Know All About Dentures

CONTENTS

How Do I Replace My Missing Teeth?

Falling out of teeth is a common condition that accompanies old age. As a person gets older, their teeth weaken and begin to fall out, resulting in difficulties in chewing, speech disorders as well as a change in facial appearance. Apart from due to natural ageing, tooth loss can also occur due to several reasons. Gum (periodontal) diseases are localized infections in the gums, which leads to a loss of bone and a consequent fall out of teeth. Moreover, many people have had teeth removed because of extensive cavities, tooth decay due to plaque formation or traumatic injuries, and some may not have developed all their teeth due to an inherited trait. A denture is a relatively quick and inexpensive treatment for replacing missing teeth.

 


Dentures can help you in eating food if you have missing teeth due to old age.

What Are Dentures?

One of the most common solutions to missing teeth are dentures, which are removable replacements for tooth loss, both partial and full. These allow a person to bite and chew. For a person with no teeth, dentures enable the person to smile with a full set of teeth. In the case of partial dentures, these are removable and are clipped on to the natural teeth. 

Dentures are also commonly called False Teeth.

 


Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Denture Treatment?

There are numerous options for replacing lost teeth so you don’t have to go without a full set. 

 

If you are missing just a few of your teeth due to oral disease, a misfortune, or malnutrition - partial dentures are ideal.

In the event that all your teeth are missing, possibly due to several issues regarding your oral health such as bone loss, periodontal disease, or tooth decay - complete dentures are ideal.

In periodontal disease, the bone loss in the jaw is so extensive that teeth can’t be saved and are usually very loose. With dental cavities, the teeth are already so badly decayed that they must be extracted.

If you are only missing a couple of teeth or even a single tooth and the rest are healthy - dental implants are recommended.


What Are The Different Types Of Denture Treatment?

Replacement depends on the number of teeth missing and on where the missing teeth are in your mouth. The condition of the remaining teeth also affects the decision.

Placing of dentures - 

  • Full upper dentures cover the roof of your mouth (palate). A very thin layer of saliva between your palate and the denture creates suction, which keeps the denture firmly in position. Your facial muscles and tongue also help to keep it in place.

  • Full lower dentures are often more difficult to keep in place because there is less support from your gums. It can be difficult to balance the denture against your cheeks and tongue. However, this should improve with time as you get used to it.

Most people won’t need to use denture adhesive cream (fixative). However, some people may choose to use it because they find it helps in maintaining confidence while getting used to the new dentures. Adhesives come in many forms: creams, powders, pads/wafers, strips or liquids. If you use one of these products, read the instructions, and use them exactly as directed. Your dentist can recommend appropriate cleansers and adhesives.

Kinds of Dentures -

  • Conventional: This fully removable denture is made and placed in your mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed, which may take several months. 

  • Immediate: This removable denture is inserted on the same day when the remaining teeth are removed. Your dentist will take measurements and make models of your jaw during a preliminary visit. You don’t have to be without teeth during the healing period, but may need to have the denture relined or remade after your jaw has healed. 

  • Overdenture: Sometimes some of your teeth can be saved to preserve your jawbone and provide stability and support for the denture. An overdenture fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth after they have been prepared by your dentist. Implants can serve the same function, too.


What To Do Before A Denture Treatment?

Schedule an appointment with your dentist at least 3 weeks before the denture surgery to get everything in order.

  • A highly accurate impression of the teeth is taken in order to make diagnostic casts/moulds of your teeth.

  • Usually 1 hour following the initial impression, wax rims are placed in the mouth to establish a proper bite and orientation (occlusion) of the teeth. The patient is assisted in choosing the shape, size and shade of teeth to be used in the denture(s).

  • Following the impressions and wax bite, 7-14 days later, your next appointment will be for the extractions of some/all of your teeth.  

  • Your doctor will provide topical and oral anesthetic or general anesthetic before the teeth are extracted, sutures are placed (when necessary) and the denture/s are put in the mouth.


What Is The Post-operative Care For Denture Treatment?

  • Brush all of your remaining natural teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. If you have dentures, it's important to clean your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a soft brush.

  • Always clean your denture over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case they slip out of your hands. Brushing dentures before soaking helps to remove any food particles.

