Answers to frequently asked questions about dentures
Types of dentures
Complete, or sometimes called full dentures replace all of the teeth, while removable partial dentures fill in the spaces created by teeth that have been removed, and prevents other teeth from changing position.
Candidates for full dentures have lost most or all of their teeth, while partial dentures are suitable for those who have some of their natural teeth remaining. A denture can help improve chewing ability and speech, and provide support for facial muscles. Dentures can also significantly enhance the facial appearance and smile.
Complete or full dentures are used when all of your natural teeth are missing. Full dentures can be made for upper or lower jaws, or both.
Complete dentures are sometimes referred to as conventional or immediate, according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth. Immediate dentures are inserted soon after the removal of the teeth. To make this possible, our denturist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit.
An advantage of immediate dentures is that during the healing period the wearer does not have to be without teeth. However, during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth, the bones and gums can shrink over time. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require adjusting or relining to fit properly. Conventional dentures can then be made once the tissues have healed.
How are dentures made?
First, an impressions of your jaw is made using special materials. In addition, measurements are made to show how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them. This is referred to as bite relationship. If possible, the color or shade of your natural teeth is also determined. The impression, bite and shade are given to our dental laboratory so dentures can be custom made for your mouth.
At Olympic Dental and Denture, our in-house laboratory makes a mold or model of your jaw, places the teeth in a wax base, and carves the wax to the exact form wanted in the finished denture. Usually a wax try-in of the denture will be done in our office so any adjustments can be made before the denture is completed.
The denture is completed in our dental laboratory using the lost wax technique. A mold of the wax-up denture is made, then the wax is removed and the remaining space is filled with pink plastic in dough form. The mold is then heated to harden the plastic. The denture is then polished and ready for wear.
Getting used to your denture
For the first few weeks, a new denture may feel awkward or bulky. However, your mouth will eventually become accustomed to wearing them. Inserting and removing the dentures will likely require some practice. Your denture should fit into place with relative ease. You never want to force dentures into position by biting down. This could cause bending or breakage.
Although there may be some temporary discomfort at first, wearing your dentures will help identify those denture parts that may need adjustment. If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. Your denture can then be adjusted to fit more comfortably.
Once you have your new dentures, start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to evenly distribute pressure and wear on the dentures. Avoid sticky or hard foods, chewing gum or other foods that might over stress your dentures.
Care of your denture
Daily brushing of your dentures (preferably with a denture brush) should be done to remove food deposits and plaque. This also helps to keep dentures from becoming permanently stained. You should not use brushes with hard bristles, as they can damage the dentures. Use denture cleansers that have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.
Hand soap or mild dish washing liquid to clean dentures is also acceptable. Other types of household cleaners or toothpastes are usually too abrasive for dentures and should not be used. Dentures should be kept moist. At night, place the dentures in soaking solution or water. If your dentures have metal attachments, consult with your denturist, either John or Youni, to determine the best soaking solution.
After cleaning your dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning and evening you should brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush. This removes plaque and helps to stimulate circulation in your mouth.
Dentures may need adjusting over time. As you age, your mouth naturally changes. This can affect the fit of the dentures. Your bone and gum ridges may recede or shrink, resulting in a loosening of the dentures fit. Loose dentures can lead to developing of sores or infections.
Dentures that do not fit properly can be adjusted by either of our denturist, John or Youni. Avoid using a do-it-yourself kit to adjust your dentures. This can damage them beyond repair. You should also avoid using glues not recommended by us, as they often contain chemicals harmful to dentures.
If your dentures begin to fit improperly, if there are cracks, breaks or chips, or if any of the teeth become loose, call us immediately. In many cases, we can make necessary adjustments or repairs, often on the same day, because we have our own in-house dental lab. Complicated repairs may require a little extra time.
Over time, dentures will need to be relined or re-made due to normal wear. Eventually dentures will need to be replaced when showing signs of significant wear.
Once you get your new dentures, start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly and gently using both sides of your mouth at the same time. As you become accustomed to using your dentures, add other foods until you return to your normal diet.
Be cautious with hot foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.
It is not uncommon to experience some difficulty pronouncing certain words when you first start wearing dentures. But with some practice you will get accustomed to having them in your mouth. If your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile try repositioning them by gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking or other problems persists, consult John or Youni.
Although denture adhesives can provide additional retention for well fitting dentures, they are not the solution for old, ill-fitting dentures. If your dentures begin to feel loose or cause discomfort, call us immediately.