A dentist. prosthodontist or a clinical dental technician can take impressions and make dentures. A clinical dental technician requires a patient to have
obtained an oral health certificate (a tooth and gum warrant of fitness) from a dentist or dental specialist before a denture of any form can be started. There is no point in building a house on a poor foundation as it will never last.
Dentures are either called complete (full) or partial depending on how many teeth need replacing. A complete denture replaces all the teeth, while a partial denture replaces the missing teeth and is secured by the remaining teeth.
A denture improves speech, appearance, eating function and supports facial muscles.
Complete dentures are made when all your natural teeth have been removed.
Complete dentures are called “conventional” or “immediate” depending on when they are made and positioned into the mouth.
Immediate dentures are inserted directly after the removal of the natural teeth. To undergo an immediate denture procedure, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower jaws, record your bite, smile line and desired toothcolour and shape. The impressions with then be sent to a laboratory for construction of your immediate denture. The advantage of immediate dentures is the patient does not have to go without teeth or denture during the healing period. The disadvantage of this option is the bone and gums shrink over time, particularly during the first 6 months of tooth removal. The change in shape of the bone and gums often requires immediate dentures to be rebased or relined to fit properly, and in some cases complete new dentures need to be remade.
Conventional dentures can then be made once the tissues have healed, ideally 3-6 months if going without dentures for this long is an option for the patient.
Over dentures are removable dentures that slots over a few remaining natural teeth or implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture either with a filling, a root canal, and or crown.
Partial dentures are often an affordable option when a few teeth are missing. There are 2 types of partial dentures; an all acrylic denture or an acrylic denture which is supported by metal framework. Partial dentures use metal clasps or precision attachments to gain support and retention from your natural teeth. Crowns with precision attachments on your natural teeth can enhance the fit of a partial denture and are often more aesthetic than metal clasps. However partial dentures with precision attachments generally cost more than those with metal clasps. Removable dentures were once the primary way to replace missing teeth, more and more people are using dental implants or bridges as a fixed treatment alternative.
Complete and partial dentures take time to get used to. Everyone adapts differently so be patient as your mouth with get used to wearing it. Initially there can be sore spots where the denture is rubbing or pressing on the gum. Your dentist or technician can adjust these denture pressure areas for you. As sore spots heal the gums become tougher and more resilient. For complete and partial dentures that are not immediate dentures, the best approach is to wear the denture for small periods of time slowly increasing to wearing all day. This allows the gums to toughen up without causing you too much discomfort. For the health of your gums it is best to not sleep with your dentures in.
Alternatively for immediate dentures it is best to try keep the dentures in place for the first 72 hours taking the dentures out only to rinse after each meal. Swelling is most prevalent in the first 72 hours of tooth removal so taking a denture out for a long period of time may mean it is difficult to reinsert. After the first 72 hours it is advised to remove the dentures at night.
Chewing can be a steep learning curve depending whether you have a partial or full denture. For a full denture it is important to try and keep the denture balanced as you eat. Try up and down chewing as opposed to left and right movements as this can cause the denture to tilt. Eat small pieces of soft foods and chew on both sides of your mouth to prevent the denture from tipping and irritating your gums. Hard and sticky foods are best avoided. As you get used to chewing with denture you can progress to firmer foods until you can return to your normal diet. Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time and be careful with sharp, hot or hard foods.
Speech can initially be altered and pronouncing certain words will take practice. If your dentures “click” while you`re talking, try to speak slowly. If your dentures slip when you smile, laugh or cough, re-position the dentures by softly biting down and swallowing. If your speech does not improve after a few weeks consult your dentist or dental technician.
Never force the partial denture into position by biting down as this can bend or damage the clasps.
When handling the denture stand over a sink of water or towel so if you were to drop it it won’t be damaged. After every meal rinse the denture and brush the denture daily with a denture brush (soft bristles) to remove food debris and plaque. Look for denture cleansers at the pharmacy or supermarket. Mild dish-washing liquid to cleanse dentures is acceptable however other house cleaners and abrasive toothpastes should be avoided.
Keep your denture moist to avoid it losing its shape. Place your denture in a soaking solution or water over night. However, if the plate has metal attachments, they could be tarnished if placed in soaking solution. Even with full dentures, you need to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Still brush your gums, roof of your mouth, and tongue with a soft toothbrush before you put in your dentures to clean off plaque and stimulate circulation in the mouth.
Maintain a balanced diet to keep a healthy mouth.
Once teeth have been removed your jaw bone and gums change shape slowly each year. The most dramatic change is during the first year, however each subsequent year there is still a small change. As soon as a denture feels loose it is time to consult your dentist or dental technician for a reline or re-base. Loose dentures can cause various problems, including sores or infections, loss of confidence, discomfort.
Avoid using DIY kits to reline your dentures as this damage the plate beyond repair and provide a poor result.
If your denture becomes loose, cracks or chips, or if one of the teeth come off, see your dentist or dental technician. Often denture repairs are easily carried out, most within 48 hours.
Inevitably your dentures will loosen overtime and will require relining, re-basing or complete remake. To reline or re-base a denture, the denture some of the denture base is ground away, an impression is taken with the denture and more acrylic is added to the base. Dentures may need to be replaced if they are markedly loose, bulky in areas they no longer should be and the denture teeth are worn or unaesthetic.
If a denture fits well but occasionally slips out of place then an adhesive can trialed. Adhesives are not the solution for very loose dentures. Adhesives can enhance denture retention, however the disadvantage is cleaning the adhesive off. Apply adhesives sparingly, too much adhesive prevents the adhesive from working well.
To find a dentist or clinical dental technician near you visit www.fillinggaps.co.nz