  • Using a fizzy/bubbly denture cleaner during after care will help in removing stubborn stains from dentures. It is also essential to read the manufacturer's instructions before using such products. Be careful not to scrub the dentures too hard, as this may cause cuts in the surface.

  • Most dentists advise using toothpaste and a small-to medium-headed toothbrush. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the denture, including the surface fitting against your gums. This is especially important if you use any kind of denture fixative.

  • If you have a soft lining on your denture, ask your dentist for advice before you use a denture cleaning solution. These linings are delicate and can be damaged by cleaning solutions. Soaking dentures in any type of bleach or very hot water, as this can weaken them and change their appearance.

  • If you take out your dentures at night, be sure to place them in a glass of water overnight so they don’t dry out, and to prevent any warping or cracking. Doing this can also help to prevent infections, such as fungal infections. 

  • Immediate dentures usually increase the flow of saliva for a few days on implantation. Swallow more often and try to get accustomed to using the denture. Rinsing with cold water occasionally and dissolving a hard candy or mint in the mouth will help your mouth feel fresher.

  • Sneezing and coughing can create abnormally high air pressure against the dentures and dislodge them. To avoid this, place a hand over your mouth when sneezing, coughing or yawning.

It is important to have regular check-ups with your dentist during the recovery stages after dentures are placed, who will assess the fit of your dentures, and check for any problems or health issues.


What Is The Post-operative Diet For A Denture Treatment?

Eat a balanced diet to maintain proper nutrition and a healthy mouth.

Do not wait for the freezing to be gone. Start drinking clear fluids initially and progress to soup (such as chicken or beef broth), fruit or vegetable juice.

You can start taking milk products such as milkshakes, yogurt, and pudding from the evening of the surgery. Small amounts should be taken frequently. A vitamin supplement is a good idea.

To get used to the new dentures, start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Advance your diet over the next few weeks to include softer items such as pasta, scrambled eggs, well cooked vegetables, fish, etc.

Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.

Avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You should also avoid chewing gum while you wear the denture.


What Are The Realistic Expectations From A Denture Treatment?

  • It is realistic to expect that your mouth will react to the placement of an unusual, yet almost permanent object in it. The reaction can vary in its nature. 

  • You can get oral sores, or irritation in the mouth. However, it is nothing to be worried about. By the end of the adjustment process, you will overcome the abnormalities. 

  • Your dentist may schedule a check-up appointment a week after fitting your new dentures to check the fit. If you're having problems, they can make any necessary adjustments. 

  • After getting dentures, if you are facing difficulties in pronouncing certain words (expected), practice saying the difficult words out loud. With practice and with time you will become accustomed to speaking properly with dentures.

  • An average denture, with good after care lasts between 5-8 years, after which it may get get worn out.

In addition to the quality of treatment, keep in mind things such as:

  • General safety in the country you’re choosing

  • How far away is the destination country from your home country 

  • Does the hospital provide translator services (in case you need it)  

  • Can you get accustomed to the local cuisine


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Denture Treatment?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Less time and money are involved: Dentures are easily affordable and available for almost every age group. Also, the treatment process that is the setting up of dentures does not take much time.

  • Normal appearance and usage or teeth: With the application of dentures, you can resume your normal speaking and eating habits Also, dentures give you a better smile by acting as a substitute to the missing teeth.

  • Support to weak muscles: Dentures are generally recommended in old age as a way to support the weakening jaw and mouth muscles. This also provides the benefit of a definite structure to the mouth.

  • Adjustment period: Denture fitting procedure is followed by a temporary adjustment period during which a person gets used to these. In this period, a person has a lot of difficulty in eating or speaking. However, this is temporary and disappears in some time.

  • Periodic replacement: Our mouth keeps changing both in shape and jaw alignment. With these transformations, one has to get new dentures each time there is a slight change, so that they fit properly into the jaw. This is burdensome but still cheaper than other treatments.

  • Reduced ability to taste food: Full dentures can sometimes decrease someone’s ability to taste the food. This change is usually slight and is barely encountered in most of the cases.

