture’s base in such a case. Note that our upper jaw is not as strong as our lower jaw. That is why you may need more implants on the upper jaw than on your lower jaw to hold your upper denture in place.
How long do you wait to get dentures after teeth are pulled?
It takes between six and eight weeks after getting your teeth extracted to get your artificial teeth fitted. In some cases, you may need to wait longer. Your dentist will give you a temporary set of teeth for this duration. These temporary teeth are your immediate dentures. They will be prepared before your teeth are extracted and given to you immediately after extraction.
The process to get your immediate teeth should start two weeks before the extraction of your teeth. Your dentist will examine your teeth and suggest the color of your new teeth.
The process does not end once you have your device inside your mouth. You have to be constantly in touch with your dentist to ensure your acrylic is still suitable for your gums as the bones get reduced little by little.
How do dentures work?
A flesh-colored acrylic foundation covers your gums with complete dentures. The base of the top denture protects the palate. The base of the lower denture is curved like a horseshoe to fit your tongue. They can be secured to your jaw through dental implants. When that is done, they are called implant-supported dentures. They are your permanent solution. You don’t need to remove them from your mouth to clean them. You can use non-abrasive toothpaste with a soft-bristled toothbrush for this purpose. Non-abrasive or mildly abrasive toothpaste may be a bit costlier than regular ones, but you must care about your dentures. Different kinds of water-flossing devices are available in the market to remove food and bacterial buildup from them.
Custom-made dentures are created in a dental laboratory using imprints of your mouth. According to National Institute of Health experts, acrylic resin, or plastic, is the highest on-demand material for dentures. Base metal alloys made of nickel, chromium, and cobalt secure your dentures inside your mouth.
Dental appointments are very important to examine the health of your jawbone and gums. When at the dentist, you may expect a number of things:
- The dentist will clean your gums and examine their health.
- They will clean every bit of the surface of the dentures.
- If required, they will remove your dentures and clean around your dental implants.
- Any infections or gum diseases will come to light during this time.
- Your dentist will tell you what to do next i.e. if you need denture replacement.
What are the pros and cons of immediate dentures?
- You will never appear in public without teeth.
- They replicate your original teeth’s form, color, and placement.
- It is much easier to create a new denture when you still have some of your natural teeth.
- Immediate dentures may not fit well after your gums heal.
- This is a more costly alternative. You have to reline them. Then once your permanent dentures are ready, they will be discarded.
- You can’t tell how much your gums will shrink, so the immediate dentures may get loose sooner than you think.
- You cannot test them before the extraction of your teeth. That makes it harder to imagine how they will fit in your mouth.
How long do immediate dentures last?
Immediate dentures are used until your regular dentures arrive. That is a period of 6 to 8 months. They will survive such a duration. But due to regular wear, they will need to be relined, rebuilt, or rebased.
Rebasing is creating a new denture foundation while retaining the existing denture teeth. If you have an acrylic base, it will be removed for a new acrylic base.
Your mouth changes as you age. The change may be minor for the entire face but still significant for your jaws, dentures, and implants. It may result in loosening your dentures, making chewing more difficult and irritating.
At the very least, visit your dentist once a year for a checkup.
How to maintain your dentures
- Stand over a folded towel or a water bowl when handling your dentures. Dentures are fragile and are prone to break if dropped.
- Do not let your dentures dry out. Soak them in a denture cleaning solution or simple water when not wearing them. Never use hot water to clean them since this might cause them to distort.
- Brushing your dentures regularly will help remove food deposits and plaque and will help keep them stain-free. While an ultrasonic cleaner can clean your dentures, it cannot substitute for regular daily cleaning.
- Brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush each morning before inserting your dentures. This increases circulation in your tissues and helps with plaque removal.
- Consult your dentist if dentures become loose, shatter, chip, or crack. Avoid modifying them yourself, as this might cause irreversible damage.
Frequently asked questions
Dentures are prosthetic teeth that may be removed. They are made to appear real. Due to technological advancement, dentures these days appear and feel very natural.
Basic complete dentures may cost between $600 and $1,500. A midrange set may cost between $1,500 and $3,000. Then, a luxury set may cost between $3500 and $15,000. But when you consider that dentures have the potential to transform your life, they become your most valuable investment.
The dentist or prosthodontist will advise you on how long to wear and when to remove your denture. During the first few days following getting your denture, you may be instructed to wear it constantly, even while sleeping. This is frequently the case when instant dentures are used. Even if you are wondering if you can sleep with partial dentures inside your mouth, removing them is still a good idea. After appropriate washing, the denture can be reinserted into the mouth in the morning.
While some dentists assert that individuals typically replace their teeth between the ages of 40 to 49, many dentists suggest dentures much sooner or later.
What is an alternative to dentures?
Apart from dentures, there are many other options that some folks may choose. Artificial teeth implants are permanent because a metal screw is inserted into the jawbone to provide support before the false tooth is affixed. You may want to have a single implant or a whole set. Although implants are much more costly than dentures, some people are willing to spend the additional cost for permanence.
What is a cheap alternative to dentures?
Implants are expensive. Visiting your dentist for many appointments is expensive. Even partial dentures are expensive.
You can use veneers instead, which can improve the appearance of your existing teeth by covering them with a thin coating of porcelain. They cannot, however, restore your lost teeth.
Bridges are another substitute for dentures. Bridges are composed of false teeth secured in place using a dental crown glued to adjacent teeth or an implant. They are much more permanent over removable dentures but may not require implant placement if adjacent teeth are healthy.
You may get cheap dentures from your local health department and primary healthcare centers if you qualify.
If not, you may participate in a clinical study to get your dentures. Besides, dental colleges often organize practice sessions for their student dentists and dental hygienists. Contact your nearest college to see if there is any such opportunity for you.
However, the easiest way to get dentures at an affordable price is to subscribe to a discounted dental plan.
Dangers of going cheap
Cheap dentures come at a cost. They do not fit in properly with your jaw. That means they do not put enough pressure on your jawbone to keep it active. In the absence of proper use, the bone will ultimately erode, complicating the situation.
Besides, ready-made dentures will need frequent replacements, thus becoming costlier with time.
In addition, if you decide to have a set of dentures, your desire is to improve the quality of your life. The cheap ones may cause your jaws to hurt, thus adding to your discomfort with your mouth. It can be stressful for many to deal with dental problems. The cost may even be higher if you want to see a dentist in an emergency.
Gum disease or extensive tooth rot might result in tooth loss. In certain circumstances, your dentist may also have to extract some — or even all — of your teeth. Whether you require partial or total dentures, the process might take many months from start to finish. Immediate dentures help you not to go too long lacking teeth following an extraction, which protects your gums and boosts your confidence.