There are times when teeth simply cannot be saved. They may have sustained extensive damage, decay, periodontal disease, or breakage. While permanent appliances are available, they may not be the best option chosen by the patient or dentist. In this case, a removable restorative device is the alternative. This could include full or partial dentures.
If most or all of the patient’s teeth have been lost, a full denture may be the answer. Without teeth, speaking, eating, and appearance can all suffer. Removable dentures can restore function to the mouth and restore the facial profile and smile.
At times, there are a few remaining teeth. During consultation with your dentist, it may be decided that these teeth require removal because a full denture is the most effective option. Dentures cannot be created and applied until healing from the removal of these remaining teeth is finished. All of the oral tissues must be fully healed before dentures are fitted.
Dentures are created for your mouth and fitted throughout a series a visits to the dentist. At first, they may feel strange and difficult to get used to. They may cause excess saliva production and even some irritation. Your dentist will make changes to help with the irritation and the saliva production will decrease as you get used to the appliance.
Just because a patient has dentures or “false teeth” does not mean that oral hygiene may be ignored. Gums, tongue, the roof of the mouth, and inside of cheeks should be brushed daily to decrease bacteria. Dentures should also be brushed thoroughly to remove any food that may be caught or stuck to them. Using a soft brush will ensure that they do not get damaged. When they are not being worn, store dentures in a covered container filled with water so that they retain their shape.
Adhesives may be used to increase confidence that dentures will not slip in the mouth. Adhesives are available in pastes, powders, creams, strips, and other forms. Read instructions carefully for insertion, removal, and cleaning of dentures and mouth when using these products.
In many cases involving dentures, implants can be used to stabilize the dentures.
In cases of a few missing teeth, some patients prefer a removable partial denture to a permanent bridge. In either case, it is important to use an appliance to close a gap so that the surrounding teeth do not move into the gap and affect the overall bite.
A partial denture, similar to a bridge, is connected to the teeth on each side of the gap. In this case, the attachment is not via crown, but by a metal frame connecting it to the teeth on either side. There are also versions of partial dentures that use internal clasps for a more natural look.
Whichever removable restorative appliance is used, the same requirements for care should be applied. Remove the partial denture and brush the gums underneath it when brushing the teeth. Brush the partial denture gently, and if not wearing it, store in a clean container covered with water. Cleaning solutions are available to freshen up either type of denture.