Whether you have naturally lost your teeth at an old age or due to an unfortunate accident, you do not have to live the rest of your life without teeth. Scheduling an appointment with a dentist is an excellent place to start if you have missing teeth to know the available remedies for your issue.

By wearing custom-made dentures, you can improve your smile appearance and restore the benefits of having teeth in your mouth, including chewing. Many years ago, dentures were stereotyped as uncomfortable and the last option for missing teeth issues. However, today's dental dentures are quite different and improved than traditional dentures, courtesy of modern technology.

Do not let missing teeth affect your ability to chew food and smile in front of a crowd. At The Whittier Dentist, we take pride in the experience and skills our friendly and courteous dentists have in all fields of cosmetic dentistry, including denture placement for people with missing teeth. This article will enlighten you on everything you need to know about dentures.

A Brief Definition of What Dentures are in the World of Cosmetic Dentistry

A denture is typically removable and artificial teeth that a dentist designs to fit comfortably in your mouth to replace missing or removed teeth. Unlike traditional dentures, which were porcelain or plastic-made, modern dentures are resin-made, meaning they are lightweight and comfortable to the wearer.

Although dentures are often associated with older people, any person could wear dentures if they have missing or removed teeth. A person could lose his/her teeth due to:

  • Erosion caused by conditions like GERD (gastrointestinal reflux)
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Tooth Decay
  • Genetic disorders
  • Injury or trauma

Apart from improving your smile appearance, dentures also come with the following benefits:

  • Improves your chewing ability for proper nutrition that you need to stay healthy
  • Improves your pronunciation and speech
  • Provides the necessary support to your facial tissue, giving you a more youthful appearance
  • Prevents further damages to the existing healthy teeth, which overcompensate for lost teeth
  • Boosts your self-esteem

How to Know If You are an Ideal Candidate for Dentures

Generally, the process of placing and fitting dentures in your mouth is a pain-free and non-invasive cosmetic procedure that takes one dental visit. Because of this, it is an ideal option for any person who is unwilling to go through an extensive dental procedure like one you would go through during the placement of dental implants.

Typically, you would make an ideal candidate for dentures if you have eroded teeth or jaw line, which makes it challenging to do a dental bridge or crown to restore your smile appearance. Elderly or aged people who cannot comfortably sit still on a dentist's chair would also make excellent candidates for dentures because this procedure does not take much of your time.

If you have removed or missing teeth, you should speak with a dentist to know which cosmetic dentistry procedure is ideal for your unique issue. However, generally speaking, you would make an excellent candidate for dentures if you have missing or removed teeth, regardless of your age.

Denture Options that You Ought to Know

Nowadays, you do not have to deal with just one option or choice for anything you need for a comfortable life, including dentures. Once you visit your dentist's clinic, he/she will examine your unique dental and gum issue to determine which denture option will best suit your smile.

Depending on your unique dental issue, preferences, and budget, any of the following types of dentures could work out to your advantage to give you the appealing smile that you deserve:

Partial Dentures

If you have one or more teeth left in the lower or upper jaw, your dentist will likely recommend partial dentures to restore or improve your smile appearance. Partial dentures are also suitable if your remaining natural teeth are not strong enough to support dental structures or prosthetics like bridges and crowns.

Typically, partial dentures consist of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored or pink plastic base. Often this plastic base is connected to a metal framework that holds the dentures in place in your mouth to support the artificial "fake" teeth needed to replace the missing ones.

Partial dentures are beneficial if you want to maintain top-notch dental health because they protect your remaining natural teeth to prevent them from shifting their ideal position in the mouth. Since these dentures do not bond with your mouth permanently, you can remove them any time you want, especially if you're going to sleep or perhaps you want to clean them.

One exceptional advantage of wearing partial dentures as a teeth replacement option is that they feel and look like your natural teeth, meaning a person cannot even notice that you are wearing artificial teeth.

Complete Dentures

When most people picture or think about dentures, they most likely think about complete dentures. Also known as full dentures, complete dentures are suitable teeth replacement solutions for people who have lost their natural teeth in the upper and lower jaw.

Typically, complete dentures rely on suction or oral adhesive to stay in place in your mouth, allowing you to chew and talk comfortably. Before placing complete dentures on your mouth, the dentist must first remove the remaining damaged teeth.

Below are two types of complete dentures a cosmetic dentist can create to solve your missing teeth problem for an eye-catching smile that you deserve:

     1. Immediate Dentures

As the name suggests, your dentist will create and place immediate dentures in your mouth soon after removing the remaining teeth. During your first dental appointment, your dentist will take your mouth measurements and models of your teeth and jaw to customize your immediate dentures.

One distinct advantage of these dentures is that you do not have to stay without teeth during the healing period after removing the remaining teeth, which can take about six months. In addition, immediate dentures can also protect the extraction site and reduce excessive bleeding after extraction.

