Dentures are removable teeth replacements designed to resemble the natural appearance of teeth. Dentures can be used to replace all the teeth in your mouth or just a few. Unlike other dental replacements, dentures do not require the surrounding teeth to be present. In fact, dentures are best suited for situations in which several teeth in a row are missing. Dentures are not just cosmetic. Dentures can help with everyday activities that would be difficult with several missing teeth, such as eating and speaking.
Dentures come in two forms. Complete dentures are used to replace all of the teeth in an arc, while partial dentures are used to replace large gaps of missing teeth between remaining natural teeth. Complete dentures are only usable when all the teeth in the arc are removed and the gum tissue has healed. Partial dentures can only be used if there are natural teeth still in the mouth. Partial dentures can even prevent these teeth from shifting.
The process of having dentures made will differ based on the type of dentures you need. Conventional dentures are created after your teeth have been removed and your gums have healed. This process usually takes between 4 to 6 weeks, during which time you would go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made prior to the removal of your teeth and are placed directly after. The gum tissue heals while you wear your dentures and adjustments may need to be made after the gums shrink.
Whether they are permanent or immediate, complete or partial, the process may take several visits to the dentist. These appointments can include measurements, teeth impressions, and "try-in" dentures. When your dentures are ready, the dentist will adjust and place them, making sure the fit feels natural and comfortable.
Dentures can cause an increase in saliva flow, soreness, and difficulty in speech and eating. These effects will settle as your mouth becomes accustomed to your new dentures.
Dentures are durable and can last many years. However, like most dental appliances, dentures may need to be repaired, replaced, or readjusted over time. Your dentist will provide care instructions for your dentures. You can keep your dentures lasting long with proper cleaning, good oral hygiene, and regular dental appointments.