Dental implants are the hot new thing in tooth restoration, but 90% of people with missing teeth still wear some form of denture. These custom-made artificial teeth can replace a few or all of the natural teeth you’ve lost. That’s important, because according to studies, around 178 million Americans are missing at least one natural tooth, and about 40 million have lost all their teeth. Replacing missing teeth is critical to restoring good oral health.
The common perception of dentures is what your grandma put in a cup beside her bed each night. But denture technology has vastly improved over time. Today’s dentures are more comfortable than what your grandma wore, and they’re more natural-looking, so no one will know they’re replacements.
At Back of the Wasatch Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Reed Lobrot and our staff offer numerous denture options for our patients in Heber City, Utah. We know, though, that adjusting to life with dentures can be a bit of a rocky road, so we’re taking this opportunity to give you some helpful pointers.
What types of dentures are there?
Dentures come in a number of different types:
These can be either a partial or full-arch denture you receive right after a tooth extraction. As the area may be sore from the extraction, it may take a few days for the denture to feel comfortable.
These are full-arch dentures that fit over any remaining natural teeth, covering any gaps and providing a cosmetically appealing and functional set of teeth.
Partial dentures are a good option if you have several missing teeth, and they work in either the upper or lower jaw, or both. Prosthetic teeth made from durable porcelain are fused to an acrylic or metal frame. Small metal clasps extend from the frame and anchor around your remaining natural teeth, stabilizing the appliance in your mouth. The replacement teeth are crafted to blend in with the surrounding teeth in color, size, and shape.
Unless partial dentures are secured permanently to a dental implant, you remove them for cleaning every night. Most people have no problems adjusting to this option.
Full (traditional) dentures
Full dentures replace all the teeth in the upper and lower arches, either because you’ve lost the teeth over time or because the dentist extracted them due to decay or infection. The replacement teeth are crafted from porcelain or acrylic resin to mimic the translucence of natural teeth, and they’re shaped and sized to fit all aspects of your mouth and facial structure. They’re secured to an acrylic base that appears like your natural gum tissue.
It can, however, take a number of weeks to adjust to the feel of full dentures. We have tips for you below to ease the transition.
Adjusting to life with dentures
Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing missing teeth, but if you’re missing a whole arch and need an implant for every missing tooth, it can get quite expensive. Dentures are an easier and less expensive tooth replacement option, but they do require some getting used to before you feel like they’re your teeth.
For the first few days, it’s commonplace to experience minor gum irritation, mouth soreness, and/or increased saliva production. All are completely normal, so keep your dentures in as much as possible to get used to them.
Learning to chew again can be a challenge, as your mouth will feel “full” with the appliances in at first. Start with soft foods like smoothies, yogurt, and pudding, then begin adding firmer foods in bite-sized pieces, and practice chewing on both sides of your mouth. Try different positions for the food so you can figure out how much you can chew at a time and what chewing technique works best.
Speaking clearly with dentures can be another challenge that requires some practice. Unless they’re implant-supported, your new teeth might clack a bit, and your tongue has to get the feel of its new environment. Chat out loud with yourself or read out loud, and start by speaking slowly, discovering where your tongue needs to go to produce each sound. Then get a friend or family member you trust and practice with them.
Though they’ll feel a bit uncomfortable at the beginning, your dentures should never hurt. If you feel pain, contact our office, and we’ll gladly adjust them for you.
If you’ve lost teeth and are looking for reliable but affordable replacement options, dentures may be right for you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lobrot, call Back of the Wasatch Family and Cosmetic Dentistry at 435-654-4500, or book online with us today.