What are dentures?
At some point in your life you may need to get dentures. Dentures are replacement teeth that can be removed in and out of your mouth. You may have experienced gum disease, tooth decay or an injury that forced the removal of all or part of your teeth. Dentures can be made to resemble natural teeth and hardly change your smile.
There are two main types of dentures, complete and partial. Complete dentures are for individuals who have had all of their teeth removed for one reason or another. Partial dentures are replacement teeth that are connected to a gum-colored base to match your natural gums. Partial dentures are only used when you have one or more natural teeth in either your upper or lower jaw.
Depending on the kind of denture you and your dentist decide is best, the process may be slightly different.
For Complete Dentures
Step 1: Preparing the Area
If you need to have dentures for your upper, lower or both rows of teeth, the dentist will first need to remove all of the damaged teeth.
Step 2: Wait for Gums to Heal or Receive Immediate Dentures
After the teeth have been pulled you will have an option to wait for your gums to heal or you can receive immediate dentures.
Immediate dentures are fitted prior to tooth extraction. They offer you the ability to not have any missing teeth, but as your mouth heals from the tooth removal, the denture will need to be adjusted again after a few months to fit over your healed gums.
Wait for Gums to Heal
If you decide to wait for your gums to heal, the procedure looks like this:
- Your dentist will make several jaw impressions to make sure the denture(s) fit properly.
- Your dentist will then make “test” dentures for you to try and the dentist will mark any adjustments needed, including fit, shape and color. This process continues until the denture looks and fits exactly how it should.
- The final denture will be made from the information provided by the “test” denture.
For Partial Dentures
If you have some healthy teeth that can stay in your mouth, partial dentures will most likely be offered by your dentist. As we described above, partial dentures are replacement teeth that sit on a base that match your natural gum color.
The procedure for getting a partial denture entails similar measuring and testing to what you see with complete dentures. With partial dentures though, the base of the dentures covers a metal frame which is used to hook onto one of your natural teeth to keep it in place. If your dentist sees it necessary, they may put a crown over the tooth that will be supporting the partial denture to help the denture fit better.
It is important to remember that there is no alternative to your natural teeth, but in cases where your natural teeth are no longer able to function correctly, dentures are a viable option. Your dentist will be able to offer you anesthesia if you need any teeth pulled, your gums may be soar after the visit but will get better as they heal.