Dentures are a solution of last resort. Many people assume that they will require dentures as they age, but losing teeth is not a normal part of the aging process. If you care for your teeth well and guard against periodontal (gum) disease, you should be able to keep your teeth for a lifetime.
Saving even a few natural teeth is better than losing them all. Natural teeth or even portions of natural teeth (roots) can help you retain bone in your jaw and can act as stable supports for bridges, overdentures or removable partial dentures. Your dentist will try to save as many as possible of your natural teeth. If that’s not possible, you may have to consider a complete denture or an implant-supported denture.
The good news is that dentures aren’t what they used to be. With newer materials and improved technology, dentists can fashion dentures that fit comfortably, appear natural and help you stay healthier. Denture problems, such as clicking, slipping, gum irritation, staining and odor are signs your dentures aren’t fitting properly and may need to be adjusted, relined or remade.
Although dentures may look like your natural teeth, they cannot work like them. Like artificial limbs, dentures cannot truly replace their natural counterparts. You will have to learn how to use your dentures, which can take several months. Simple actions like speaking and eating may feel different, and you may have to learn to make adjustments.
Types Of Dentures: Complete Or Partial
Complete dentures cover your entire jaw, either upper or lower. Some people refer to them as ” plates” . Complete dentures rest directly on the gum that covers the bone. However, a type of full denture, called an overdenture, fits over a few remaining teeth that have been shaped by your dentist.
Maintaining a few natural teeth and replacing the missing teeth with an overdenture has several advantages:
- Your natural teeth help preserve bone.
- Your remaining natural teeth bear some of the chewing pressure, which reduces pressure on other areas of the jaw.
- Your remaining teeth improve the stability of the denture and make it less likely to shift in your mouth.
- Your sense of where your jaw is in space and the pressure you are placing on the denture is better than the sense you have after losing all of your teeth. Keeping some teeth can help you psychologically accept your denture.
An overdenture usually is used in the lower jaw where a few teeth can be maintained, and is an option for almost anyone. However, the teeth that will be preserved must meet certain standards of health. Canines and premolars are the most common teeth selected because of their root length and position in the jaw.
The teeth will have to be shaped to fit the denture. Since the shaping may expose the tooth’s living pulp, the teeth usually need root-canal treatment, which removes the pulp and replaces it with filling material. The teeth are covered with thin metal castings called copings, which fit into openings in the denture. Attachments also can be put on the copings so the denture is better retained in the mouth.
Overdentures also can fit over implants instead of natural teeth. In fact, implants originally were developed to give people ” artificial roots” on which to place bridges or dentures in the lower jaw. The denture can fit directly onto the implants, or a metal bar can link implants together, providing support for the denture.
Removable partial dentures are composed of a metal framework with plastic teeth and gum areas. The framework includes metal clasps or other attachments, which hold the denture in place. However, partial dentures are removed easily for cleaning. Fixed partial dentures, which most people call bridges, are cemented in place and better simulate natural teeth. Bridges are more expensive than removable partial dentures, however, and require healthy adjacent teeth to support them Two types of attachments are used in partial dentures — metal clasps and precision attachments. Metal clasps are C-shaped parts of the denture framework that fit around neighboring natural teeth. These teeth may require shaping to help hold the clasps and keep the denture securely in place.
A precision attachment involves creating a receptacle within a remaining tooth. The receptacle usually is covered with a crown, and an extending part on the denture fits into the receptacle. Precision attachments have advantages. The denture is attached within the crowns of remaining teeth, so there are no visible clasps and the forces of chewing are better distributed along the teeth. However, precision attachments are more expensive than metal clasps, so most partial dentures still use clasps for retention.
Special Types Of Partial Dentures
Nesbit Denture — A Nesbit denture can replace one or more lost back teeth. Metal clasps fit around the teeth on either side of the space. However, because a Nesbit denture is not also supported by teeth on the other side of the mouth, it can place extreme pressure on the clasped teeth. Also, there is a danger of dislodging or swallowing a Nesbit denture in an accident. You should consider a bilateral partial denture, which is supported by teeth on both sides of the mouth, even if the missing teeth are on one side of the jaw.
