Complete and Partial Dentures
A denture or partial denture is a removable dental appliance replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and can enhance your smile and restore the function of your teeth.
What Kind Of Denture Is Right For Me?
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available, complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
Complete dentures can be either "permanent" or "immediate." A permanent denture is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal and can be placed about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed. Unlike permanent dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal and immediate dentures generally should only be considered a temporary solution until permanent dentures can be made.
How Are Dentures Made?
The denture development process takes a few weeks and several appointments. Once you and Dr. Lemons determine what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
- Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them.
- Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will "try in" this model several times and the denture will be assessed for color, shape, and fit before the final denture is cast.
- Cast a final denture.
- Adjustments will be made as necessary.
What Do New Dentures Feel Like?
New dentures or partials may feel a little odd for a few weeks until the muscles of the cheeks and tongue learn to keep them in place and you get comfortable inserting and removing them. Also, it is not unusual for minor irritation or soreness to occur and for saliva flow to increase when you first start wearing dentures, but these problems will diminish as the mouth adjusts and you get used to wearing your denture or partial.
After you get your dentures, you may need one or more follow-up appointments to get adjustments. Never attempt to adjust or repair dentures yourself. Never bend any part of the clasp or metal attachments yourself; this can weaken the metal structure. "Do-it-yourself" repair kits can permanently damage dentures, and over-the-counter glues may contain harmful chemicals. Dentures that don't fit the way they should can cause irritation and sores in the mouth and on the gums so be sure to call Dr. Lemon's office for an appointment if your denture breaks, cracks, or chips or if one of the teeth becomes loose.
Are Dentures Worn 24 Hours a Day?
Dr. Lemons will instruct you as to how long to wear your new dentures and when to remove them. During the first several days after receiving your denture, you may be asked to wear it all the time, including while you sleep. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is the quickest way to identify the areas on the denture that may need adjustment. Once adjustments are made, you should remove dentures before going to bed. This allows gum tissues to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. The denture can be put back in the mouth in the morning.
How Do I Care for My Dentures or Partials
Proper denture care is important for both the health of your dentures and your mouth. Here are some tips:
- Handle dentures with great care. To avoid dropping them, stand over a folded towel or a full sink of water when handling them.
- Brush and rinse dentures daily, but not with toothpaste. Toothpaste is abrasive and makes microscopic scratches where food and plaque can build up. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food and plaque. Brushing also helps prevent permanent stains on the dentures. Use a brush with soft bristles that is designed for cleaning dentures. Avoid using a hard-bristled brush, as it can damage or wear down dentures. Gently brush all surfaces of the denture, and be careful not to damage the plastic or bend attachments. In between brushings, rinse dentures after every meal.
- Clean with a denture cleaner. You can use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid for cleaning dentures. Household cleansers and many toothpastes may be too abrasive for dentures. Also, avoid using bleach, as this may whiten the pink portion of the denture. Or you can try an ultrasonic cleaner. This is a small bathtub-like device that contains a cleaning solution. You put the denture in the tub, and sound waves create a wave motion that dislodges the deposits. An ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a thorough daily brushing. Products with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance are recommended because they have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.
- Take proper care of dentures when not wearing them. Dentures need to be kept moist so they don’t dry out or lose their shape. When you’re not wearing them, put dentures in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. But if the denture has metal attachments, the attachments could tarnish in a soaking solution. Your dentist can recommend the best methods for caring for your dentures. Never put dentures in hot water, which can make them warp.
- Never leave dentures or partials out of your denture case when you are not wearing them and always keep them out of reach of pets. Dentures and partials can be damaged by falling or dropping from surfaces and keeping them in the denture case when not in use protects them from getting damaged or broken.
Even with full dentures, it is important to brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush every morning before putting the dentures in. This removes plaque and boosts circulation in the mouth. Pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture's metal clasps. Plaque that gets trapped under the clasps will raise the risk of tooth decay. If you wear a partial denture, be sure to remove it before brushing your natural teeth. Clean, rest, and massage your gums regularly. Rinsing your mouth daily with lukewarm salt water will help clean the gums. Eat a balanced diet to maintain proper nutrition and a healthy mouth.
How Often Should I See Dr. Lemons if I Have Dentures?
Regular dental visits every 6 months are important so that your dentures or partials and your mouth can be examined to ensure proper fit, to look for signs of oral diseases including cancer, and to have teeth professionally cleaned.