Dentures can be an affordable and attractive option for restoring your smile after tooth loss. Unfortunately, many patients have outdated notions about how dentures feel and look. With today’s materials and denture designs, there’s no reason that a denture needs to be noticeably artificial.
There are different types of dentures for different tooth loss scenarios. Partial dentures are used when a patient only needs to replace a few teeth. Complete dentures are appropriate when the entire upper or lower arch (or both) needs to be restored. The appliances, whether partial or complete, are made of acrylics or other plastics and mimic the appearance of teeth and gums.
Partial dentures can be removable, in which case they are attached to the teeth using metal clasps, or fixed. Complete dentures may or may not also require denture adhesive to stay in place. Patients with dentures that have a close fit may not need this extra adhesive.
Today’s dentures are made of high quality materials that share many optical characteristics of biological teeth. The use of these materials results in an appliance with a lifelike aesthetic. Additionally, many models of dentures can be custom designed to match your natural smile or even improve on it if you wish. If you are getting partial dentures, you should discuss your overall smile goals with your dentist, as some procedures – such as teeth whitening – will need to be completed before you are fitted with the denture.
The process of getting fitted for dentures can differ somewhat from patient to patient depending on the design of the appliance. In general, the dentist will take dental impressions of the area for which a partial denture is being created or of the entire gumline for a complete denture. If the patient is getting a conventional appliance, this will take place after sufficient time has passed to heal from all extractions. Some dentures are designed to be fitted as soon as the teeth are extracted, however. Discuss your various options with your dentist.
The impressions are then sent to a dental laboratory that creates the appliance, and when that appliance is ready, you will return to our office to be fitted with it.
At the appointment when you receive your dentures, you will also get detailed instructions on how to take care of the appliances. It is important to follow these instructions closely for optimal oral health and to make the most of your dentures. Even if you have complete dentures, you still can develop gum disease, so you should take great care to be diligent about oral hygiene. This will keep disease-causing oral bacteria in check. Also, just because you’ve gotten dentures, it doesn’t mean you can skip out on routine dental care at our office. You should still come in every six months for exams, which can identify gum disease and even oral cancer in an early stage when those conditions can be more readily treated.
It’s also important to understand that your dentures may feel slightly uncomfortable or unusual at first as you get adjusted to them. Don’t panic if that happens. It is likely to resolve over time. If the discomfort persists or if your dentures are causing significant pain for you, call our office to schedule an appointment to have the appliances refitted.
Additionally, patients are likely to experience some bone loss over time. This is a normal process, but it also affects the fit of your dentures as the years pass. When this occurs, we can also re-line the dentures to improve their fit, so be sure to schedule an appointment if you notice this phenomenon.
Some patients may be tempted to forego tooth replacement, especially when the missing teeth are in a part of the smile that’s not highly noticeable. However, if you make that choice, you risk other consequences for your oral health. Your remaining teeth may shift out of position to fill the empty gap, and those teeth may be subjected to unusually strong forces that make them more susceptible to breaking. Your diet may suffer as well if you limit yourself to foods that can be chewed easily with a partial smile.
In addition to providing you with a comfortable set of dentures, our staff will also work diligently to maximize your insurance benefits in order to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. We also accept a variety of payment options to help you fit any of your expenses into your budget.
Tooth loss doesn’t have to be a setback to a lifetime of good oral health and general well-being. A properly fitting set of dentures, whether they are partial or full, not only restore your smile’s function, they also amplify your self-esteem. Get a start on bringing back your beautiful, confident smile by scheduling a consultation at our office.