Everything you need to know about what dentures are and whether they are right for you
What are dentures?
Dentures are prosthetic teeth that are used to replace either all or some of your missing teeth. Dentures that replace all your teeth are called complete dentures. Those that replace some of your teeth are called partial dentures. Removable Dentures, commonly referred to as, Dentures or partials are the ones that can be removed and reinserted for eating, cleaning them and in public. They do not feel like exact copies of your missing teeth, but patients with dentures adapt to them over time—they continue to be a popular choice for cost-conscious teeth replacement, and the technology has improved exponentially in the last few years!
Dentures last an average of 5 to 10 years, and their lifespan is often dependent on how well you take care of them (read on for some of our best tips and tricks to taking care of your dentures!) Our team at Antoine Dental Center will reline or rebase your dentures as needed, both techniques that ensure your dentures fit you properly and increase your oral comfort.
What are the different types of dentures?
There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Which one you need depends on your doctor’s evaluation and whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced. But don’t worry! Our expert team at Antoine Dental Center will walk you through the process of teeth replacement therapy and help you determine which option is best for you.
Full dentures: This type of denture is a method for full-mouth, total teeth replacement. It has an acrylic base that is adapted to fit over your gums, with the upper denture covering the roof of your mouth and the lower denture comfortably accommodating your tongue. And don’t worry! The acrylic base is made to match the color of your gums, which is one of the ways we make teeth replacement as subtle as possible.There are three types of full dentures. Give these a read-over but don’t panic—the team at Antoine Dental Center is here to help you discuss the options and decide which is right for you.
A conventional full denture is a teeth replacement mechanism that is installed after your remaining natural teeth have been removed and your mouth has had time to heal. You will not have teeth during the period of the healing process, which can take several months.
An immediate full denture, by contrast, is installed immediately after the removal of your remaining teeth. This allows you to have replacement teeth right away. However, please be aware that these dentures will require realignment, as tissues and bones can reshape as your mouth heals, causing the original dentures to take on a loose fit. Luckily, the measurements needed for immediate dentures, their initial installment, and their eventual realignment are all services provided at Antoine Dental Center—so you can continue working with our team for the duration of your experience with full dentures.
- An implant-supported full denture uses dental implants to anchor the complete denture, improving and securing the fit. Implant-based dentures offer more than increased comfort—they can also stabilize the dentures and lessen bone loss. While some patients may be good candidates for implant-supported full dentures, this teeth replacement option may not be right for everyone. That’s because implants require that patients have a strong enough bone foundation to support the implants and that they are in good health overall. Come in for a consultation at Antoine Dental Center to learn if you would be a good candidate for implant-supported dentures!
- Partial dentures: Partial dentures are an option if you’re missing just a few teeth and want to replace them; they are a removable alternative to partial teeth replacements like bridges. Partial dentures use metal frameworks that attach to your natural teeth—they are sometimes anchored by crowns, which themselves are placed on your natural teeth.
I’m worried about dentures being uncomfortable. What are patients’ experiences with them?
It’s true that it takes some time to get used to wearing dentures. They aren’t going to feel exactly the same as your natural teeth, and you’ll need to practice eating and speaking with dentures, while your mouth muscles learn to hold your dentures in place. Some patients report temporary excessive saliva production and initial concerns with how dentures fit with their tongue. If there is any persistent irritation or soreness, you can consult our expert team at Antoine Dental Center to determine whether any steps can be taken to help you adjust. We’ll ask you to come in to our Houston office for a check-up regardless, to determine how you’re settling into wearing dentures and whether we can support your progress.
These should be temporary problems, as your mouth adjusts to the experience of teeth replacements. After the first few weeks of wearing dentures (for some patients, it can take a few months), you will adapt to them and they will become more comfortable.
Are dentures right for me?
If you’re missing teeth and feeling self-conscious about your smile, or having trouble eating or speaking, dentures may be the teeth replacement option for you. Dentures will restore the normal functions of your teeth—and restore your smile along with them! Some of the benefits of teeth replacement aren’t as obvious as advantages like improved eating, clear speech, and confident smiles. For example, missing teeth can cause your surrounding facial muscles to sag, pulling inwards. Replacing the missing teeth with solutions like dentures provides the support these muscles need to fill out and return your face to a more youthful appearance.
Also, the team at Antoine Dental Center is pleased to offer a range of denture accommodations aimed at helping your transition to teeth replacement. For example, after you start wearing a new set of dentures, we’ll ask you to come in for a follow-up to check and adjust their fit. Where appropriate, we may recommend the use of certain ADA-approved denture adhesives, to further improve initial denture fit and patient experience.
Some people enjoy the flexibility of dentures, in that they can be removed and refitted as needed. They are also a good choice for our cost-conscious patients.
How do I take care of dentures? What are some best practices?
Dentures are not permanent, but you can help them extend and maintain their lifespan before needing a replacement. Some factors at play, like the fact that the shape of your mouth tends to change over time, are out of your control. But others are within your control, and taking these preventive actions means that you can avoid problems like loose dentures, which can make eating challenging and irritate your gums. Here are some tips to get you started:
Treat them like real teeth! Daily dental hygiene is just as important for dentures as it is for natural teeth. Don’t let food and plaque build up in your dentures! You’ll also want to rinse your dentures before brushing, and use a specialized denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratching or abrading the surface. Don’t use toothpaste on your dentures—it can be too abrasive for dentures, so denture cleanser or even liquid soap is generally more effective.
- Don’t let them dry out! Dentures can get dehydrated—just like us! Whenever you’re not wearing them, they’ll need to be placed in either water or a specialized denture soak. You will need to ensure that you’re not using hot water, as this can interfere with the fit.
- Extra circulation. Before you insert your dentures in the morning, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to rub your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth—this increases circulation in these areas, which helps remove plaque build-up before you insert your dentures.
- Dietary choices. Especially in the weeks after you receive new dentures, it may be best to stick to foods that are easy to chew. You can cut soft-textured food into bite-size pieces, while avoiding foods that are sticky or hard. You will also want to make sure that you’re chewing evenly on both sides of your mouth to equalize the pressure.
- Take care! Dentures are delicate. You want to be careful not to risk breaking them, as dropping them onto a hard surface can cause them to crack. We recommend folding a towel under the dentures when you handle them to ensure that if they slip, they’re landing on a cushy surface.
Don’t forget: check-ups aren’t just for natural teeth! Teeth replacements need regular dental check-ups as well, so our Antoine Dental Center team can check fit and ensure your replacements are as comfortable as possible and taken care of well. Regular check-ups are also important for reasons that aren’t directly related to natural or replaced teeth, including checking your mouth for signs of any oral diseases, including periodontitis and cancer.
What are the next steps?
If you think you may be a good candidate for dentures, call Antoine Dental Center to schedule an appointment today. During your initial consultation, a member of our expert team will guide you through your options for teeth replacement, including dental implants, and discuss any of your questions about dentures in particular.