What are Dentures?
Dentures are the artificial replacements for missing teeth that can be brought out and put back into your mouth. When you initially get a denture, it doesn't feel like the natural teeth. However, today's dentures are aesthetically good and natural looking. They are also comfortable than ever before.
What are the different types of Dentures?
There are two principal types of dentures: complete (full) and partial. Depending on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced, your dentist will suggest you the kind of denture that's best for you.
While conventional types of dentures rest on the gums and may be attached to the natural teeth, implant-supported dentures are fixed to a base which is surgically planted into your jawbone.
I) Complete Dentures
Dentures which replace a full set of teeth are called complete dentures. The upper jaw dentures comprise of a flesh-colored acrylic base that covers the gums and the palate, allowing an entire set of artificial teeth to sit firmly. Full dentures for the lower jaw are similar, but the acrylic base has a horseshoe shape to avoid covering the tongue.
A) Conventional Complete Dentures
A conventional complete denture is placed in your mouth after all remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed properly. Healing may occur after several months, during which time you have to be without teeth.
B) Immediate Complete Dentures
An immediate denture is inserted soon after the remaining teeth are extracted. (Your dentist takes measurements and makes models of your jaw during a prior visit.) The benefit of having immediate denture is that you are never going to be without teeth, but they must be relined for several months after being inserted. The reason behind it is that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.
II) Partial Dentures
When only a few teeth of your teeth are missing, then partial dentures are used to fill those gaps. The partial dentures can be attached to natural teeth in several ways, the most common of which uses a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth which serve as anchors for the denture. These crowns can improve the fit of partial dentures.
III) Implant-Supported Dentures
These dentures are attached to implants that are surgically placed in the jawbone and extend outward from the gums.
The main advantage of implant-supported dentures is that they are more stable than any other types of dentures – particularly in the lower jaw, where conventional ones are most likely to move out of place.
For implant-supported dentures, you should have healthy gums, good oral care routines and adequate jawbone, although bone can be rebuilt to some degree if the need arises.
What are the materials used for making dentures?
The dentures consist of a set of artificial teeth and a base, over which these teeth are placed. There are different materials which are used in making of dentures.
The teeth of a denture are usually made up of various types of resin or porcelain. Porcelain is the preferred material over resins as it is stronger and more durable.
The advantages of porcelain are:
1) It has the same translucent appearance as a natural tooth, and can be color-matched closely with other teeth in the patient's mouth.
2) As porcelain teeth look like natural teeth, it makes easier for one to adapt to them than other materials.
3) The heating process used to produce them causes the dentures to become considerably harder, which means they last longer.
The disadvantages of porcelain dentures are:
1) They are breakable if dropped on a hard floor.
2) They can wear down your natural teeth if they bite against them. Because of this reason the porcelain is better used in full dentures than in partial ones.
More recently, acrylic resin has become the go-to material for denture teeth. Recent research showed that acrylic adheres more securely to the denture base, and is easier to adjust to achieve the correct occlusion as compared to harder porcelain teeth. It's also less costly than porcelain, and also lighter in weight.
Disadvantage of acrylic dentures:
These wear faster than porcelain teeth, which causes changes in the way the teeth make contact with one another. As a result of which they may need to be replaced every five to eight years, but they are still much stronger than the materials used in the past.
Dentures have a base or framework, which is called a full or partial plate. It can be made from rigid acrylic resin or a type of flexible (nylon) polymer, or can be molded from cobalt chrome metal.
Acrylic resin plates are compatible with dentures that need an artificial gum line as it can be tinted to resemble your natural gum color. Metal plates, however, carry less risk of breakage. They are also stronger and give a better fit. It makes them ideal for partial plates that are entirely hidden behind the remaining natural teeth.
How to take care of your dentures?
All dentures need regular cleaning and proper care if you want your denture to stay for longer duration and also to avoid future dental problems.
1) Don't allow your dentures dry out. Put them in a denture cleanser solution or plain water if you're not wearing them. Never use hot water, which can distort them.
2) Brushing your dentures on a daily basis will eliminate food deposits and plaque, and help prevent them from becoming stained.
3) Brush your gums, tongue and palate each morning with a soft brush before inserting your dentures. It helps in stimulating the circulation of your tissues and also removes plaque.
4) Visit your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip, or become loose. Don't try to adjust them by yourself — this can damage them beyond repair.
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