Dentures are removable, artificial teeth that can replace many missing or severely damaged teeth. Although they are conventionally marketed toward seniors and those who have lost their teeth due to age, anyone missing all or most of their teeth can benefit from them.
When you’re missing many of your teeth, your facial structure may begin to sag. It may be difficult to bite, chew, or speak. Your dentist may recommend dentures, which can restore your mouth to its original structure, aiding your facial muscles and making it easier to perform basic facial functions.
Types of Dentures
- Overdenture: also called partial dentures, an overdenture can fit amongst your remaining natural teeth. Your dentist will “prepare” your natural teeth and provide a denture that fills out the gaps in your mouth. This allows you to keep your healthy, natural teeth.
- Conventional Denture: also called full dentures, these full sets of fake teeth are installed after your dentist has removed or filed down any remaining natural teeth. This procedure is typically only performed on patients who are already missing most of their teeth, or whose remaining teeth are severely damaged.
- Immediate Denture: unlike overdentures or conventional dentures, which may require several visits to the dentist, immediate dentures are placed the same day your remaining teeth are removed. This allows you to use your mouth at its fullest function immediately after surgery, but may require a follow-up visit to realign your dentures after your mouth has fully healed.
Complications of Dentures
Each type of denture can be removed for cleaning or sleeping, but it’s important to care for them as you would your natural teeth. Soak them in water when you’re not wearing them, and make sure you brush your fake teeth as well as your gums and tongue to prevent plaque buildup and decay. If you don’t care for your dentures according to your dentist’s instructions, the following complications can occur.
- If they don’t fit properly, or if they become warped, they may rub your gums and cause mouth sores and discomfort. Your dentist can take new impressions of your mouth and provide a new set.
- Dentures that aren’t brushed and cleaned can carry food particles that can irritate your mouth and cause infection. Make sure you speak with your dentist about how to disinfect them and clean your mouth.
- Sometimes, even properly fitted dentures can become dislodged or misaligned in your mouth, making it difficult to bite and chew. If this happens, speak to your dentist about using an adhesive to keep them in place.
- Just like a retainer, they can become damaged when they’re not in your mouth. Make sure you store your them in a safe place where they won’t be damaged, and keep them out of reach of small children.
If you’re unreliable with cleaning or keeping your dentures safe, talk to your dentist about alternatives like dental implants, which are permanent additions to your mouth. For most patients, they are a comfortable and long-lasting solution for missing teeth and can improve the feel, look, and strength of your mouth and face.