  • Allergic reaction: Sometimes, dentures can cause allergies and irritation to the natural gums and teeth. This irritation can breed serious infection. To deal with this, dental patients can get antibiotics on a dentist’s prescription.


Who Should Avoid Undergoing A Denture Treatment?

Certain people are not a good fit for dentures, due to factors such as oral health, bone structure, and age. Hence the following people are best to avoid dentures: 

  • Individuals with irregular bone formations should best avoid dentures. These irregularities make retention of dentures very difficult. 

  • Individuals who can have an allergic reaction to the materials used in dentures should also avoid them. These materials include certain metals, plastic and acrylic. 

  • Individuals who are prone to tooth decay and have a history of bad oral health have higher chances of developing infections after denture treatment.


What Are The Alternatives To A Denture Treatment?

Apart from denture treatment, other remedies are also available for a patient. 

Dental Bridges

A fixed bridge is another non surgical treatment which involves the use of artificial teeth to bridge the gap caused by falling teeth. A prosthetic tooth (or teeth) can be suspended between adjacent healthy teeth in order to provide a functional and cosmetic replacement for the missing tooth. However, this procedure involves the adjacent teeth to be irreversibly cut down in size, which makes them susceptible to nerve damage.

Implants

More permanent solutions involve dental implants and implant-supported dental bridges. Here, titanium screws implanted into the jaw act as artificial tooth roots, providing optimum long-term strength and stability for false teeth.


Does Denture Treatment Lead To Scarring?

It is normal for there to be a "settling" process as the swelling goes down over time. This results in pressure sores in areas where the denture is rubbing excessively.  Your dentist will make periodic adjustments to the denture to make it more comfortable, and the whole cycle repeats. This process will eventually resolve as the extraction sites heal, and the denture will become comfortable and stable.

Besides bruising (in case of extractions in those aged 50 and above; resolves in 7-10 days) there are otherwise no scars due to this procedure, unless (very rarely) there is repeated trauma to the gums by recurring dislodgement and/or improper fitting of dentures, which would cause the formation of scar tissue.


What Are the Temporary Side-effects Of Denture Treatment? 

Dentures take a while to get used to. During your process of adjustment, you might experience the following complications:
 
Slipping of Dentures 
Solution: Bite on your denture, then swallow. They will get back in place.

Loosening of Dentures
Solution: Use adhesive, prescribed by the doctor, to hold the false teeth in place.

Irritation caused by Dentures
Solution: Gargle with salty water or take a pain reliever.

Trouble Talking 
Solution: Speak slowly and practice speaking words that cause a clicking between the dentures and teeth.

Difficulty Eating 
Solution: Eat only soft foods and chew as less as you can for a few weeks after the treatment. 

Change in Saliva Production 
Solution: The best you can do it to wait for the feeling to subside, since it is part of the adjustment process. In case it gets overpowering, consider talking to your doctors about changing your medication. 

Nausea
Solution: Usually, an antiemetic is prescribed for controlling this. As a home remedy, slow sips of ginger ale, 7up or apple juice often helps in overcoming it.

All these are part of the adjustment process to changes in your mouth and these risks need to be tolerated until your tongue, teeth, gums and saliva get accustomed to the presence of the false teeth. 


How To Choose A Surgeon For A Denture Treatment?

Before choosing your surgeon, make sure his/her qualifications are credible and that he/she has undergone sufficient training. Also, make sure that the hospital is accredited. An accredited hospital employees the best staff and indicates the provision of a high quality of treatment. 

In addition, you can ask the doctor certain questions that will help you understand the procedure and also reflect the know-how of the doctor. These include:

  • How do I prepare for the treatment?  

  • What materials are the dentures made of? Which type is the best for me?  

  • How long will dentures last?

  • What is the best way to care for dentures?

It is also crucial to be wary of complications that could possibly result from the treatments. These can be avoided if the surgery is performed with expertise and care. Some of them are:  

  • Gingival hyperplasia

  • Denture stomatitis

  • Periodic irritation 

  • Oral sores

  • Loss of denture retention

  • Fracture of the denture and functional impairment

  • Chewing difficulties having a negative impact on the nutritional status

While these risks are not very common, a good doctor will be able to make amendments for the same.

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