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Considering Dentures?

Posted Jul 01 2009 6:39pm

In this article we will give you a basic overview of the pros and cons of dentures, to help you make an informed decision. In future articles, we will go into each area with much more detail.

Pros and Cons of a Dentures

Advantages:

  • Dentures will unquestionably provide you with a great smile and a very natural appearance. They are made of durable materials and will last very long when correctly taken care of. Normally dentures last from five to ten years. They can also correct numerous problems, from speech to chewing, for many patients.
  • Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health.
  • Dentures help keep facial muscles from sagging, which can make a person look older.
  • You’ll be able to eat and speak - things that people often take for granted until their natural teeth are lost. If you have had trouble with your natural teeth for a number of years, you might not have been able to eat the foods you wanted or speak comfortably for quite a while. You will be able to smile again. Some denture wearers have said that simply being able to smile again really changed their entire outlook on life.

Disadvantages:

  • There is no question that dentures will take some getting accustomed to. There is regular maintenance required, and initial speech issues to overcome, although these should be temporary, lasting only a couple of days. Mouth tenderness or abrasions may occur, but are usually caused by poor dental hygiene, and not removing your dentures when needed.
  • It is normal for your mouth to change over the life of your dentures, so even though they last long, they still may need to be replaced to achieve a better fit before they are actually worn out. With age, the gum ridges in our mouths can shrink, causing dentures to become loose. Bone can also shrink, causing jaws not to line up properly. Loose dentures can cause sore spots in your mouth as well as stomach problems from not being able to chew food properly. A loose denture could also cause changes in your facial features.
  • With a denture a person typically chews at only 15-25% efficiency compared to a person chewing with their natural teeth. In the case of a full upper denture, the upper palate is covered which may change or reduce the taste of foods you are eating.

Who may be a Candidate for Dentures?

If you have lost, or are in the process of losing all of your teeth, a complete denture is something to discuss with your cosmetic dentist. If some of your teeth remain and are healthy, a partial denture may be your way to a good, healthy smile.

This process should be thoroughly discussed with your dentist as there are numerous personal and medical factors to consider. You may instead be a candidate for dental bridges or dental implants as possible procedures.

An Overview of Dentures

If teeth are lost or must be extracted, dentures provide an easily removable replacement that can be fashioned to look very much like natural teeth. Dental implants are the fixed alternative to full dentures. New advancements in dentistry have led dentures to become more comfortable and better fitted to your gums. Your dental specialist will carefully position the denture, and construct it so that it fits properly on your gum and against your other teeth when you bite down. “Neuromuscularly” fitted dentures provide the most comfort.

Dentures are detachable replacements for missing teeth, that are usually made out of an acrylic resin which may at times incorporate porcelain or metal for supplementary structural support. There are two main types of dentures, complete and partial. Both complete dentures and partial dentures are finely crafted and custom-fitted to the individual patient. If you correctly take care of your dentures they will appear natural and provide you with a perfect smile and a great bite. Additionally, dentures will help to strengthen the muscles controlling your expressions that require the support of your teeth, ridding you of pronunciation problems caused by missing teeth and aid with chewing.

How are Dentures Accomplished?

It is fairly common to require some teeth to be extracted, and surgery in some cases is necessary to improve the bony ridges that will stabilize your dentures.

The procedure begins with a wax bite impression of your mouth that will give your dentist exacting measurements. A try-on appointment will fine tune the color, shape, and custom-fit of your dentures. After your final dentures are fabricated, they will be placed and you will be instructed on their required care.

Types of Dentures:

  1. Complete Dentures These replace all of your teeth, both upper or lower. Their comfort depends on muscle tone, bone stretgh, tongue, and amount of saliva present. Patients begin wearing their conventional dentures after the gums have healed from the teeth that were pulled.
  2. Immediate Dentures Immediate dentures are placed all at once, right after your natural teeth are pulled, and may require additional adjustments after the healing process. It can take months for your bone and tissue to stabilize after tooth extractions.
  3. Upper Dentures Upper dentures tend to be a bit easier to adjust to. These are made of the same materials as a set of complete dentures, but are designed to provide you with upper teeth only.
  4. Over Dentures Over dentures are a type of conventional denture comparable to complete dentures. The difference is that not all teeth are extracted and they use one or more of your natural teeth for their support. This type provides greater stabilization during chewing. Over dentures cost more and usually require more preparation dental appointments until the procedure is fully complete.
  5. Partial Dentures Partial dentures are designed to correct the gaps in your smile when only some of your teeth are missing. Metal attachments fasten the dentures to your natural teeth. Partial dentures maintain tooth alignment by preventing your remaining teeth from shifting. Partial dentures can also help prevent your loss of further teeth due to decay or gum disease.

How Much do Dentures Cost?

Costs will vary depending on where you live and your specific needs. These are procedures for which you should definitely research your dental insurance coverage. Much of the cost is often covered, and you may be able to work out a payment plan with your dental office for your co-payments.

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