Dentures

Different Types Of Dentures

Dentures are replacement teeth that can be removed when required. They have a acrylic gum line with acrylic teeth attached to mimic your own set of teeth.

There are different types of dentures available:

Immediate Dentures

When your teeth have been removed, an immediate denture can be fitted.  This is a temporary denture that is fitted to allow the gums time to heal.

The temporary denture can be worn for around 10 – 12 weeks after the removal of teeth. As the healing occurs, bones and gums shrink slightly after the teeth have been removed

Immediate dentures are made before your teeth have removed. These kind of dentures are often the choice of patients, since there will be no time lag when the patient will be without teeth.

The disadvantage of these temporary dentures is that they will need quite a lot of adjustment. They should thus only be seen as a temporary solution.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are made when not all your teeth are missing. The denture replaces the missing teeth between your existing teeth or crowns / bridges.

Teeth are attached to a pink acrylic gum base, and this is connected to a metal framework that fits over your palate and attaches with clasps to the surrounding teeth.

Partial dentures are advisable as if spaces are left in your mouth the existing teeth may start to drift and reposition. Partial Dentures are removable and are easily cleaned and replaced by the patient.

Full Dentures

These are made when all your teeth are lost and an immediate denture is not sufficient. These dentures covers your hard bone where your original teeth were. The teeth span around your mouth and are attached to a acrylic gum line..

Full Dentures require as much surface area as possible, since they rely on suction to hold them in place. The pink acrylic cover most of your hard palate, and can cause some patients to gag.  However it is only the first 24 hours that causes this kind of sensation. It is normally well tolerated as the suction is important and keeps the retention. If the gag reflex does not fade after 24 hours, the acrylic can be cut to help alleviate the sensation.

It normally takes 3 appointments from start to finish to achieve the perfect denture fit.

How to Eat With Dentures

Getting dentures means a big adjustment to your lifestyle. But with practice and patience, you will be in the swing of things in no time.

And one of the things you’ll need to practice doing is eating.

Why?

If you’re not careful about what you eat, you could run the risk of breaking them, or having small hard pieces wedged underneath them.

What’s different?

Initially, right after you get your dentures, you’ll need to get used to eating with them. It DOES take practice. So you’ll need to start off carefully with a liquid and soft diet. Good choices would be such foods such as smoothies, plain scrambled eggs, yogurt, juices and cooked cereals (like oatmeal) for breakfast. Lunch and supper could be soups, stews, purees, mashed potatoes, noodles, soft meats and cooked fish, well boiled vegetables, beans, applesauce and puddings.

Cut your food into small pieces, chew slowly and completely, and, this is important—chew on both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent tipping of your dentures.

Adding a good multi-vitamin is advised while you’re getting started to boost nutrition.

After a few weeks when you’ve adjusted to what you’ve eaten so far, and learned to chew on both sides of your mouth, you can venture into foods with more texture. Now you can have foods including sliced fruits and vegetables, light crackers, soft-crusted breads and tender corns. Also, you can include cheese and poultry items. But remember—always be sure to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.

What! No biltong?

Certain foods will have to be totally avoided, while wearing dentures. ALWAYS avoid anything sticky. This includes things like chewing gum, caramels, toffy and chewy chocolates.

Other foods to avoid are any foods that require tugging—like peanut or other nut butters, breads with hard crusts, WHOLE fruits and vegetables, and fruits with seeds. And, of course, no biltong! Try avoid tough meats, including beef jerky or any meats with bones. Also avoid nuts and seeds. These could easily slip underneath your dentures. Plus the nuts are hard, and along with hard candy, popcorn kernels and raw fruits and vegetables, could cause damage to your dentures.

This applies even when you’re completely used to wearing dentures and feel confident eating with them.

Your dentist can advise you on foods you’re unsure of.

Taste

One thing you’ll notice is that foods don’t taste as good as you remembered. Well, there’s a reason.

And don’t worry; it’s only a temporary thing.

Since you’re concentrating on eating correctly, your mind is getting signals from your mouth, mostly about your dentures. And this overpowers the messages coming from your taste buds. You might try adding herbs to boost flavor, at least for a while.

If you want to keep you dentures for a good long while, be mindful of a proper diet.

 

 

The Dilemma of Loose Dentures

They used to fit fine. So why are they loose now?