Flipper Denture — A flipper denture replaces one or more front teeth temporarily until another form of treatment (bridge, implants) can be made or decided upon. Such a denture can be placed immediately or soon after a tooth is extracted, but it is not meant to be a permanent solution.
Getting Your Dentures: Conventional Or Immediate
Complete dentures are classified in two ways. They are either conventional or immediate.
Conventional dentures are made and inserted after your teeth have been taken out and the gums have healed. If you are having teeth removed and getting a conventional denture, you will be without teeth while your denture is being made.
A conventional denture takes about six appointments over one to two months. The process starts with an appointment with your dentist for an exam and a discussion of what will work best for you. In subsequent visits, your dentist will take impressions of your mouth and establish the bite (the way your teeth come together). You and your dentist will select the teeth for your denture. The size, shape and color of the teeth will depend on many factors, including reference points in your mouth, your skin tone and the shape of your skull, photographs, etc.
At a very important appointment, the teeth are held in the base with wax while you have a trial fitting. You can see how the denture looks and feels in your mouth, and your dentist can make sure it fits and functions correctly and harmonizes with the rest of your face. This is your denture preview, or ” try-in.” If this goes well, you will receive the completed denture at the next visit, along with instructions from your dentist on eating, speaking, denture care and oral hygiene. Finally, you will need to see your dentist for a series of follow-up visits over the next few weeks and months to check the fit and comfort of your denture.
Immediate dentures are made while you still have teeth. An impression is made before your teeth are removed, and the denture is created and inserted immediately after the extraction. If your remaining teeth are so loose they would not be able to withstand the impression process, you cannot receive an immediate denture. Generally, immediate dentures are used for aesthetic reasons in people who need to have their upper-front teeth removed.
The advantage to an immediate denture is that you are not left without teeth. However, you will not have a chance to see and test the denture before it is inserted. Also, your bones and gums will shrink after your teeth are removed, and your denture may need to be refitted (relined) after several months. You may even need an entirely new denture.
You will receive your immediate denture at the same appointment your teeth are removed. Having the denture in your mouth helps control some of the post-operative swelling. Your dentist will tell you not to remove the denture for one or two days and nights, except to rinse it. Two days after receiving your denture, you’ll visit the dentist for an exam to make sure it is fitting properly and the bite is correct. After this visit you can remove the denture at night and treat it like a conventional denture.
Searching the internet for “denture dentist in my area” may give you limited choices of dentists who handle denture treatments, considering that not a lot of general dentists have neither the experience nor the interest in denture treatments and fabrications. Dr Antonious’ experience in removable complete dentures and partial dentures is considered to be among the best in the local area. Dr. Antonious has years of dental experience, enabling him to provide the best local treatments that are tailored to your denture needs in an affordable and convenient way. Denture patients in particular are impressed with cosmetic dentures offered at Sunnyvale Dental Care. Some of them suffered for years with ill-fitting and ugly dentures and did not know that artificial teeth can look and function well. These patients show their appreciation through reviews on YouTube, Yelp, Facebook and Google.
Sunnyvale Dental Care is located in about the middle of the city of Sunnyvale, easily reachable by car and public transportation like bus and Caltrain from all Sunnyvale zip codes which are 94085, 94086, 94087, 94088 and 94089. Convenient location comes handy when your treatment requires multiple appointments, which is the case in dentures and partial dentures fabrication and repairs.
Looking for information on your PPO coverage? The easiest way to know more about your insurance is to call Sunnyvale Dental Care and ask all the questions you might have about copayments, deductibles, annual maximums, coverage restrictions, and limitations. At this time, Sunnyvale Dental Care and Dr. Antonious is participating with the following insurance companies preferred provider programs: United HealthCare, Ameritas, Maverest, Anthem BlueCross, Cigna, DenteMax, Geha Connection, Guardian, HealthNet, Humana, MetLife, Principal, Dentegra, First Dental Health, Avesis, Dental Benefit Providers, Aetna, and Assurant. Dr. Antonious is a premier provider with Delta Dental.
What’s the difference between conventional dentures and immediate dentures?
Complete dentures are called “conventional” or “immediate” according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth. Conventional dentures are made and inserted after the remaining teeth are removed and the tissues have healed. Healing may take several months.
Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, Sunnyvale dentist Dr. Antonious takes measurements and makes the models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit.
An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly.
What is an overdenture?
An overdenture is one that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth that have been prepared by Sunnyvale dentist Dr. Antonious. The prepared teeth provide stability and support for the denture. Dr. Antonious can determine if an overdenture would be suitable for you.
What will dentures feel like?
New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place.
It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish.
One or more follow-up appointments with Sunnyvale Dental Care are generally needed after a denture is inserted. If any problem persists, particularly irritation or soreness be sure to contact your dentist.
Will dentures make me look different?
Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.
Will I be able to eat with my dentures?
Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from tipping. As you become accustomed to chewing, add other foods until you return to your normal diet.
Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.
Will dentures change how I speak?
Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures “click” while you’re talking, speak more slowly.
You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking problem persists, consult your dentist.
How long should I wear my dentures?
Sunnyvale Dental Care staff will provide instructions about how long dentures should be kept in place. During the first few days, you may be advised to wear them most of the time, including while you sleep. After the initial adjustment period, you may be instructed to remove the dentures before going to bed. This allows gum tissues to rest and promotes oral health. Generally, it is not desirable that the tissues be constantly covered by denture material.
Should I use a denture adhesive?
Dentures are made to fit precisely and usually do not require use of an adhesive for comfort. In an emergency, denture adhesives can be used to keep the dentures stable until you see the dentist, but prolonged use can mask infections and cause bone loss in the jaw. Likewise, a poorly-fitting denture, which causes constant irritation over a long period, may contribute to the development of sores. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, see us at Sunnyvale Dental Care immediately.
How do I take care of my dentures?
Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped even a few inches. Stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling dentures. When you are not wearing them, store your dentures away from children and pets.
Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps your mouth stay healthy. It’s best to use a brush designed for cleaning dentures. A toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes that can damage dentures.
Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid, which are both acceptable for cleaning dentures. Avoid using other powdered household cleansers, which may be too abrasive.
The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.
Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Your dentist can recommend the best method. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.
Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to care for dentures. However, using an ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
Can I make minor adjustments or repairs to my dentures?
You can seriously damage your dentures and harm your health by trying to adjust or repair your dentures. A denture that is not made to fit properly can cause irritation and sores.
See your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip, or if one of the teeth becomes loose. A dentist can often make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day. A person who lacks the proper training will not be able to reconstruct the denture. This can cause greater damage to the denture and may cause problems in your mouth. Glue sold over-the-counter often contains harmful chemicals and should not be used on dentures.
Will my dentures need to be replaced?
Over time, dentures will need to be relined, remade or rebased due to normal wear. To make a rebased denture, the dentist uses the existing denture teeth and makes a new denture base. Dentures may need to be replaced because a mouth naturally changes with age. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, causing jaws to align differently. Shrinking ridges can cause dentures to fit less securely. Loose dentures can cause health problems, including sores and infections. A loose denture also makes chewing more difficult and may change your facial features. It’s important to replace worn or poorly-fitting dentures before they cause problems.
Must I do anything special to care for my mouth?
Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning, brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put in your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
How often should I schedule dental appointments?
Your dentist will advise you about how often to visit. Regular dental check-ups are important. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs of oral diseases including cancer.
With regular professional care, a positive attitude and persistence, you can become one of the millions of people who wear their dentures with a smile.
What can I do to prevent bad breath?
- Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
- See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
- Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.
- Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
- Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.
In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.
New Dentures Post-Operative Instructions
Follow Up Assessments For All New Dentures
Sunnyvale Dental Care routinely schedules follow up appointment, within one week of any new dentures delivery. This allows Dr Antonious to discuss any concerns you may have regarding adapting to or wearing your new dentures. Where necessary any denture adjustments will be made at this appointment to ensure our patients are completely happy with their new dentures.
What to Expect When Getting New Dentures
New dentures might feel strange in the beginning, even if they have been made to closely resemble your own natural teeth or some previous dentures. You may feel that they are larger than expected and that you are producing excessive quantities of saliva, or that your speech is not clear. These sensations should lessen over a few days as your mouth gets used to the feel of the new teeth. You may also feel that it will be obvious to everyone you meet that you are wearing new dentures. Remember, most people that you meet throughout the day take you ‘on face value’, they are interested in you and not specifically your teeth. People who know you well may notice that you are looking different, but often they cannot tell what it is that has improved your appearance.
