A denture or a complete denture as it is often called, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips.
Most dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways.
- A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed.
- An immediate denture is fabricated and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture.
- An upper denture has acrylic, usually flesh colored, that covers the palate (roof of the mouth).
- A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue.
The teeth are made of plastic, porcelain or a combination of both. Dentures can be fabricated to fit over endodontically treated teeth and a complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Dentures over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. Regular dental examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.
Advice and tips on caring for your dentures
- Only your dental professional is qualified to diagnose your oral health and adjust your denture or partial.
- Dentures should be brushed inside and outside daily with a soft, large nylon denture tooth brush with round-ended bristles.
- Use denture creams instead of toothpastes, which are too abrasive and will scratch your denture. Rinse with cold water.
- Dentures warp if placed in hot water.
- Inspect your denture regularly for worn teeth.
- Worn and stained dentures can make you look older and cause your dentures to function poorly.
- Discuss all your current medications with your doctor and dental professional.
- Be sure to visit your dental professional regularly.
- Have loose dentures checked immediately as they can cause friction and pressure on the gum tissues and bones.
- When not in use, cover dentures with water or a denture-cleaning solution to prevent them from drying out.
- Most dental insurance policies provide coverage for new dentures every 5 years.