Over time, the compression of your dentures causes wear on the bone and gum underneath. The bone supporting your mouth wasn’t designed to withstand that kind of compression. It therefore just kind of melts away, little by little, until it doesn’t support your denture like it used to–and it results in loose dentures. In other words, they just don’t fit any more.

It’s a common problem for long-time denture wearers—at least those with full dentures.

Will it hurt anything for them to be loose for a while?

In a word—yes. You should, by all means, see your dentist as soon as you’re aware of looseness.

If you continue to wear those loose dentures, it could cause irritation to your gums and mouth and could lead to infection. And if you still continue to wear them, your mouth could actually change shape and that would affect your ability to eat the food you need.

So take it seriously, and go to your dentist — as soon as possible.

One option:

Your dentist may recommend a reline (refit) of your dentures. This can be done periodically, if necessary. The frequency of relining will depend on your individual rate of bone loss. Everybody’s different.

There are two ways to reline existing dentures.

  • The dentist will add a layer of material under the denture in your mouth while you are in the dentist’s chair. He/she will impress material under the denture with a moldable material. That will harden and fill the void caused by the shrinking of oral tissues. This is a temporary fix.
  • A more permanent fix involves adding material to the mouth as above, but the denture then goes to a laboratory where they replace the temporary material with something better—a more permanent plastic. This method will be much longer lasting, but you WILL have to do without your dentures for a couple of days.

Are new dentures needed?

That depends. It depends on the condition of your current dentures AND how much change has occurred in the supporting gum and bone.

You could face loose dentures again after getting new ones.

Implants

For this reason, dental implants are the best solution. They can stabilize the bone to prevent further loss of volume. And they actually stop the process of resorption and the melting away of bone.

You only get enough teeth implanted to support your dentures. It can sometimes only be two implants, or maybe mini-implants. And because you don’t have every tooth implanted, the cost isn’t as bad as you think.

If your dentures are extremely loose, this is the only real solution.

Implants will help you with a long-term resolution of your denture problems.

Ask you dentist about implants, and how you can work out a financial plan, if necessary.

Speech Problems With Your Dentures

(And What You Can Do about it)

There are two types of dentures. One type is a denture used along with what natural teeth you have left. Usually, it’s in the form of a bridge, crown or partial. This type of denture seldom causes speech problems.

Then there’s the second type—full dentures. This is when ALL the natural teeth are gone, usually because of trauma, or poor hygiene leading to decay. And these full dentures may cause speech problems—at least temporarily.

Why is it different?

Normally, some sounds we make involve the front teeth in contact with the tongue. Having new dentures means your teeth could be in a different position, as well as shape. And the difference doesn’t have to be great—just a tiny difference will affect your speech. The tongue can’t make the correct contact it used to, so often a lisp or slight “whistle” may be evident.

It will take some time for your tongue to learn the new position and shape of your dentures. And the older you are, the longer it will take. Actually, rarely, the denture wearer my never adapt because of too great a change.

And some people have little or no problem at all.

Another difference involves too much saliva being produced in the mouth. With full dentures, there is “something” in your mouth that your brain thinks is food. And that means saliva. This too is temporary, but bothersome nonetheless.

Practice, practice, practice

It’s a little like being back in piano lessons. No practice, no improvement. You must give your mouth a chance to adjust to this new appliance.

Try practicing in front of a mirror; with all the words you’ve noticed a problem with. Give yourself speeches or talk to yourself—anything to practice forming words with your new “mouth”. You could even try singing.

Dentures can allow some people an improvement in their speech—pronouncing words as they did before they lost their natural teeth. It just takes practice, and plenty of it.

What are the French up to?

Taking a new approach, scientists in Grenoble, France, as reported in New Science, fitted dentures with sensors to reveal the tongue’s movements during speech.

The purpose was to find a way to minimize the problem with dentures and braces on speech.

It seems it’s not easy to get a true sense of how much pressure is exerted on the teeth, by the tongue when making certain sounds, such as a “T”.

By hiding their sensors in the dentures, the French hoped it wouldn’t affect the usual workings of the tongue.

The sensor’s information was transmitted to a computer by a wire that ran along the inside of the cheek—with the persons sounds recorded by microphone.

Time will tell if this research pans out.

In the meantime, practice, practice, practice. It almost always improves.

Crowns and Bridges vs Dentures

Which is best?

You have some missing teeth. Or maybe you need to have your teeth pulled. What to do? There are so many choices—and prices!

