Dental information on Dentures

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The following dental information pages answers many of your questions on complete and partial dentures.

What are dentures?

Dentures are artificial substitutes used to replace all or some of the lost teeth and adjoining tissues to maintain function, health and esthetics of the tissues. So in simple words dentures help replace lost teeth.


Why are teeth lost?

Teeth are lost due to a number of causes. The two main reasons for loss of teeth are dental decay and periodontal diseases (gum diseases). Both dental decay and gum diseases are a result of poor oral hygiene.


Is it necessary to replace lost teeth?

It is very important to replace lost natural teeth. Loss of teeth affects chewing of food and also affects the esthetics of the person by altering the lip and cheek appearance. When a lost tooth is not replaced there is a tendency for the adjacent and opposing teeth to move into the space left by the lost teeth. Thus the person's occlusion or bite is altered. In addition the loss of teeth causes shrinkage of the bone at that area. To avoid all these problems it is advisable to replace lost teeth by artificial dentures.


What are the different types of dentures?

Dentures are broadly classified as partial and complete dentures. Complete dentures replace all the teeth while partial dentures replace a few teeth. Partial dentures can be again classified as removable partial dentures and fixed partial dentures. Removable partial dentures replace a few teeth and are designed to be removed and replaced by the patient. The fixed partial dentures also replace a few teeth but cannot be removed by the patient. A new type of denture gaining popularity is the Implant retained denture that can be used to replace some or all teeth. This type of denture comprises of metallic implants that are embedded into the bone and give support for artificial teeth.


How long do I need to wait after extraction of teeth to get my dentures?

It is advisable to wait for at least 4 weeks after the extraction of teeth before the dentist can initiate the process of denture construction. This gives sufficient time for the extraction wound to heal and for the underlying bone to remodel.


What is a complete denture?

A complete denture is a dental prosthesis that replaces all the teeth and contiguous oral tissues in order to help restore the function, health and the appearance of the patient. Complete dentures can be made for the lost upper and the lower teeth. Under certain circumstances only the upper or the lower denture is made and this is called a single denture. Complete dentures fabricated before the extraction of the teeth and inserted soon after the extraction are called immediate complete dentures.


What are dentures made of?

All dentures are made of a denture base and teeth. The denture base is usually made of acrylic resin, which is usually colored pink to resemble the oral gum tissues. Sometimes the base can also be made of metals such as chromium cobalt alloy or certain titanium alloys. The teeth are made of acrylic resins, which is the most preferred, or porcelain. Teeth are available in various sizes, forms and colors to suit the needs of the patients.


How do complete dentures stay in place?

Dentures are made to stay in place by their close fit to the underlying tissues. When the dentures are manufactured so that they adapt closely to the underlying tissues, it creates a vacuum seal that retains the denture in place. The thickness and quantity of saliva plays an important role in the retention of the denture. Dentures can also be made to stay in place by using mechanical means such as springs, magnets, or by use of denture adhesives.


Do you need to replace dentures after a few years?

Ideally dentures have to be replaced every 5 years. With the passage of time there will be a change in the shape and form of the tissues that hold the dentures. So in due course of time the dentures loose their exact fit and can cause injury and irritation to the underlying tissues. In addition the acrylic artificial teeth also wear off in due course of time and they no longer cut and chew food as effectively as before. So it is advisable to replace the dentures after every 5 years


Do new dentures cause sores?

Yes very often the new dentures may cause areas of soreness in the underlying tissues. Even the most nicely made dentures may cause some irritation when newly worn. These are usually due to a sharp spot on the denture that irritates the tissue or may sometimes be due to a sharp bony area in the tissues. These areas of irritation should be brought to the notice of the dentist to do the necessary modifications in the denture to relieve these areas.


What is denture sore mouth?

Denture sore mouth is an inflammatory condition of the tissues beneath the dentures. The tissues appear reddish and the patient may complain of a burning sensation. This condition may be due to an allergic reaction to the denture base material and sometimes superimposed with bad oral hygiene and unclean dentures.


Do I have any restriction on the food I eat?

Even the best of the dentures may not perform as well as the natural teeth. It is something akin to asking if one could run as well on artificial legs. One has to learn to use the dentures. It is best to avoid hard foods like raw carrots, nuts, etc. Soft foods cut into small pieces are ideal for denture wearers. The food should be chewed on both sides of the mouth simultaneously.

Dental information on Dentures

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