Adapting to New Partial Dentures
As partial dentures rest on natural teeth you may experience some tenderness as these teeth become accustomed to supporting a new prosthesis. Even healthy natural teeth have tendency to move slightly within there delicate ligaments, you may notice your partial denture is slightly tighter when placed in your mouth after periods of not wearing them, for example first thing in the morning. Any initial tenderness should settle within a few weeks if in doubt consult with your Dentist.
Adapting to New Dentures
None of us has a natural ability to wearing new dentures. There are some skills which have to be learned in order to be able to use them well. Mostly these skills are learned automatically but very occasionally it can be difficult for some people. While the muscles of the tongue, cheeks, and lips etc. are getting used to learning how to hold your dentures in place it can be helpful to use a denture fixative to help things. This is particularly the case with a complete lower denture which usually relies solely on muscular control to keep it in place.
Speaking With New Dentures
Some speech sounds, particularly ‘S’ and ‘Sh’ are affected by the shape that the tongue makes against the teeth and palate at the front of the mouth. If the position of the teeth has been altered slightly, or the palate is changed in shape it can take a little while for the tongue to learn how to make the right shape to make the sound come out absolutely correctly, try reading aloud to practice. Things will improve, but only if you give them the chance to – they will not improve if you keep going back to an old set of teeth.
Eating With New Dentures
With eating, it is not sensible to expect to be able to manage very hard chewy or sticky foods immediately with new dentures. You need to get used to the new feel, and how the teeth work for you. So choose relatively soft foods to start with and don’t try to eat too fast. Dentures or false teeth that incorporate lingualised occlusion techniques do provide improved chewing function, however you may need a little time to adapt to eating.
Cleaning New Dentures
It is important to clean your new dentures thoroughly and follow the aftercare denture instructions provided by Sunnyvale Dental Care.
Wearing New Dentures
It is advisable that you wear your new false teeth as much as possible initially. However it is advisable to remove your dentures, ideally at night, or if that is not possible for an hour or so during the day, to allow your mouth and gums adjust to wearing them.
Dentures Sore Spots
It is not uncommon to develop a few sore areas with new dentures. Your follow up evaluation for your new dentures will allow your dentist to carefully adjust the parts of your dentures that may be causing any problems. If the sore areas become too painful contact us and we will arrange an appointment.
Looking After Your Natural Teeth and Gums With New Partial Dentures
If you wear partial dentures it is vital that you look after your natural teeth and gums, by visiting your Dentist regularly. You should also adopt a regular oral hygiene maintenance program, and clean both your partial dentures and your natural teeth and gums.
Maintaining Your New Implant Retained Dentures
Your Dentist will advise you on the most appropriate cleaning routine for maintaining the health of you dental implants and implant supported dentures.
Dentures retained on dental implants require a high level of cleaning and maintenance to ensure that they can last you a long time.
New Dentures Storage and Handling
Storing your dentures correctly will help keep them in tip top condition. Care should be taken with your new dentures, although they are secure and strong inside your mouth they can be easily damaged when outside your mouth and not in use. When not being used your dentures should be stored in a secure container, preferably in clean water, dentures are designed to absorb and retain a small quantity of water. You should also remove your dentures occasionally during any given 24 hour period to give your tissues a chance to recover from the pressure caused by wearing them. Some people opt to wear their dentures at night and remove their dentures during quiet times in the day, the most appropriate time will be for you to decide. Do not attempt to adjust any metal components of your new dentures yourself, that may result in part of your denture fracturing.
Metal or chrome dentures should not be cleaned with hypochlorite solutions because these can tarnish and discolor the alloys used to manufacture them, again these dentures should be stored in a secure strong container when not in use. Dentures should be kept well away from extremes of hot and cold, as either can cause your dentures to warp and distort
Personalizing Your New Dentures
In some instances you may need to add your name to your dentures. We now offer this facility to our patients, denture identification can now also be used in hospitals and institutions to help health care professionals.
Learn more when you visit Sunnyvale Dental Care. Call Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Nasser Antonious at 408-720-0900 to schedule a consultation today!