A Guide To The Different Types Of Dentures

By Delialah Falcon. May 7th 2016

If you’ve lost some or all of your teeth, it is still possible to have a great smile. Dentures replace missing teeth and give patients a renewed sense of confidence and functionality. If you have tooth loss due to trauma or tooth decay, dentures may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Speak with your dentist about dentures during your next visit.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are a detachable, prosthetic substitute for a person’s missing natural teeth. Dentures are made by your dentist to replace any or all of your missing teeth as well as the adjoining tissue. There are two types of dentures: partial dentures and complete dentures.

Types Of Dentures

Partial dentures replace teeth that are missing, while your other natural teeth remain. There are two types of partial dentures, those that can be removed and those that are permanent. A partial denture is used when one or more of the natural teeth are missing in either the upper or lower set.

  • A removable, partial denture is made up of a plastic base that is colored to match the shade of your gums. Replacement teeth are then attached to the base. The device is held in place by metal framework.
  • A permanent, partial denture, or “bridge,” is clasped into the mouth by your dentist, putting crowns on the adjacent teeth, which are then connected to the bridge. The bridge, containing the replacement teeth, is then cemented into place, resulting in a permanent partial denture.

The other type of denture is a complete denture. Complete dentures are used when all of the natural teeth are missing. There are two types of complete dentures, conventional and immediate.

  • Conventional dentures are made after all of the remaining teeth are taken out and the mouth and gum tissue has fully healed. This healing process can take up to three months. Once healing is complete the dentures can be worn.
  • Immediate dentures can be placed in the mouth right away and do not require a healing process; however they are not recommended for long term use and are designed as an interim appliance until complete dentures can be used.

How Are Dentures Made?

The process of creating dentures takes about 45 days and is completed over the course of several appointments with your dentist.

  • During the initial appointment, your dentist will help you determine which type of denture is appropriate for you and take several measurements and impressions of your jaw.
  • A model of the denture is then created using wax or plastic forms.
  • The model is then placed in your mouth for a short period of time to test for proper fit.
  • Once the model is fit to your mouth, the dentist will match the color and shape of your original teeth and insure a proper fit.
  • After the model is approved, a final cast of your dentures will be made. This will be the dentures that you use daily.
  • You will have to visit the dentist for future adjustments.

How Will Dentures Affect Daily Life?

As you adjust to your new dentures you may notice that everyday living will be a bit different. Your smile and overall facial appearance will change for the better. With the addition of dentures, your face may even seem more filled out rather than sunken in.

Eating will require some practice and it may take some time before you become accustomed to chewing with your new dentures. It is best to start out with softer foods and small pieces of food. Alternate chewing on both sides of your mouth and chew slowly. As you get used to the new dentures, add more foods and return to a normal diet. Use caution when eating hard foods, hot foods or foods with bones or shells on them.

After you begin wearing your dentures you may notice it is difficult to pronounce certain words or sounds. Practice by speaking these words aloud. It is possible for dentures to slip occasionally when you laugh or cough. To remedy this, just bite down and swallow to reposition your dentures. If any problems persist beyond the adjustment period contact your dentist right away.

How Do I Care For Dentures?

Dentures are fragile and can break easily if dropped. When placing or removing your dentures, do so over a thick towel or sink full of water, and never place them within reach of children or pets. As with natural teeth, dentures should be brushed to remove any food or bacteria that may collect on them. It is recommended by dentists to use a special denture cleansing brush in conjunction with a denture cleanser to properly clean your dentures. Use the brush to remove particles of food and when not wearing the dentures, soak them in cool water or denture cleanser. If dentures dry out they can lose their shape.

What Are Denture Adhesives?

Denture adhesives are products used to keep your dentures properly positioned in your mouth. They come in two varieties, paste or powder. Adhesives should only be used to provide added stability to an already well fit denture.

How Are Adhesives Used?

Adhesives are to be used in conjunction with a well-fitting denture to provide additional hold. Do not attempt to keep old, poorly constructed or ill-fitting dentures in place with denture adhesives. When using an adhesive use the minimum amount possible to gain the desired effect. Adhesives work best with clean, well-fitted dentures. Adhesives may be necessary if you suffer from dry mouth or use your facial muscles more often than most, for example, if you are a public speaker or a musician.

Types Of Adhesives

Adhesive paste comes in a tube and is squeezed onto the part of the denture that will be against your mouth. Adhesive powder is sprinkled onto the same area of the denture as paste. Many people prefer powder over paste because it is easier to clean off of the dentures and gives a tighter, flat fit.

Are Adhesives Safe For Everyone?

Adhesives are generally safe unless you are allergic to an ingredient within the adhesive, in which case you should not use one. If your dentures are well fit and you use only a minimal amount of adhesive for added immovability, then you should not experience any problems. If adhesives are used improperly or for extended periods of time to stabilize an old or ill-fitting denture, you can cause damage to the surrounding tissue.

Are Adhesives Necessary?

Adhesives are only intended to be used to add extra stability, reinforcement of bite or security to an otherwise properly fit denture. If your dentures are too loose or are causing irritation from slippage, contact your dentist to have your dentures further evaluated or adjusted.

How Often Should I Visit The Dentist?

You should schedule regular visits with your dentist as often as your dentists recommends. It is important to check dentures for proper fit, because over time you may need to have them replaced or adjusted. Regular check-ups are important to ensure the proper maintenance of your dentures and your overall oral health.


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