While dental implants have become the gold standard for tooth restoration, 90% of people with missing teeth still wear some form of denture. Dentures are custom-made artificial teeth that can replace a few or all of your missing teeth.
Replacing missing teeth is important to the restoration of good oral health, and it’s a more pressing problem than you think — studies show that around 178 million Americans are missing at least one natural tooth, and some 40 million have lost all their teeth.
The common perception of dentures is the clunkers your grandmother put in a cup beside her bed each night. But technology has vastly improved over time. Today’s dentures are more comfortable than anything available in your grandmother’s lifetime, and they’re also 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 despite technological advances, getting accustomed to your dentures can be a bit of a rocky road, so we’re taking this opportunity to give you five tips to help you out.
Dentures come in a number of different types:
Immediate dentures may be either partial or full-arch dentures you get right after a tooth extraction. Since the area will likely be sore from the extraction, it may take a few days for the denture to feel comfortable.
Overdentures are full-arch dentures that fit over any remaining natural teeth and bridge the gaps between them. They don’t require extraction of all remaining teeth, and they provide a cosmetically appealing and functional set of teeth. Since you retain some of your natural teeth, they aren’t too difficult to get used to.
Partial dentures work in either the upper or lower jaw or both, and they’re a good option if you have several missing teeth. Artificial teeth made from durable porcelain and shaded to blend with surrounding teeth are fused to an acrylic or metal frame. Small metal clasps anchor the plate to your remaining natural teeth, stabilizing the appliance in your mouth.
Unless the partial is secured permanently to a dental implant, you remove it to clean the plate and your teeth every night. Most people have no difficulty adjusting to this option.
Full dentures replace all the teeth in both the upper and lower arches. You may have lost the teeth over time, or the dentist may have needed to extract them due to decay or infection. The replacement teeth are crafted from porcelain or acrylic resin and shaped and sized to fit your mouth and facial structure. The artificial teeth are secured to an acrylic base colored like your natural gum tissue.
While full dentures are custom-made for your mouth, they’re rarely going to act and feel like your natural teeth right off the bat. Here are five tips for you to ease the transition.
It’s common to experience minor gum irritation, mouth soreness, and/or increased saliva production for a week or two. Start by wearing the dentures for an hour or two and increase the time each succeeding day by a half hour or so. The more you keep them in, the more comfortable they’ll feel.
Learning to chew with your new teeth can be challenging, as your mouth will feel “full” with the appliances at first. Start with smoothies, yogurt, and pudding for a couple of days to get used to eating with them.
Once soft foods feel comfortable, add firmer foods in bite-sized pieces, and practice chewing on both sides of your mouth. Experiment with different positions for the food to determine how much you can chew at a time and which teeth are best for different foods.
Your teeth are incredibly important for producing sounds and words, but speaking clearly with dentures can be a bit difficult initially. Start by chatting or reading out loud to yourself to see where your tongue needs to go. Once you have a sense of it, get a friend or a family member you trust and practice talking with them.
Your new dentures might be a bit uncomfortable at the beginning, but they should never hurt. If you feel pain, contact our office, and we’ll gladly adjust them.
Need to get dentures and want more tips? 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.