No artificial teeth can replicate the function and aesthetics like your natural teeth. But dentists try their level best to match up to the expectations of replacing your natural missing teeth with artificial ones as close as possible. These replacements can be dentures, implants, bridges, caps, etc. The dentist uses this to replace missing teeth and improve the dental and facial appearance of patients.
Treatment options for missing teeth
A denture is basically a removable prosthetic appliance for missing teeth. There are two main types:
- Complete dentures
-Removable complete denture
-Dentures fixed with implants
- Partial dentures
-Removable partial denture
-Fixed partial denture (Dental bridge)
-Partial denture fixed with implants (for more number of missing teeth)
The complete dentures replace all the teeth in the mouth, whereas the partial dentures replace a few of the teeth. A denture typically takes 8-12 weeks to be completed.
Removable treatment options
A removable complete or partial denture is commonly advised when the teeth are lost. This is a removable appliance with replacement teeth and a pink plastic base. It is less expensive than implant dentures but it is not fixed in the mouth. These dentures require good care and may need to be altered or replaced over time. You can get partial dentures only if you have some upper or lower teeth remaining in the mouth. They may have some clasps to take support from the adjacent teeth.
Permanent treatment option
A fixed bridge contains artificial teeth caps that are cemented into space. These are not removable and require less maintenance. However, these might involve cutting some tooth structure so that there is space to attach them. The bridge can be prepared with ceramic (tooth coloured) teeth or silver coloured teeth depending on budget and concern with appearance.
Looking for a fixed denture?
You can also get implant dentures, which are basically dentures placed with the support of implants in your mouth. These are more stable than regular dentures but more costly. Alternatively, there are some implant-supported bridges available for cases where few teeth are missing. The dentist will inform you if a bridge is feasible for you.
There is another type of denture called an ‘Immediate’ denture which can be placed as soon as the teeth are removed. That means you do not have to be without teeth, which is a great advantage. But in the healing period after removing the teeth, your jawbone shrinks. So immediate dentures may require a lot of adjustments after placing in the mouth. We place them temporarily until the final dentures are made.
What do you experience with dentures?
It may feel odd in the first few days or weeks when you first get a denture. Over time, you get comfortable with putting them on and removing them. A little bit of irritation and extra salivating more is common in the initial days. It takes some patience, but dentures will ultimately help you eat, speak, look better and have a comfortable life.
Initially, eating with new dentures might be a little difficult. You should first practice eating softer foods slowly and in small bites. As you get used to them, you can start eating normally. Take care of foods that are very hard, hot or sticky. Avoid using a toothpick or chewing gum while wearing dentures.
Difficulty in adjusting to new dentures
In the early days after you start wearing dentures, you may find it hard to pronounce some words. With practice, you get used to speaking properly. Sometimes there can be problems such as a clicking sound while wearing them. Contact your dentist in this case. Occasional slipping of the denture when you cough or laugh is normal.
Your dentist will tell you how long to wear your dentures in a day. It is easy to place them in and take them out once you learn. In the first few days, the dentist might tell you to wear them all day and night. This can be uncomfortable, but this way, we can quickly judge if any adjustments should be made to the dentures. After that, you can wear them only during the day and when you need them and remove while sleeping. Some people might still face difficulty in adjusting to the acrylic dentures, in that case, people can opt for flexible dentures that are more comfortable to use.
How to clean your dentures
Remove your dentures after meals and clean them in running water. Don’t bend any part of the denture and take care not to drop them. Make sure you are cleaning your mouth when you remove the dentures including your tongue, cheek, and roof of the mouth. Don’t forget to clean the dentures at least once a day – remove them, brush gently with a soft toothbrush and a denture cleanser. Leave them soaking overnight in water or a denture-soaking solution. Most importantly, go to the dentist regularly for your checkups.
- Not replacing your missing teeth can call in for more dental problems and complications in the near future.
- Get your teeth replaced if you have missing teeth. At the earliest. The more you delay leaves you with less treatment options.
- Dentures can be removable as well as permanently fixed with the help of implants.
- There is no other way of fixing your dentures permanently other than implants.
- Getting a denture also calls in for problems associated with wearing them. But practice and patience is the key.
- Keep your dentures clean and hygienic to avoid infections in the mouth.
- If you are uncomfortable or find it a hassle to take care of your dentures, go for fixed dentures.