Dentures have come a long way over the years. No longer do they look like the “false teeth” of yesteryear. Now, dentures are so highly customizable that most people would be hard-pressed to be able to tell someone wearing dentures from someone with their natural teeth. When necessary, dentures are an excellent way to maintain quality of life for those requiring the replacement of multiple teeth.
What types of dentures are there?
Complete, immediate dentures are dentures which are available for placement in the mouth immediately after all teeth are removed. The advantage to complete, immediate dentures is that they are made in advance, and the patient doesn’t need to be without their teeth during the healing period. The downside is that the healing process is long, and the gum and bones shrink and change during that period. Immediate dentures may not fit as well once healing is complete compared to conventional dentures, which are placed 8-12 weeks after teeth are removed and healing has finished.
Partial dentures are also called dental bridges. “Partials” are an option whenever there is a natural tooth or teeth remaining in the upper or lower jaw. Partial dentures are removable, and often can be a more natural-looking solution to missing teeth than complete dentures.
How are dentures made?
The process to make dentures can take from two to six weeks and several appointments. Your dentist will make a series of impressions to ensure the proper fit, then create models, wax forms, or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will “try in” this model several times and the denture will be assessed for color, shape, and fit before the final denture is cast.
How do dentures feel?
Like most any dental appliance, the first few weeks of wearing dentures can feel a bit awkward. It takes some time for the muscles of your cheeks and tongue to “learn” to keep them in place properly. Minor irritation and increased saliva flow are also common during this time, but generally these discomforts subside quickly.
Are there any alternatives to dentures?
Yes. Under certain circumstances, dental implants can be used in lieu of dentures to support bridges which have been permanently cemented in the mouth. Only a dentist can tell you if you are a good candidate for dental implants.
If you have questions about dentures or dental implants, please give our Ann Arbor dental practice a call at 734-677-2156 for more information or to schedule an appointment for a consultation.