How exactly are they different?

A crown is a “cap” or “top” fitted over a prepared natural tooth. A bridge is a false tooth or two or more false teeth, suspended between, and attached to, crowns on either side of a section of one or more missing teeth.

A Denture is typically false teeth made, based on your mouth impression. The four types of dentures include:

1.  Complete—all the teeth are replaced, as well as the connecting tissue.

2.  Partials—one or more false teeth clasped to surrounding teeth.

3.  Immediate—dentures which are placed right after the natural teeth are extracted.

4.  Conventional—dentures placed after teeth have been extracted and the gums have completely healed.

The main difference is that crowns and bridges are “fixed”. In other words, no removal for cleaning and treated like your natural teeth. And dentures are typically removed at night or for cleaning.

But there’s now another choice—IMPLANTS.

Implants consist of titanium plugs inserted into the jawbone. These plugs can anchor dentures and your bridge can be attached directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.

What to choose? Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of these choices.

With traditional full dentures there is a problem with the underlying tissue and bone diminishing—because there’s no tooth roots to hold it. Then the dentures become loose, and have to be relined or refit, periodically. Also, the overall shape of your jaw will change. And there are also the speech problems that can arise, and problems watching what you eat to avoid breakage, or food underneath the denture, irritating your mouth tissue.

Immediate vs. conventional is something to discuss with your dental professional. Everyone is different.

One advantage with removable dentures can be the cost.

Implants can make your dentures more permanent, and negate all the above disadvantages.

The disadvantage with implants could be cost, depending on the extent of your dental work.

As far as partial dentures, these have an advantage over full dentures. However, some do have to be removed for night and cleaning. A bridge or fixed partial denture would be easier to deal with, if that would work for you. You have natural teeth supporting the jawbone and underlying tissue, or you can have implants that accomplish the same thing.

Implants are the newest weapon in the arsenal of ways to protect your jaws and oral tissues—not to mention ease and comfort.

What you have to do is talk to your dental professional about all these choices. There is a lot more information you could have access to. He/she will explain all the advantages and disadvantages in relation to your unique circumstances. If you opt for a more expensive choice, most dental professionals can arrange a payment plan to fit your needs.

What is an Overdenture?

If you have loose or painful teeth, as may be the case with advanced periodontal disease, it may be too late to save them. In this case, one option is to remove some of them and replace them with an overdenture. In this way, infection can be avoided and your mouth will be much healthier.

What exactly is it?

It looks like a regular denture. But there’s a big difference. With regular dentures, all the teeth are extracted, or have been lost. And that means there’s nothing to prevent the bone in your jaw from receding.  With an overdenture, some of the natural teeth, or parts of them, are retained. And that means, with the roots in place, bone loss doesn’t happen. And that gives you a much more stable denture.

How is it done?

With some remaining teeth, the part that extends above the gum line is removed. Then root canals are performed—just in case of infection. Oftentimes a small metal cap is placed over each one, for more protection.

Then impressions are taken in your mouth, and the denture is made according to those impressions. Of course, you have say in the color and shape of your new teeth.

This procedure is also possible using dental implants.

The overdenture is attached by special dental attachments in the roots or implants.

One type is a bar joint overdenture.  The dentist screws the denture into implants and surgically inserts it into the bone, where the denture is then anchored. And these bar joints actually support the dentures better than just implants. But you still need implants to support the bars. Bars on the upper jaw arch need more implants than the lower jaw—because there’s less bone density in the upper jaw arch. When this is done, it’s great, because you can chew food normally—just about any kind of food, just as if you had your natural teeth.

Another type, usually used if an oral disease has caused your tooth loss, is telescopic overdenture. With this procedure, inner and outer metal crowns are placed over the remaining teeth. In this case, the dentures are natural looking and you can take them out. One thing, though, is that each tooth that gets a crown requires a root canal.

Benefits of overdentures:

1. The prevention of bone loss. The implant overdenture actually strengthens the bone structure. And this is a BIG benefit; because bone loss can actually change the way your face is shaped.

2. A much easier time talking and eating.

3. Align the jaws accurately and restore 90 percent of chewing power.

4. Better oral hygiene.

5. Decreased risk of gum disease.

Overdentures can be the answer to your tooth loss problem. So be sure to ask about it when you talk to your dentist.

How Often Should Dentures Be Replaced?

And how should they be replaced?

