Tooth loss can occur at any age. If you’ve lost teeth, dentures can be the solution to preserving your oral health and appearance. However, you may have trouble finding a dentist in our community who can help you. Modern improvements have made dentures more comfortable and appealing, yet many dental offices haven’t kept up with the changes. While new scientific advances are welcome, Dr. Josie Dovidio recognizes that our patients also need competent denture care.
Dentures – artificial teeth that replace all or some of your natural teeth – come in full (or complete) and partial sets. Complete dentures replace all the teeth and rest on your gums. Partial dentures are intended to replace some of the teeth where natural teeth remain on either side of the open space. They are secured to the remaining teeth with metal clasps and are made of plastic, with metal as the underlying base. In both cases, they look and feel similar to your own teeth.
The Need for Dentures
Gum disease, injury, extensive cavities, or malnutrition can damage your teeth to the point where extracting some or all of them is necessary.
The loss of your teeth can be devastating to your quality of life and your oral health. Not replacing them can lead to further loss of jawbone, causing your jaw to recede, as well as difficulties in eating and speaking. If too much bone is lost, dental implants are impossible without undergoing additional invasive (and expensive) treatments.
Dentures are an option that allows you to regain a healthy smile along with your ability to chew and speak clearly. Call Dr. Dovidio for a consultation if you would like to explore the possibility of having the best dentures for your needs custom made for you.
Pros and Cons of Dentures
As noted above, replacing your lost teeth provides a significant benefit to you. Dentures can be made to match your facial structure and desired tooth color; if so desired, they can be cosmetically improved as well. If your jawbone has receded due to tooth loss, dentures can help support your lips and cheeks, giving them a fuller, more natural look. While Dr. Dovidio will consult with you regarding insurance coverage and payment options, you may also find that dentures fit your financial requirements as well as your dental needs.
Using and caring for dentures can be a challenge, especially at first. Wearing them can be uncomfortable until you become accustomed to how they feel and move. Chewing food can be problematic, especially as lower plates tend to be more mobile than uppers; hard, chewy, or sticky foods may present a special challenge. Cleaning them requires keeping a daily routine, as lack of regular cleaning can result in unpleasant dental odors. Also, you may find you need to replace your dentures every five to ten years, as dentures can wear out, break, or become stained and discolored.
Caring for Dentures
Because dentures are made of resin or plastic, you cannot brush them with a regular toothbrush or toothpaste, as this will scratch and damage them. Instead, clean your dentures every day with a special denture brush (or a very soft toothbrush). Rinse them after every meal to remove any loose debris.
You should never wear a set for more than 24 hours continuously without cleaning them. When not wearing them (or before going to bed), place them in cold water to soak so that they can stay moist and retain their shape.
If your dentures are stained, you can use any of a variety of denture cleaners sold over-the-counter. Stubborn stains may require a visit to our office so that we can clean and polish your dentures with an ultrasonic cleaner.
If your dentures crack or break, do not attempt to fix them yourself. Dentures should be repaired professionally to make sure they fit properly and to avoid causing problems with chewing or sore spots. Also, Dr. Dovidio will want to check your dentures and adjust them after they are repaired to make certain they still fit properly. Dentures that fit poorly can inflame the surrounding gum tissue. Food can also get trapped between ill-fitting dentures and your gums, which can potentially cause fungal infections.
Also, check your teeth and gums when you remove your dentures to clean or soak them. If your gums are red and swollen, let them heal before you put the dentures back in. If you see white patches on the insides of your cheeks, this could mean that the dentures aren’t fitting well. If these don’t go away in a few days, see Dr. Dovidio.
Consult with Dr. Dovidio
If you have suffered partial or complete tooth loss, you may wonder whether dentures would be an appropriate choice for you. Call us and talk to Dr. Dovidio about your options. We will give you the information you need and prepare you for the benefits that having dentures will provide.