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Dentures

What are dentures?

As a prosthetic device, dentures are also called false teeth which are used to replace teeth that are missing or the teeth that have become decayed. There are various designs that are used by dentists today such as conventional dentures that can be removed and dentures that are fixed by clasping or bonding or dental implants. Different categories of dentures are used depending on whether they are to be placed on the maxillary arch or the mandibular arch. Made from metal or acrylic or plastic, dentures can be full or complete where all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw can be replaced or a partial denture can be done to replace spaces left by missing teeth that would be fixed with precision attachments or metal clasps.

Why do some patients undergo pain with dentures?

Most denture wearers experience pain at one time or another which is not uncommon. If the patient has new dentures there are pains that come with this fixture while if the patient experiences a different kind of pain, then on-time medical help is necessary. The usual denture pains may be pressure sores, jaws that feel tired and ache or swollen and tender gums. This can be due to a bad fit where the dentures become loose and scrape against the gums which can get inflamed or pinched that result in swelling. Pain can also occur because of too much pressure while biting or chewing. The people who wear dentures should cut their food into smaller pieces to offer comfort to the dentures and lessen the pressure.

Sometimes when the bones and gums shrink, the dentures lose their once suitable fit and rub against the gums causing soreness. Resorption occurs because of the shrinking process when the bone in the jaw does not have the original roots of teeth to provide support. Gum disease is another reason for dentures becoming loose. It is necessary to see your dentist periodically to prevent discomfort and restore a suitable fit for the dentures to be able to live a normal lifestyle.

When is a denture necessary?

People who have lost their teeth either on the upper or the lower jaw or on both need dentures. Dentures help the patient to eat with ease, speak coherently with restored confidence and self-esteem. When teeth are missing, or if there are gaps or if the teeth are crooked they can be replaced by partial dentures. Dentures are necessary as they support the remaining natural teeth and offer support besides preventing gum disease.

What is time frame taken to place a denture after the tooth or teeth are taken out?

Normally, dentures are fitted immediately after the teeth are removed or taken out with the process known as 'immediate dentures'. The patient has to visit the dentist earlier for impressions and the measurements of the teeth and the mouth. The gums would heal with the immediate dentures as well. But with time, the gums and the bone would shrink within the first 6 months after removal of the teeth. If this occurs, the immediate dentures would have to be re-aligned and in some cases replaced. Some dentists would advise waiting till the gums are healed before placement of the dentures so that there is a more secure and better fit.

What are the different types of dentures available?

As a more complex operation, crown and bridge or fixed partial dentures are created from crowns that are fixed on the natural teeth to function as abutments with pontics designed from specific materials that look like the natural teeth. As a cost-effective type of denture, removable partial dentures can be used for patients who have missing teeth or a tooth on a specific arch. Complete dentures or full dentures are created for patients who have no teeth on the upper or maxillary arch or the mandibular or the lower arch.

Which dental professional is responsible for designing and fitting a denture?

Normally your dentist would take the impressions and the measurements of the mouth and the denture or dentures would be made by a professional dental lab. The dentist would check the fit and size after placement of the dentures. It is best to consult with your dentist about the manufacture of the dentures and follow it up so that you can regain your perfect smile.

Will it be difficult to eat with dentures?

Though it takes some time to get used to the dentures, you will soon gain the confidence to feel comfortable as soon as possible. You should start by eating soft foods and foods cut into small pieces so that there is no pressure on the dentures by chewing slowly and using both sides of the mouth. You can go back to your healthy balanced diet and regain a normal lifestyle.

Do dentures affect the way people speak?

At first you may feel a bit of awkwardness that you will soon get over. Certain words may be difficult to pronounce but if you persist in mastering this you will sound better eventually. Sometimes the dentures may slip. Rectify this problem by biting down on the dentures and swallowing or visit your dentist if you still feel uncomfortable.

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