Our teeth play such a significant role in our lives. Every time we smile, talk or eat, we use our mouths and teeth. They help us look our best and enjoy our favorite foods.
If you have missing teeth either due to disease or injury, dentures can be a great teeth replacement option. A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. A complete denture is used to replace a full set of teeth, while a partial denture is used when some natural teeth remain. Regardless of the type of denture, they are always individually made to fit your month and cosmetically resemble your existing teeth.
Complete Dentures (Full Dentures)
Complete dentures (also known as full dentures) are used to replace full sets of teeth. They are made from a combination of metal and acrylic. Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate”.
A conventional denture is ready to be placed in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth are removed. Immediate dentures are made in advance and can be used right after the teeth are removed. While the wearer does not need to wait for immediate dentures, they require more adjustments to fit as bones and gums shrink over time especially during the healing period following tooth removal.
There are two parts of a complete denture:
- Artificial teeth: These work similarly to regular teeth, allowing you to chew and bite food as you would before tooth extraction. They also restore the appearance of natural teeth.
- Denture base: This part of the denture acts as a foundation for the artificial teeth and also restores the defective soft and hard tissues.
Unlike complete dentures, partial dentures only replace one or several missing teeth. The remaining natural teeth, as long as they are suitably strong and in good shape, are used as a base for the partial denture.
Partial dentures consist of a number of artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored acrylic/metal base, connected with a metal framework.
How long will it take before I get my new dentures?
Conventional dentures are custom-made and are typically fit between three and six months after the teeth are pulled. The waiting time allows for the gum tissue and bone ample time to heal and settle. During the waiting period, your dentist will provide you with temporary immediate dentures.
Immediate dentures are made in advance and can be put in place quickly after the teeth are extracted. Since the jaw bone starts to shrink once the natural teeth are removed, immediate dentures have to be adjusted several times to accommodate the shrinking jaw bone. In some cases, a new denture may be necessary.
How long will it take to get used to dentures?
It’s normal to experience gum pain or discomfort in the first few weeks. Expect some soreness at first especially if you’ve had tooth extracting. The pain and swelling will subside with the healing process. Excessive salivation is also normal in the first couple of weeks. Try eating a piece of candy to help you swallow more naturally.
At first, limit to soft foods like scrambled eggs, pasta, and mashed potatoes. Cut your food into small bites. Chew on both sides of your mouth using the back teeth only.
Over time you will get used to the feeling of the denture in your mouth. It takes about 30 days to get used to wearing dentures and be able to enjoy most of your favorite activities confidently.
How do I care for my new dentures?
- Remove them after eating and carefully rinse them with water. Place a towel on the sink so the dentures won’t break if you drop them.
- Use a soft toothbrush to clean your mouth after you have taken out your dentures. If used, remove any remaining denture adhesive.
- Brush your dentures at least daily to keep them free of plaque and other food deposits.
- Soak your dentures overnight in a mild denture cleaning solution. This helps them retain moisture and keep their shape.
- Before putting your dentures back in your mouth in the morning, give the dentures a good clean and a rinse. This helps remove any harmful chemicals from denture-soaking solutions.
- Get regular checkups.
- Avoid abrasive cleaning materials, stiff-bristled brushes, whitening toothpaste, bleach-containing products, and hot water.
Will dentures change how I speak?
With the needed time for adjustment and some practice, you will be able to speak clearly with dentures. Your voice may sound odd to you in the beginning due to changes to how the sound reaches your ears. This is much more noticeable to you than to anyone else.
If your dentures “click” when speaking, trying to speak more slowly to avoid moving your lower denture. Over time, you will learn to keep your lower denture still while speaking by using the muscles of your lips, cheeks, and tongue. Using a dental adhesive can help secure your dentures and make it easier to speak clearly.
Bite and swallow before speaking will help place your dentures in the correct speaking position.
Practice makes perfect: Spend some time practicing speaking before social situations by reading aloud, speaking to yourself, and talking to a loved one.
What other tooth replacements should I consider?
Implants and bridges are two other tooth replacement options. The best option depends on your individual situation and needs.
At Dental Innovations of Virginia, we use the latest techniques including advanced digital technology to routinely help our patients restore their smiles with full/partial dentures, implants, and bridges. We will happily explain the details of the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
Unlike most dentists, our Dr. Y. Joon Coe is certified in three different specialty areas: prosthodontics, endodontics, and operative dentistry. Prosthodontists are recognized specialists who are highly trained in cosmetics, dental implants, bridges, dentures, and more.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Dentures?
Dentures are oftentimes covered partially by your insurance with frequency or other clinical criteria limitations. Please discuss your dental insurance policy with our office to receive personalized advice. We will work with you to get the most benefit from your insurance.
For your out-of-pocket expense, our office also offers financing options.
See our Understand Dental Insurance article for more tips on how to get the most out of your dental insurance coverage.
Dental Innovations of Virginia provides advanced general dentistry & prosthodontics, comprehensive dental services, and preventive dentistry for the whole family. In addition to our Lansdowne office serving the Leesburg, Lansdowne, Ashburn, Loudoun County areas, we also come to you via our DIVA Mobile Clinic service for patients living in long-term care facilities and our DIVA Home Visit service for patients who prefer to receive treatments in the comfort of their own home.