What is a denture?

A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues, usually made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position.

Who needs a denture?

Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. They improve chewing ability and speech and provide support for facial muscles. They will also greatly enhance your facial appearance and smile.

What happens when you get a denture?

We can make a full conventional denture when all teeth are missing or once all extraction sites have healed. The denture process usually takes about one month and five appointments to complete. After the initial diagnosis, an impression and a wax bite will determine vertical dimensions and proper jaw position. Then a temporary “try-in” or immediate denture helps assure an appropriate color, shape, and fit. Lastly, your final denture is placed, following any minor adjustments.

New denture wearers need time to adjust to their new “teeth” because even the best-fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. While most patients can begin to speak normally within a few hours, many patients report discomfort with eating for several days to a few weeks.

To get accustomed to chewing with a new denture, start with soft, easy-to-chew foods. Also, new denture wearers often notice a slight change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow, or minor speech difficulty.

How do you care for dentures?

A denture is fragile, so it is essential to handle it with care. Remove and brush the denture daily, preferably with a brush designed specifically for cleaning dentures, using either a denture cleanser or toothpaste. Never use harsh, abrasive cleaners, including abrasives toothpaste, because they may scratch the surface of the denture. Don’t sterilize your denture with boiling water because it will cause it to become warped.

When not in use, soak it in a cleanser solution or water. Get in the habit of keeping the denture in the same safe and handy place to reduce the likelihood of misplacement.

Should I wear my dentures at night?

You may be advised to wear your denture almost constantly during the first two weeks (even while you sleep). However, under normal circumstances, it’s best to remove it at night.

Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours during either the day or night allows the gum tissue to rest and experience stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. Doing this promotes better long-term health of the gums.

Continue seeing your dentist regularly

It is important to continue having regular dental checkups so that we can examine oral tissues for signs of disease or cancer. As you age, your mouth will continue to change as the bone under your denture shrinks or recedes. It may be necessary to adjust your denture to maintain a proper fit over time, or possibly remake it entirely. Never attempt to modify a denture yourself and do not use denture adhesives for a prolonged period because it can contribute to bone loss. When in doubt, consult your dentist.