No matter how much you want to preserve your real teeth, it’s not uncommon for people to lose teeth. It may occur with age, decay, gum disease, or injury. If this happens to you, there’s no reason to go through life missing teeth in your smile. It’s better to quickly see your dentist for replacement teeth, so that you avoid shifting of your remaining teeth, speech problems, or saggy facial muscles. One solution that your dentist will likely offer to restore your smile is dentures. Here are some tips to help you select the right dentures for you.
An important step in the process of getting dentures is making sure you have a qualified and experienced dentist treating you. Most dentists provide dentures as part of their services, or you may choose to go to a prosthodontist. This type of specialist focuses on restorative dentistry. No matter who you choose, make sure that you are confident you will get dentures that meet your specific goals and needs.
Type of dentures
There are several types of dentures available, each with their own attributes. These are the main kinds:
- Full dentures – an acrylic appliance that replaces all of the teeth in your upper jaw. These are functional and replicate your real teeth, and are usually comfortable when fitted correctly.
- Partial dentures – these replace one or two missing teeth using a dental arch. Partial dentures are made of acrylic, metal, plastic, or a combination of these materials. These are attached with a clip that holds them in place in your mouth.
- Permanent dentures – these dentures are permanently attached and require almost no maintenance. They are the costliest of the types of dentures.
Dentures are available in various shades of white so that you can select the color that is most natural for you. Be careful about choosing the brightest white color, which may look unnatural compared to the color of your real teeth. Your dentist will help you find a neutral color that looks best with your smile and complexion.
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An implant overdenture combines the use of traditional dentures and implant technology to create a denture that fits over your remaining natural tooth roots or dental implants. These root or implant supported dentures are held in place by dental attachments which provide excellent stability and support for your dentures. Overdentures were developed to help patients missing some or all of their teeth regain a quality of life that may have been lacking since they lost their teeth.
There are several benefits to implant overdentures when compared to traditional dentures:
- Saving your natural roots or having implants placed slows bone loss by stimulating the bone in your jaw when you eat or chew.
- Because overdentures are better fitting by design, they are more stable and allow you to chew food more thoroughly. This promotes better digestion and allows you to absorb more nutrients.
- The increased stability provided by overdentures also means you are able to speak more clearly, as there is no slipping or clicking of your dentures.
- Loose dentures are not a worry with overdentures. Sticky adhesives and messy denture creams are unnecessary when you have implant overdentures.
- With overdentures, the natural shrinkage that occurs from an under-stimulated jaw does not occur. This keeps your face from looking sunken, as can often happen with traditional dentures.
To find out if you are a candidate for implant overdentures, schedule an evaluation by your dental professional. Overdentures could be the best, most natural treatment for restoring your oral health and beautiful smile.
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If you have chosen dentures to restore the function and appearance of your mouth, you certainly want them to do their job. Typically, if fitted correctly and you follow the instructions for use and care, dentures are a good solution. However, it’s possible for problems to arise so it’s important to recognize issues and how to handle them.
One key thing about dentures is that they must fit properly. If not, problems like gum irritation, difficulty eating and speaking, mouth infections, and denture movement may occur. Also, if you don’t keep your mouth clean and healthy, problems will likely appear.
If you experience any issues with your mouth after getting dentures, see your dentist right away. It’s possible that over time, your bones and gums can change and alter the fit of your dentures. When this happens, your dentist must determine if modification, adjustment, or replacement is needed. Never try to adjust your dentures yourself.
Here are some things you can do at home to keep your dentures in good condition:
- Handle them carefully. When holding your dentures, place a towel on the counter or stand over a water-filled sink. This will protect them if you drop them.
- Keep dentures out of reach of children and pets.
- Do not sleep with your dentures in your mouth.
- Clean them daily according to your dentist’s instructions. This includes soaking them overnight in a denture cleanser, cleaning them well each morning before wearing them, and cleaning your mouth carefully before inserting the dentures. Use a soft brush or one designed for dentures, plain soap or cleanser recommended by your dentist, and warm water. Never use bleach or household cleansers.
- Store your dentures in warm water or denture cleaning solution. Do not use hot water, which can cause them to lose their shape.
- Do not use toothpicks because they can damage dentures.
Wearing dentures may be tricky at first, and it may take some time to grow accustomed to them. However, if you care for them well and see your dentist for routine checkups, you can avoid most of the problems that denture-wearers sometimes encounter.
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