The only drawback with this complete dentures option is that they will require realignment and adjustment during the healing process when gums and bones shrink over time due to the reduced swelling.

     2. Conventional Dentures

Unlike immediate dentures, your dentist will place conventional dentures in your mouth once your gum and jaw tissues are strong again after tooth extraction. In most situations, conventional dentures are ready to use within eight to twelve weeks after extraction or removal of the remaining teeth.

Although this complete dentures option is a reliable teeth replacement solution, most patients are unwilling to stay without teeth, even for a week, leave alone months.

Like partial dentures, complete dentures are also removable, making it possible to clean them any time you want to maintain top-notch oral health.

What to Expect During the Placement of Dentures in Your Mouth

During your first consultation with your dentist, he/she will conduct a physical examination of your mouth and take a few x-ray pictures to see the inside of your mouth from different angles. While seated on your dentist's chair, he/she will advise you on additional procedures to anticipate before you begin wearing your dentures, for example, extraction of the damaged remaining teeth.

If your dentist decides wearing dentures will be the best solution for your missing teeth issue, he/she will take an impression of your mouth's soft and hard tissues using trays. Once this impression hardens, he/she will create a cast which is typically a unique replica of your mouth.

Then he/she will use this cast to mold and customize your dentures for the appealing smile you deserve. Due to the advancement of technology, modern-day dentures are comfortable and natural-looking that someone cannot even notice that you are wearing them.

Specifically, the color of these dentures will match the existing teeth' color, if any, to give you the eye-catching smile you deserve.

How To Care for Your Dentures

Once you receive your custom-made dentures, you should take care of them as you would your natural teeth to increase their durability and protect your oral health. Below are tips on how to care for your dentures:

Handle Your Dentures With Care

Just like you would not throw away your prosthetic limb or eyeglasses on the floor after use, you should store your dentures in a clean and safe place when they are not in use. Since the gum-like base of your dentures can crack when it falls on the ground, you should handle it with care. To avoid dropping them on the floor, stand over a sink full of water or a folded towel when handling them.

When they are not in use, you should keep them in a safe and clean place. Your dentist can provide you with special denture-soaking trays to keep your dentures when they are not in use, or he/she can recommend a specialist or shop where you can buy them.

Denture cleaning solutions are also available in either tablet or liquid form to help you remove any stains in your dentures. A reliable dentist will recommend the right product for caring for your dentures.

Brush and Rinse Your Dentures Daily

Like your natural teeth, you should brush and rinse your dentures at least twice a day to remove stuck food particles and any plaque build-up. Thorough brushing and cleaning of your dentures are also critical because it helps remove permanent stains, if any.

When brushing your dentures, you should avoid using a hard-bristled toothbrush because it can make them wear out within no time. Because regular toothpaste and mouthwash are typically for cleaning natural teeth, you cannot use them to brush and clean your dentures because they contain abrasive chemicals that can damage them.

Your dentist will recommend a suitable washing liquid and soft denture brush you can use to brush and clean your dentures.

Avoid Hard Foods

Like natural teeth, you should avoid problematic or hard foods that crack or break your dentures. For instance, you should avoid chewing hard candy, corn,  or ice because your dentures could break or chip. If the crack travels down to the base plate, your dentures will break in half.

If you detect a chip or a crack on your dentures, you should visit your dentist as soon as you can for repair and maintenance. Typically, your dentures can last for several years when you observe proper care and oral hygiene habits. Other types of foods to avoid or limit include:

  • Staining foods or drinks like coffee and red wine
  • Crunchy and sticky foods like chews, caramels seeds, nuts, or popcorn because these foods can stick between your gums and dentures, leading to plaque build-up and eventually a gum disease

Finally, even after receiving your dentures, you should continue with your regular dental exams and check-ups to catch emerging oral health issues before they become problematic.

Common Myths About Dentures that You Ought to Know

When it comes to myths, dentures have undoubtedly spawned a great collection. Unfortunately, these myths and misconceptions have prevented several people from achieving their best appearance, oral health, and confidence. Below are some of the common myths about dentures that you ought to know:

Dentures Last Forever

Although it is true dentures are durable, they do not last forever. As mentioned above, when you drop them on the ground, the denture base or the attached artificial teeth can break or fracture. Typically, dentures can wear out with time, even with cautious and conscientious care due to brushing, chewing, and age.

When they do, your dentist can mold another denture for you as soon as possible to ensure you do not have to stay without teeth even for a day.

Once You Begin Wearing Dentures, You Do Have to See Your Dentist Anymore

Most people have probably heard about this misconception, which is wrong for many important reasons. Since your mouth is continually changing, you should visit your dentist regularly for routine check-ups and oral exams. That way, your dentist can detect emerging or potential oral health issues that require immediate treatment before they become problematic, like gingivitis or oral cancer.

