If you have lost some or all of your teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, dentures (false teeth) can replace your missing teeth and give you your smile back. Replacing missing teeth with dentures will benefit both your appearance and your health. Without support from the denture, facial muscles sag and make a person look older. With dentures, wearers can enjoy food again and can speak much more clearly, two things often taken for granted until natural teeth are lost.
Advances in cosmetic dentistry have made many improvements in dentures. Dentures are now more natural-looking and much more comfortable than they used to be.
Dentures can be complete or partial; complete dentures cover your entire upper and lower jaw and partials replace one or a few teeth.
There are various types of complete dentures. A conventional full denture is made and placed in the patient’s mouth after all the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed; this process may take several months. An immediate complete denture is put in the mouth as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. Your dentist will take measurements and make models of your jaws during the preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the patient does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.
With full dentures, as with your natural teeth, you must practice excellent oral hygiene. Brushing your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled toothbrush before you insert your dentures is necessary.
If you are missing only a few teeth scattered over either arch (upper or lower teeth) or if you have a minimum of two teeth on both sides of the arch, then you can replace the missing teeth with a removable partial denture (RPD). Partial dentures are affectionately called “flippers” in the world of cosmetic dentistry.
A partial denture is a removable dental appliance that replaces multiple missing teeth. A partial can be attached to the teeth with clasps or it can be attached with crowns and hidden clasps. Both types have a metal framework and plastic teeth and gum areas.
Dentures substantially accelerate the aging of the face because the distance between your nose and your chin begins to decrease as natural teeth are extracted. The bone that formerly held your top natural teeth begins to retreat up toward your nose, and the bone that held your lower teeth goes down, allowing both the top and bottom false teeth to follow in the same directions.
Dentures do not last forever, and patients must return every two years for what is called a “reline.” The longer you wear dentures, the more your gums change underneath the denture and the looser the dentures become. In order to restore the denture and to prevent flabby gum tissue under it, you should have the denture professionally relined every two years. Dentures typically need to be replaced every five to seven years.