Teeth can be lost through an injury or poor dental health; either way, the loss of a tooth should be handled with urgency as your teeth may start to move, or your bite will change causing jaw problem. Another consequence from teeth loss could be having a sagging facial appearance, aging you in the process.
Missing teeth, either complete loss or partial loss, can be replaced with a complete denture or an over denture. These dental prostheses, also called false teeth, will look like natural teeth.
On the first appointment, your dentist will examine your gums and bone structure. If needed bony ridges will have to be surgically corrected. Depending on the condition of your teeth, the remaining teeth might also be removed. Once your dentist is satisfied an impression of your gums will be made, as this will ensure the best possible fit.
The dentures themselves, will be made to match your own natural teeth or what would work with your own features. But as there is a natural shrinkage through the healing process of tooth loss after six to 12 months after the loss, your dentist will allow for some adjustment to accommodate the changes.
For complete dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base will cover your gums, with the bases of the upper dentures that will cover the roof of your mouth. The lower dentures will be in a horseshoe shape to allow space for your tongue.
Irrespective if you have complete dentures or over dentures, they will be custom-made by a dental laboratory based on the impressions that was taken from your mouth.
How to take care of your dentures
Once you get your new dentures, they might feel uncomfortable. Over time, you will get used to them. Your speaking and chewing will also start to normalize.
What you can do is to speak slowly. Just be patient. You can start by saying difficult words aloud. And if they move when you smile, just bite down and swallow to put them back in to place.
You will also need to take care of your new dentures. This will involve removing your prostheses when you sleep at night. This allows the gums to be covered with saliva, as it helps with a healthy mouth.
As for food, start by eating soft food, or food that has been cut into small pieces. And do not eat sticky food.
You should soak your dentures overnight in a denture cleaner. Then also clean them thoroughly each morning before putting them back into your mouth. When you clean your dentures, use a soft-bristled brush or special denture-cleaning brush. Use plain soap and warm water; alternatively, you may ask your dentist for a recommend denture cleaner.
Never use powdered household cleaners or bleach on your dentures, nor toothpaste, which is too abrasive.
Clean your mouth daily. Clean and massage your gums, tongue, and roof of your mouth each day before putting in your dentures. This will help keep your mouth healthy.
You can also use an adhesive. Denture adhesives will help to keep your dentures stay securely in place and avoid that embarrassment of them failing out. But denture adhesives should not be used to fix old or poorly fitting dentures. When using an adhesive, follow the instructions carefully and only use a small amount.
What are the most common problems associated with dentures
When you get your new dentures, they will fit well. But as the time goes on, they might feel a bit lose as the jawbone shrinks. This could irritate and be painful on your gums. In addition, as they dentures start to move around, you might have problems eating.
If the dentures do become a bit lose then they will need to adjusted, modified, or replaced by your dentist. Never try to adjust your dentures yourself.
An alternative to dentures are implants. They do costs more, but the feeling they will bring that they feel like your own teeth rather than dentures that could fall out, might be just the reason why you should opt for them.
You can get some infections if you are wearing dentures. These include:
- Cheilitis, which is a painful infection that causes inflammation and cracking at the corners of your mouth. This problem is due to an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast can build-up in moist areas of your mouth if your dentures do not fit properly.
- Stomatitis, is another infection also caused by too much yeast. The symptoms are not always obvious. When the symptoms do appear, you might notice small red bumps on the roof of your mouth or general mouth redness, particularly under your upper dentures.
Both yeast conditions of cheilitis and stomatitis can be treated with medicine and proper denture care.