Like your natural teeth, dentures need attention too. Here are indicators that your dentures require a dentist's attention:

  • Color change due to reaction to mouth fluids and age
  • Looseness resulting from tissue growth or changes
  • Calculus deposits and stains resulting from staining foods and mouth fluids
  • Foul smell or bad odor from your mouth caused by plaque build-up

Denture Wearers Cannot Speak or Chew Properly

On the contrary, wearing dentures will help you speak and chew properly. Although not all denture wearers can eat any food they wish, many have fewer restrictions on their diet plans. Although it could take some time before you become used to wearing dentures, chewing or speaking will not be a problem once you do.

If you develop eating or speaking problems after receiving your dentures, you should consult with your dentist to check the fit of your dentures. Excellent nutrition is just as essential for mature people as for younger children. Fortunately, properly fitting dentures can encourage you to eat a balanced diet needed for a healthy life.

Dentures are Not Affected by Prescription Medications or Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs

Unlike what most people think, the wearability of dentures can be affected by particular prescription drugs or OTC drugs, especially those that affect the secretion or supply of saliva in the mouth. Therefore, it is wise to inform your dentist of the medications you are currently on or could need in the future for any health issue for appropriate advice on what to do to increase salivation when wearing your dentures.

You Can Do Your Denture Repairs by Yourself

Even if you are an expert at fixing toasters, fridges, or leaky pipes, do not attempt to repair or fix your broken or cracked dentures yourself. Improperly repaired or relined dentures can be very uncomfortable in your mouth, causing increased and unnecessary pressure on your jaw and more loss of your jawbone.

Relining or repairing your dentures by yourself can also irritate your mouth's soft tissues or cause irreparable damage to the dentures, necessitating the need for new dentures. To avoid all these unnecessary issues, you should let your dentist know if your dentures need some repair and maintenance work.

I Will Stay Without Teeth for a While When I Take My Dentures to a Dentist for Repair and Refitting

Due to the advancement of technology in modern dentistry, your dentist can repair and reline your dentures within a few minutes, right in his/her office laboratory. Once you make your dentist aware that you need some denture repairs, he/she can manage to do those repairs within the same day if there are no other patients in line waiting for his/her services.

You Have to Use Oral Adhesives to Make Your Dentures Stable in the Mouth

Because dentures are typically custom-made for your mouth, you will less likely need adhesive to make them fit comfortably in your mouth. Although you can use oral adhesive to keep your dentures stable in an emergency case before you see your dentist, prolonged use can cause sores in the soft tissues of your mouth and bone loss in your jaw.

If your dentures become loose, or perhaps you feel like they are causing discomfort, you should discuss the issue with your dentist without delay for refitting services.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dentures

It is natural for people to ask questions, especially when making decisions about their health and appearance. Below are some of the most common and frequently asked questions about dentures:

     i.  Do I Have to Wear My Dentures 24/7?

Once you obtain your dentures, your cosmetic dentist will give you the necessary instructions on how long you can wear them in a day and when to remove them. Typically, during your first several days after obtaining your dentures, your dentist could require you to wear them all the time, including at night when you are asleep.

Although this can cause some temporary discomfort, it is undoubtedly the fastest way to detect or identify weak areas that require adjustment. After making all the adjustments necessary on your dentures, you should take them off before going to sleep henceforth. Removing your dentures before going to sleep is important because:

  • It helps your gum tissues to rest
  • It allows you to naturally cleanse and clean your gums using your tongue and saliva

      ii.  How Much Should I Expect to Spend on My Dentures?

Typically, total fees you will pay for your dentures will vary, depending on several factors, including:

  • The time required to treat your unique condition
  • The complexity of your unique treatment
  • The location of this dental practice in your mouth

The best and ideal way to determine the amount you are likely to spend on your dentures is by talking to a cosmetic dentist to discuss your needs. If you have dental insurance coverage, you should find a dentist who will accept your plan to avoid unnecessary out-pocket expenses to cover your denture services.

      iii. Are There Other Available Alternatives to Dentures?

Yes, your dentist can use a dental implant to support cemented bridges, doing away with the need for dentures. A dental implant is typically an artificial "tooth root" that your dentist will fix in your jawbone (as long as it is healthy) to hold and support a dental bridge.

Although dental implants are an excellent alternative for dentures, not everyone is an excellent candidate for implants. Sometimes, your dentist can also use dental implants to hold and support your dentures firmly in the mouth. If this option is the ideal solution for your missing or removed teeth, your dentist will let you know during your first visit to his/her clinic.

Find a Cosmetic Dentist Near Me

Regardless of the reason behind your teeth loss, wearing dentures can help you achieve the attractive and catchy smile appearance you deserve. To know whether dentures are an excellent remedy for your missing teeth issue, you should talk to a skilled and reliable dentist.

We invite you to call The Whittier Dentist at 562-632-1223 if you need denture services to improve your smile appearance and restore other benefits of teeth in your mouth.