Contemplating whether or not you need dentures can be a long and exhausting process. Most likely, you will have some questions along the way. So, if you are new to dentures, here is what you need to know:
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Dentures should be considered for two main reasons: multiple dental cavities or gingivitis.
A dental cavity is a hole that forms in your tooth. It is caused due to acids formed from bacteria. With dental cavities, tooth decay is inevitable. This is why it is important that the teeth are removed before they have a chance to cause complications.
Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease (periodontal disease). It surfaces when plaque – a sticky layer of bacteria that develops on the teeth – accumulates and triggers inflammation of the gums. With this disease, the teeth may eventually suffer.
Seeing as how getting dentures varies according to the current health status of your teeth, it is best to consult with your dentist or a prosthodontist about your specific situation. For instance, two types of dentures are available: full dentures and partial dentures.
- Full dentures: Full dentures, also known as complete dentures, are used when all of your natural teeth are missing. They can be properly adjusted to fit your gums on the top and bottom, and they are held in position with the help of an oral adhesive. They are also easily removable.
- Partial dentures: Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, but they are weak and cannot support structures such as dental bridges. They can be properly adjusted to fit your gum line, and they can be removed for cleaning or before going to bed.
No matter what type of dentures you may need, they will be tailored to fit your mouth and to match the colour of your existing teeth. Furthermore, the latest dentures are generally made out of a hard resin and they must be replaced every five years or so.
Tip: As you age, your mouth naturally changes, thereby causing your dentures to loosen. For this reason, you should see your dentist at least once a year for a check-up.
Looking after your new dentures
Getting and caring for dentures is specific to each individual patient. However, ALL dentures need to be cleaned on a daily basis. Even though they are made from artificial teeth, they are not immune to the build-up of plaque, tartar, and bacteria. As a result, this can cause harm to your existing teeth and gums.
In order to properly clean your dentures, start by taking them out of your mouth and running them through clean water to remove any food residue. From there, brush the dentures gently with a denture brush or very soft toothbrush using a dissolvable denture cleaner or a mild soap. It is not recommended to use regular toothpaste or any other types of cleaners as they are all too rough on the sensitive denture materials.
After every meal, make sure to rinse your dentures. With partial dentures, remove and clean them before you clean your natural teeth. Additionally, before going to bed, place your dentures in a warm, denture-soaking solution to avoid cracking or misshaping.
Tip: To learn more about looking after your new dentures, contact your local dental technician.
Adjusting to your new dentures
When you first get dentures, start with softer foods that are gentle on your gums and work your way up to harder foods. During the first weeks, while your mouth is adjusting to the dentures, you are likely to experience increased salivation and sore spots. This is perfectly normal and rinsing your mouth with warm salt water may help.
During week 3 and 4, you are learning to speak and eat all over again. Techniques like singing and exercising your cheeks can give you more control over your speech, eating habits, and facial features. However, if you continue to experience persistent discomfort such as cheek pain, this may be an indication of ill-fitting dentures.
Regardless of whether you are wearing full or partial dentures, it may take you some time to get used to them. Therefore, during the first few months, talk to your dentist or prosthodontist about taking any medication as prescribed and testing out an adhesive to help reduce your level of discomfort.
Even though you have new teeth, it is just as important (if not more so) to follow through with your regular dental check-ups and to take care of your oral hygiene at home.
Dentures may feel like a burden at first, but after a while, you should be able to live life confidently with them. After all, they are meant to help you feel better about yourself by giving you a strong and beautiful alternative.
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