Dentures will eventually need replacing. As far as the life of the dentures, you can count on anywhere from four to twenty-five years. The American Dental Association explains that it all depends on a variety of things.

There’s normal wear and tear on the denture itself. But more likely, it will be a mouth problem. The denture can irritate the gums and mouth tissues—especially if it becomes loose and moves around. Gum tissue will diminish, not having real teeth to hold it. And this makes the denture loose. Also, the jawbone will recede, again, because there are no tooth roots to hold it.

And there’s no better way to erode your comfort and confidence than by having your dentures slip around, or fall out. That is a CLEAR sign you need new dentures.

You can reline the dentures only so many times. Then something needs to be done with the denture itself.

New Dentures

One option is to have a new set of dentures made to fit your mouth the way it is now. The only problem with this is the new dentures will eventually need to be replaced again. But you do have this option if it suits you.

Implants

There are different types of implant options available. But what actually IS an implant? It mimics a real tooth. There is a titanium screw that is inserted into the jawbone. This stabilizes the bone, and prevents deterioration. And beyond that, there are the options:

  • Full mouth implants. This involves an implant for each tooth that’s missing—then fusing the final teeth together. This is the best option since it is like your own teeth, almost. You will be able to chew normally, and never worry about slippage again.  And there’s the added bonus of maintaining the bones in your facial structure and not having your facial profile change much. This is also the most expensive option.
  • All-on-4. This too is a good option, and not as pricey. With this procedure, four implants are placed around the jaw. Then a bridge is made to go across the gap. This only works if the bone is solid and chewing force is low. Like if you were wearing a denture on the other jaw.
  • Mini Implants. This procedure consists of a miniature titanium implant, to act as the root of the tooth, with a tiny O-ring attached to the top. And that is attached into the base of your denture. That stabilizes the denture, to avoid slippage and falling out. The denture can’t fall out, but you CAN take it out when you want to. And you can chew food you love all you want. No problem.

The titanium in the implants adheres well to the bone. And as long as the bone can handle having an implant, it can handle the force from chewing.

With implants, it will feel like your real teeth.

Benefits Of Dentures

Dentures, which are also known as false teeth, are devices designed to take the place of missing teeth and are supported by the hard and soft palate (tissues of the oral cavity).

Measurements are taken and then designed by a prosthodontist (cosmetic and reconstruction dental specialist) with the assistance of a dental laboratory. The dentures may be removable partial type or a complete denture. We have come a long way since dentures were originally designed.  With newer techniques and materials, it is often difficult to detect a well-fitting denture appliance.

While many people might  prefer a bridge or dental implant, there may be reasons why the individual is not a candidate, making dentures a reasonable alternative to restore several important functions.

There are four main benefits that dentures provide:

1.  Mastication:

By replacing areas that are missing teeth, the individual has an improved ability to chew with a better occlusion (bite) without having to rely on “gumming” it.  Diet need no longer be restricted to purees and soft foods.

2.  Speech:

Individuals are enabled to enunciate their words better when missing teeth are replaced with dentures, especially the upper ones.  Pronunciation of sibilant or strident words is made easier.  Examples of these words are consonants beginning with s, sh, ch, and J.  By having the replaced teeth, one may direct an air stream with the tongue toward the teeth edge which are held close together. It also helps with pronunciation of the fricative consonant (f) by placing the lower lip against the upper teeth while air is forced through the narrow channel.

3.  Self esteem:

Individuals have a higher sense of self-esteem and confidence with decreased embarrassment at having missing teeth or gaps in their smile

4.  Appearance:

By wearing a properly fit denture, the “granny” look is eliminated.  This is the collapsed appearance of the cheeks and wrinkles around the lips that occur when teeth are missing since the presence of teeth supply the support for a natural facial appearance.

Making sure that the appliance has support, stability and retention makes these benefits possible. These terms describe the inhibition of denture movement in the mouth.

Stability

This is the inhibition of the denture from shifting horizontally or side to side. The more the denture base remains in contact with the ridge where the missing teeth were originally, the more stable the plate will be.

Retention

This is the inhibition of the denture from shifting vertically which is a reflection of how well the seal is functioning.

A well-fitting denture makes all the difference between a comfortable, confident life and one of discomfort and sacrifice.  Fortunately with the availability of reconstruction dentists, we don’t have to suffer with that choice.

