Dentures, at one time, were considered a last resort for those who did not take proper care of their natural teeth. The dentures of that time were uncomfortable to wear, ill-fitting, and did not help someone’s appearance. Thankfully, things have changed over the last few decades. Modern dentures are nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth if worn correctly.
Whether you know someone with dentures, have dentures already, or are considering getting dentures, you probably have some questions about them. We will look at what dentures are, what kind of care they require, and how they can improve your oral health. We will provide information that can help you decide whether getting dentures is the right option for you.
The Basics of Dentures
Dentures are artificial gums and teeth formed to your mouth. They are created by a dentures dentist to replace removed or lost natural teeth. Dentures can be full or partial, which means that can replace all the teeth on the top or bottom of your mouth, or they can replace just a handful that is missing. Whichever case applies to you, the dentures will be custom designed to fit your mouth well and will visually match the existing teeth you have.
Artificial teeth that made up dentures were made of plastic or porcelain, but times have changed. In modern times, dentures are made of a hard resin. The materials used to make dentures are more fragile than natural teeth and need to be cared for properly to last a long time. The material also wears down with use, meaning they must be replaced every now and again.
The part of the denture that resembles the gum line is also made out of a resin similar to the teeth or may be made from a flexible polymer material to fit the gum line snugly.
Reasons for Choosing Dentures
The most common reason to seek dentures is when you are missing multiple teeth on both rows. If there are wide gaps of three or more missing teeth, there is not a sufficient anchor for using fillings or crowns. Dentures become the best option. Your St. Louis dentist may suggest full or partial dentures, depending on the number of teeth that are missing and where the gaps are in your mouth.
For those who are older, wear and tear can cause your natural teeth to deteriorate over time. In order to alleviate pain, eliminate root infections, and live an easier life, dentures may be a reasonable option. However, modern St. Louis dentists will do whatever is possible to save your natural teeth. Dentures will only be suggested as a final solution. What that means is that if we are recommending dentures, there’s likely no other option available.
The good news is that dentures have improved over the years. They are well-made, comfortable, and cannot be distinguished from natural teeth when properly worn. They can chew and eat anything that natural teeth can, and you will find that caring for them becomes easier over time. While dentures used to be something feared, there’s no need for that anymore. Dentures can actually improve your quality of life by a significant amount.
Partial Dentures vs. Full Dentures
For those who have nearly all of their natural teeth missing, a dentist in St. Louis may recommend removing the remaining teeth. This especially makes sense if there are only a handful of teeth left in the entire mouth. While it is possible to design custom dentures that accommodate the few remaining teeth, it costs much more, and there is no real benefit from doing this.
A better option, in this case, is to remove the remaining teeth so you can be fitted with a complete set of dentures. The dentures dentist will first take a cast of your mouth. After these critical measurements have been taken, you will be prescribed a temporary set of dentures. These will only be used for a short period of time while the jawbone and gum tissue recover from the dental extractions.
The reason for this is because once your teeth have been pulled, your mouth will have a different shape and size than it did previously. So, the mouth needs to heal, and swelling needs to go down before your permanent set of dentures are fitted. On average, permanent dentures may be added about twelve weeks after the initial extraction. Until then, the temporary set of dentures will do the job.
When it comes to a partial denture, it works similarly to a full denture except that it does not replace all of your natural teeth. With a partial denture, the missing teeth will be filled with artificial teeth attached to a plastic frame. There are two types of partial dentures. One is constant and stays in the mouth at all times. The other is removable and cleaned the same way as a complete denture set. If you are considering dentures, ask your St. Louis dentist what the best option might be for you.
Advantages of Wearing Dentures
The largest benefit of dentures is to those who have lost many of their teeth. Without dentures, these individuals would be forced into a life of problems regarding speaking, chewing, and swallowing. If missing multiple teeth in a row, facial tissue can begin to sag and cave inwards. As such, dentures can be a way for these people to look and feel normal again.
Dentures can also help transform lives, especially for those who have had significant problems eating and chewing. For someone who has had painful teeth for the majority of their life, dentures can be a relief as the pained teeth are pulled, and dentures are a painless alternative. This is particularly the case as modern dentures are easy to maintain, sturdy, and flexible.
