A denture is a removable dental appliance replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.
There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing; while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.
A complete denture may be either conventional or immediate. A conventional denture is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. During this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.
Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years, but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted after normal wear and usage.
Reasons for dentures
Replacing all teeth missing in an arch (complete denture)
Replacing several missing teeth in an arch (partial denture)
Enhancing smile and facial tissues
Improving chewing, speech, and digestion
What getting dentures involves
The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken to create your custom denture. Several "try-in" appointments may be necessary to ensure the proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will make adjustments for a precise placement of the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.
It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty; however, this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new appliances.
You will be given homecare instructions, including proper cleaning and good oral hygiene, and reminders for regular dental checkups that will extend the longevity of your new dentures.