Dentures are a replacement for missing teeth that can be removed and put back into your mouth as you please. Depending on each individual patient case, they may receive full or partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all of the natural teeth are removed from the mouth and replaced with a full set of dentures. There are two types of full dentures.
- Conventional Full Dentures - This is when all the teeth have been removed.
- Immediate Full Dentures - Prior to having your teeth removed, your dentist takes measurements and has dentures fitted for your mouth. After removing the teeth, the dentures are immediately placed in your mouth. The benefit is that you do not have to spend any time without teeth. You will, however, need to have a follow up visits to refit your dentures because the jaw bone will slightly change shape as your mouth heals. The dentures will need to be tightened periodically as the jawbone heals.
Partial dentures are another option when not all of your teeth need to be removed. This is similar to a bridge, but it is not a permanent fixture in your mouth.
Your dentures may take some time to get used to. The flesh colored base of the dentures is placed over your gums. Some people say that it feels bulky or that they don't have enough room for their tongue. Other times the dentures might feel loose. These feelings will affect the way you eat and talk for a little while. Over time, your mouth becomes trained to eat and speak with your dentures and they begin to feel more and more like your natural teeth. They may never feel perfectly comfortable, but it is much better than the alternative of not having teeth.
Even though dentures are not real teeth, you should care for them like they are. You should brush them to remove plaque and food particles before removing your dentures. After they have been removed you should place them directly into room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution. Never use hot water because it could warp the dentures. Your dentures are delicate, so make sure you are careful when handling them so you don't drop them. Also, never try to adjust your dentures yourself. You could ruin them, so you should always seek assistance from your dentist if they feel uncomfortable or loose.
A complete denture is an economical way to replace all the teeth in an arch. One can have a complete upper denture, a complete lower denture or both together if all the teeth have been lost.
Full upper denture
Full lower denture
Underside of upper denture
Full dentures require 4 or more dental appointments
At the first appointment, impressions are made of the tissues where the dentures will be seated (edentulous arches)
Wax occlusion rims are made on the models of the edentulous arches. During the second appointment, the dentist will use these occlusion rims to determine how the jaws meet.
The dentist and patient will also determine what shape and shade (color and brightness) the denture teeth will be.
The laboratory technician then sets up the teeth on the occlusion rims according to the bite registration taken at the second appointment. The wax set-up is returned to the dentist
At the third appointment the dentist places the wax set-up of the full dentures in the patients mouth. The dentist evaluates how the teeth meet when the patient bites down. If the alignment or position of the teeth needs to be changed, then the dentist will have the patient bite down on a bite registration material and the wax set-up will be sent back to the laboratory to have the teeth reset.
After the bite is correct and the patient and dentist are pleased with the appearance, the laboratory replaces the wax with a pink hard acrylic and the dentures are returned to the dentist for insertion into the mouth.
New dentures can create sore spots in the mouth. It is quite common that the patient will have to return to the dentist for adjustments to the dentures.