Learning to Live with Dentures

Learning to Live with Dentures
Dr. Igor Khabensky Dentist Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn dentist Igor Khabensky is a compassionate and dedicated general and cosmetic dentist serving the Brooklyn community. Dr. Khabensky received his dental degree after attending New York University and completed his residency in general dentistry at Woodhull Medical Center. He is highly experienced and competent in... more

Dentures are a popular way to replace missing teeth, allowing users to enjoy eating and speaking comfortably and confidently with others. This method of tooth replacement is tried and tested and is very cost-effective. Dentures also appeal to anybody who is looking for a non-invasive method of tooth replacement.

What are dentures?

A denture can be complete or full, replacing an entire arch of teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Full dentures are made from acrylic that is gum-colored and which supports the denture teeth. A complete denture rests entirely on the gums.

Partial dentures are smaller and are designed only to replace one or more teeth in the same arch. Usually, partial dentures are strengthened with a special type of metal alloy called cobalt chrome, which is lightweight and durable. A partial denture also supports the teeth using a gum-colored acrylic base that is laid over the top of the cobalt chrome metal substructure. Partial dentures are held in place by clasps that fit around existing teeth, or by precision attachments.

A precision attachment is a special fitting on a denture, which will slide into a corresponding fitting in a dental crown that has been placed over a tooth. Clasps and precision attachments ensure a partial denture is held firmly in position. Just like a full denture, a partial denture still rests on the gums, but it does gain a little more stability from clasps or precision attachments.

Can I get my dentures immediately after my teeth are removed?

Not surprisingly, being left without teeth is a significant concern for anyone facing imminent tooth loss. The good news is that a denture can be fitted soon after your natural teeth are removed. However, this type of denture is also known as immediate dentures and is made before your appointment for tooth extraction using detailed impressions and measurements of your mouth. The purpose of an immediate denture is to ensure you can eat, speak and smile comfortably while your gums heal and recover.

It can take several months for your gums and your jawbone to heal entirely after tooth loss, and during this time their shape and appearance will gradually remodel. Without your natural tooth roots to help your jawbone maintain its shape, the jawbone and the gum tissue covering it shrinks gradually. The shrinkage is a primary reason why these immediate dentures are often temporary, and you may need to have the fitting surface of these dentures relined and adjusted as your gums continue to heal. Once the healing process is completed, your proper or more permanent dentures are made.

Will I still look like me after I have dentures?

We have all seen or known people who have lost all their teeth and whose appearance has changed substantially. Without the support of teeth, the muscles in the cheeks and lips can collapse inward, creating fine wrinkles and folds as the facial muscles sag. A lack of support can easily make a person look much older than they are, and without teeth, it’s much harder to eat and speak properly. Dentures that are worn or ill-designed can have a similar effect.

A well-designed set of affordable dentures will make sure this doesn’t happen to you. It’s possible for your dentist to make you dentures that accurately replicate the shape and size of your natural teeth and gums. This ensures your facial muscles have the correct amount of support, maintaining your facial contours. You could even find your appearance improves and especially when restoring teeth that are broken down and decayed.

These days, there is a terrific range of denture teeth available, and an experienced denture dentist can help you choose the correct size, shape, and shade of teeth to complement your facial features, age, gender, and even your personality.

Can I eat properly with dentures?

Initially, it will take a bit of practice to get used to eating with dentures so make sure you have a variety of softer, easy-to-chew and tasty foods for the first few days. You’ll find your dentist can advise you on the best foods to choose and which generally include things like mashed potato, mac and cheese, and soups. Start by cutting your food into small pieces and when you chew, make sure you chew on both sides of your mouth because this will help to keep the denture more stable. As your dentures begin to feel more familiar, you can start introducing other foods.

What about speaking with dentures?

Speech is another area where you need to be a bit patient. Practice reading out loud and repeat words that you’re finding tricky until they become easy to say. It’s perfectly normal to find that your dentures will occasionally slip out of place if you cough, laugh or smile. To get them back into place, use your tongue to re-position them and gently bite down and swallow. However, if you find your dentures are slipping out of position quite frequently, get in touch with your dentist who may be able to adjust them to fit more securely.

Caring for your dentures

Your dentures must be thoroughly cleaned each day to keep them fresh and hygienic. Once out of the mouth, dentures can easily break if dropped, so clean them over a towel or a bowl of water. First, gently brush the denture using a denture brush and non-abrasive denture cleaner. You can use dish soap but do not use toothpaste because it’s too abrasive. Make sure you clean all surfaces thoroughly before soaking your dentures in a denture cleaning solution.

This will help to remove stubborn stains and any plaque that remains, disinfecting your dentures, so they feel fresh when you insert them the next morning. It is essential to leave your dentures out overnight because it gives your gums a chance to recover.

Also, make sure you still care for your mouth and brush your gums, the roof of your mouth and your tongue with a soft brush each morning and evening to remove plaque buildup. Brushing also helps to improve circulation. Finally, don’t forget to see your dentist regularly for checkups. Even if you are missing all your teeth, your dentist needs to check the fit of your denture and the health of your gums.