If you have missing teeth one option to replace them is to have dentures installed. Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are molded to fit over your gum. They are made to match existing teeth and they can be full or partial – you can have dentures that replace a few missing teeth, or you can have them made to replace all the teeth. Dentures are very common in the elderly, but they are also a good option for younger people who have missing teeth and want to avoid losing more.
Traditionally dentures were made out of plastic or porcelain but advances in technology have allowed for dentures that are made out of a hard type of resin. Your dentist will take a mold of your mouth as well as the color of the existing teeth so that he can make you dentures that make your smile look natural. You should be careful with newer types of dentures because they can chip if they come in contact with a hard surface. Your dentures will need to be replaced every 5 years or so because the material wears down over time.
Benefits of dentures
These teeth replacement systems come with several benefits. The first is that they are able to restore your smile and thus your confidence – you will no longer have to worry about what others think about your missing teeth. Other benefits include:
• You are able to eat foods that you otherwise wouldn’t. This means that you can expand your diet and eat healthy. This is especially important for the elderly – limited food choices can negatively impact their diet.
• Missing teeth affect your speech – so long as you have them you will have a lisp. Dentures enable you to restore your speech back to normal and therefore give you more confidence. This can also help you qualify for jobs that you otherwise wouldn’t such as newscaster or receptionist.
• Many people do not know it but teeth help you maintain your facial structure – if you have gaps your cheeks will eventually sink and this will make you look old faster. Dentures will help keep you looking youthful for longer.
• If you have gaps in your teeth the ones next to them will start to collapse inwards and you may lose even more of them. Dentures help prevent that from happening.
• Dentures can be taken out for cleaning. Your dentist will give you a denture solution that you will use to soak your dentures every month. It is recommended that you clean dentures a couple of times a day.
Things you should know about dentures
You need to know how to clean your dentures properly for them to last. You should take them out and brush them gently with toothpaste that your dentist will provide you. After that you need to soak them in a special solution for some time. You should then rinse them with water before you put them back in your mouth. Your dentures can get stained so proper care is important. Should you nice yours turning you should see your dentist right away – there are procedures that take stains off dentures. You should never use hot water on dentures as it can cause them to buckle. Be careful not to drop them when cleaning. If they start to chip see your dentist for replacement or repair.
The procedure for putting in dentures
It is important that you find a dentist who has lots of experience with dentures – they are more likely to get the job done right. On your first appointment a highly accurate impression of your remaining teeth will be made. You may be given transitional dentures to wear while your dentures are being created – it can take between 7 and 14 days depending on how busy your dentist’s lab is.
Your dentist will then help you choose the best shape and color for your new dentures – you want them to look as natural as possible. Don’t go with a very white shade – your smile will look strange. Once your dentures are ready you will be called back in for the initial fitting. This involves having them placed in your mouth and then the dentist making any changes that are necessary.
You will find your new dentures uncomfortable at first – this is perfectly normal as they get taking used to. If, however, they cause pain or soreness it is likely that the fitting wasn’t done well – go back to your dentist and have them adjusted accordingly.
Getting dentures doesn’t mean that you no longer have to visit your dentist – you still need proper oral care so you should visit your dentist at least twice a year.
Tips for eating and speaking with dentures
• Avoid hard foods like candy and ice chips – they can cause your dentures to chip. You should also avoid chewy foods such as tough beef. If you have to eat meat choose soft types such as fish and chicken.
• To avoid your dentures falling out spread food evenly in the mouth.
• Practice speech in front of a mirror after you get your new dentures.
• Before you speak bite down so as to set the dentures firmly in place.