Although they are used less frequently by dentists now than they have been in previous generations, dentures are still an effective treatment if a patient has multiple missing teeth.
Depending on the patient’s individual needs, partial or full dentures can be used. Partial dentures refer to dentures that are created when some of the patient's natural teeth remain. Full dentures refer to dentures that are fabricated when a patient has no natural teeth remaining.
Conventional full dentures: After all the natural teeth are removed from a patient's mouth, this appliance is made. It is not until the mouth and gum tissue have had sufficient time to heal that the denture is placed. Since the healing process can take months, the patient could be without teeth the entire period.
Immediate full dentures: In this application, measurements are taken in advance and the denture is fabricated before the natural teeth are removed. When the appliance is ready, the dentist pulls the natural teeth and the dentures are placed in the mouth. The benefit of this treatment is the patient is not without teeth for an extended period.
The patient will need follow-up visits so the dentist can re-fit the denture if the jawbone has changed shape. This can occur as the mouth heals. Dentures usually need to be tightened as the jaw heals.
A partial is used when some natural teeth remain in the patient’s mouth. A partial denture is similar to a bridge, but is not a permanent fixture in the mouth.
Patients need to be patient as the mouth adjusts to the denture. When the base of the appliance is placed over the gum, patients often complain that the denture is too bulky and there isn't enough room for the tongue. Another normal complaint is that the denture is loose and doesn't fit correctly. Over time, the mouth grows accustomed to the denture and it becomes a natural part of the mouth.
Dentures should be cared for like natural teeth. Remove the denture from the mouth to brush away plaque and food particles. After the denture is brushed, it should be placed in room temperature water or a denture cleaning solution.
Hot water should never be used because it can warp the appliance. Handle a denture with care. It's delicate and patients should never attempt to adjust a denture at home. All adjustments should be done by your dentist.