While it can be scary to have a dentist suggest that you consider dentures, it does not have to be. The dentist likely believes that your teeth are no longer healthy enough for use, but that there is an excellent alternative is available. Dentures are common nowadays and allow people to live a life similar to those with normal teeth. There is nothing to fear, and your St. Louis dentist will tell you just that.
Disadvantages of Wearing Dentures
There are few disadvantages to wearing dentures other than simply no longer having natural teeth. However, this is often something that cannot be helped, so calling it a weakness is difficult. Patients will, however, need new dentures on average about once every five years. This is because of the aging process and mouth changes. It can be frustrating to have to go through these changes and upgrades for some.
Cost is another disadvantage, especially to those who may not be financially secure. Because dentures are well-made and durable for long-term use, they can be quite expensive. The cost represents the quality of the dentures and the knowledge that they can do what you need. However, low-income patients may find this a disadvantage.
The final disadvantage is that some people find that dentures are not as satisfying as natural teeth. This may be the case for those who worry about how they look in their mouth or are concerned about whether others know they are wearing dentures. They look at dentures as problematic and sub-par which leads to treating them as an annoyance.
Denture Creation Process
Dentures will be manufactured according to your needs, as every patient is different. However, it begins with a comprehensive picture of the mouth. The dentist then takes measurements, so the dentures fit your precise specifications. This is done because dentures are meant to fit well, as they are worn for long periods at a time.
The final set of dentures can take quite a bit of time to make. Your dentist may need to try numerous casts to get the best fit. This can be frustrating, but patience will lead to the best quality dentures you can have. It will also take time to get used to the feel of them, so again, there needs to be some patience with these things.
Dentures & Adhesives
Many people believe that dentures require an adhesive to stay in place. However, this is not actually true. In fact, dentures should be well-fitting and if worn correctly will have enough natural suction to stay firm in the mouth without an adhesive. It is best only to use adhesives if your dentist has approved the practice.
Sometimes, we find that need for an adhesive goes up with use and age. The longer you wear them, the more your gums might recede, which may require an adhesive. However, most dentists believe it is a better practice to remove the dentures and update with a new set that fits better. This again rids you of the need for glue or adhesive.
If you are new to dentures, you will find that your mouth will feel odd. That is normal and is only present as your gums get used to the dentures. Swallowing, talking, and chewing can feel strange, but you will get used to it. If there is tightness, tenderness, or pain, that is when you should speak with us, your dental specialist. Dentures should not be uncomfortable, even if you wear them for a significant amount of time.
Eating with Dentures
It stands to reason that your dentures will feel foreign at first, this includes while eating. You may have an extra awareness of your chewing that was never part of your routine before. This will subside over time as you get used to the dentures. Something that can help is ensuring you eat on both sides of the mouth, so you become familiar with each side. After a bit of time, eating will go back to normal for the most part.
Exceptions to the rule include hard or sticky foods. Hard candies and toffees may no longer be easy to eat unless you are comfortable sucking on them instead of chewing. Gum is equally off limits, as it pulls at the dentures and can make them come loose at inconvenient times.
Denture Wear Time
Typically, people wear dentures only during the daytime. At night, the dentures are removed and set in a cleaning solution. This allows them to be disinfected become free of bacteria. It also lets your mouth have time to do its own needed maintenance. At night, gum tissue will relax, and the tongue and saliva help remove any debris from the mouth. For those who wear dentures and those who do not, this is an important part of good oral health practices.
At Family and Cosmetic Dentistry – Dr. James L. Schmidt & Associates, we can help advise you as to the amount of time you should wear your dentures and how much you can rest them. Sometimes, new denture wearers will be asked to wear the dentures overnight. That is because wearing them on a prolonged basis gives restorative dentistry staff the change to see what parts of the denture may need adjusting. For example, if you wear new dentures overnight and find that a part of your mouth is sore in the morning, that area likely needs to be adjusted.
Care of Your Dentures
Surprisingly, dentures are quite easy to take care of. They should be removed at night but can rest in a glass of water. Most use a cleaning solution, but this is not always required. You will also need to brush your dentures, but this will be done before you put them in your mouth. If you have worn your dentures for a long time, you may want to ask your dentist for a deep clean.
At Family and Cosmetic Dentistry – Dr. James L. Schmidt & Associates, we can help you with your denture care. We are also happy to give you an opinion on whether dentures are right for you. You can contact us by phone at 314-968-7979 or fill out our online form. We look forward to hearing from you and filling your need for a dentist in St. Louis.