Dentures are custom made removable appliances used to replace missing teeth. They are capable of restoring a variety of functions like chewing, speaking or smiling. They can either be complete, where all the teeth are replaced or partial, where some teeth are replaced.
When are dentures recommended
Dentures are artificial substitutes for missing natural teeth. They are mainly recommended in case of tooth loss. Tooth loss can occur due to a variety of reasons:
Poor oral hygiene
Severe tooth decay
Surgical resection of the jaws
How do dentures help
When teeth are lost, the muscles surrounding your jaws tend to sag ,This causes a lot of changes in the jaw and surrounding structures and affects their normal function. Dentures can restore these normal functions. Not only do they help you eat and chew, they also improve your speech and enhance your appearance considerably. Well made dentures are nearly undetectable and can add a great boost to your confidence and well being.
How are dentures made
The process of making dentures usually starts 8 to 12 weeks following the removal of damaged natural teeth. The treatment typically requires 3-5 sittings with regular follow-ups. Following are the steps in making dentures:
The treatment is usually started with a thorough diagnosis and examination of the bone and surrounding tissues. If there is any irregularity in the bone or soft tissues, it may need to be corrected prior to making the measurements for the dentures.
Your dentist will then make an impression of your jaw and surrounding structures. This impression is further refined with a custom made impression tray in the second sitting to better record all the structures. Digital scanning may also be utilized.
The third step, jaw relations, involves the measurement of the space available between the jaws for the arrangement of teeth. The contours and fullness of the dentures are also roughly determined in this step.
A trial of the final denture is then performed to check for the appearance, speech and biting. This will help you understand how your dentures look and feel.
The dentures are finally delivered in the last sitting. Your dentist may trim or grind your dentures if necessary for minor adjustments.
Getting accustomed to the new dentures always takes a while. Several follow-up appointments may be necessary to get the perfect fit.
What to expect after dentures
A new set of dentures may feel quite unusual at the beginning. It may take a couple of weeks for the surrounding muscles, cheeks and the tongue to get used to them. Sometimes you may also develop a little soreness or ulceration following the insertion of the dentures. There may also be excessive production of saliva in the first few weeks. Speech may be slurred in certain cases. However, as your mouth gets accustomed to the new dentures, these problems usually get resolved. Follow up visits to the dentist may be required for minor adjustments and correct fit.
Instructions to be followed while using dentures
Practicing good oral hygiene is a must even if you’re wearing complete dentures. Your dentures need to be rinsed and cleaned every day with a soft toothbrush and non abrasive cleaner. Dentures are typically worn during the day and kept aside in the night to give your tissues some rest. It is advisable to store your dentures in a tight, closed container with water. Lastly, it is recommended to schedule regular check-up with your dentist.
Alternatives to dentures
Teeth can also be replaced with certain fixed prosthetic appliances like bridges or implants. The treatment usually depends on the number of teeth missing or the bone quality. Certain medical complications can also affect the placement of implants. The most viable tooth replacement option will be determined by your dentist depending on the situation.