How To Clean Your Dentures

You have spent the time and energy being fit and acquiring dentures.  They now afford you the luxury of looking well, healthy and able to chew as well as speak in a better fashion.  Now it’s time to make sure that you properly care for these dentures to get the maximum benefit and lifetime durability out of them.

Here are your 3 helpful guidelines to maintaining your dentures:

1.  Meticulously clean your dentures

Mild dishwashing liquid or hand soap may be used as denture cleaning agents.  Many toothpastes or household cleansers are too abrasive and should be avoided. Be careful to avoid bleach since this will leach out the pink color part of the denture.

Ultrasonic cleaners are also effective means by which to clean dentures.  These are immersed into tubs and sound waves create waves that displace the deposits adherent to the appliance.  Brushing needs to be done as well.

2.  Keep dentures moist

Dentures lose their contour when they dry out.  When not being used, the removable appliance should be kept in water or a soaking cleanser solution. If there are metal attachments, take care to avoid soaking solutions as they can cause the attachments to tarnish.  Also, make sure that the water is not hot when soaking the dentures as this can make the dentures warp.

3.  Brush and rinse

Just as you would brush real teeth on a regular basis, so too must dentures be brushed daily to remove plaque and food particles which also prevents halitosis or bad breath.  Stains or discoloration can be prevented by brushing away the particulate matter or food pigments that have become adherent to the surface. There are toothbrushes specifically designed for dentures which have soft bristles.  Gently brush the denture on all the surfaces, taking care not to damage any attachments.  Steer clear of hard bristles on toothbrushes as it can erode or damage the dentures over time.  Rinse the dentures after eating each time.

While caring for your dentures, hold them over a surface that would be protective if they slip out of your hands like a sink of water or a padded towel.

Brushing and cleaning your dentures is not all to your proper oral hygiene.  You still need to brush your tongue, gums and palate (roof of your mouth) with a soft-bristled brush each morning prior to denture insertion.  This not only gets rid of any plaque accumulation, it also stimulates the oral circulation. Plaque accumulation under denture attachments can promote dental decay so be consistent with this.  Massage the gums in addition to cleaning them which also stimulates the circulation.

Eating a balanced meal containing the daily requirements will ensure a healthy mouth so that you will be able to enjoy those properly cared for dentures.

History of Dentures

We often think of dentures or false teeth, as an innovation introduced into our society in the 1800s to replace teeth lost from poor nutrition, lack of vitamins or poor health.  If you thought that, you’d be way off!

Ceremonial dentures were worn over teeth to change the individual’s appearance in much the same way as an actor has props, as long as 4,500 years ago!

Etruscans from northern Italy constructed dentures from human bone scavenged from battlefields or animal teeth around 700BC!  This type of denture was not uncommon until the 1800s. At this time the dentures were cosmetic but not functional.  Generally they were removed before eating because they were not secure enough to chew with.

However, functional wooden dentures, made from the evergreen shrub Buxus microphylia, were found to be made in Japan as early as 1538. The shape of these mimic the ones still used today, covering each type of tooth loss and kept in place by suction.

As time passed, it is the goldsmiths or barber-surgeons that labeled themselves “operators for the Teeth”.  The first one came from London, named Peter de la Rouche.

Alexis Duchateau made the first porcelain dentures around 1770 although it was his former assistant, Nicholas Dubois De Chemnant who applied for and received the British patent in 1791.  Here, the dentures also sported springs for fastening the dentures into place.  At that time, Wedgwood had been successfully using hard paste for porcelain to mimic the whiteness in tea ware, which Nicholas Dubois incorporated into his denture design, making them appear more like natural teeth.

A goldsmith named Claudius Ash began making high-quality porcelain dentures mounted on gold plates in London in 1820. This transitioned into vulcanite in the 1850s on hardened rubber where porcelain teeth were set.

By the 20th century, acrylic resin and other plastics replaced these materials.

We certainly have come a long way.  Modern dentures are often made (usually in dental laboratories) with a mixture of different types of acrylic that reflect the true color of the gums as well as the natural color and appearance of teeth. The versatile acrylic teeth are accessible in hundreds of shapes and colors.

The procedure making the denture starts with an impression that is made of the upper and lower jaw which assists in making sure that the dentures have the most accurate customized fit.

You can rely on the skill of all those innovators who have come and gone.  Now no one knows you’re wearing the denture other than you and your dentist. You can rest easy.