Is it Time to Consider Dentures?
There was a time, and not too long ago, when it was almost expected that one would lose their teeth and end up with dentures.
A general mindset was that it was not worth fixing teeth because one would end up losing their teeth anyway, so “let’s just take them out now and be done with it”.
We have heard stories from patients, either personally or told by their children, that teeth were removed in their late teens and dentures were worn during all the adult years.
When Dentures Are the Best Option
Today, we strive to save teeth and avoid this option, but there are still instances when it’s best to remove teeth and either make partials where some of the teeth can be saved, or full dentures when all the teeth are missing.
Fortunately, we don’t live in the days of George Washington when they were made from wood and ivory teeth, with springs to help hold them together. No wonder he never smiled! With modern materials and techniques, dentures look very natural, much better than the teeth that were removed.
When teeth are removed, the mouth continues to change but dentures don’t. They should be relined or refitted periodically to maintain function and fit.
Dentures don’t last forever. It is recommended to replace them every 5 to 8 years due to wear and changes in the mouth. If you wear dentures you should still visit your dentist regularly to insure they are fitting properly, have them professionally cleaned, and have an oral cancer screening.
If you currently have dentures or partials and have concerns about them, or if you feel the time has come to remove remaining teeth and get them, our dentists here at Shumway Dental Care would be pleased to discuss options with you.
Dental Implants - a Great Alternative
Dental implants have really changed the dental world in that by placing a few implants, a denture can either snap on and off the implants, or literally be screwed into the implants, thus vastly improving chewing ability and overall comfort.
The adjustment of going from natural teeth to dentures can be difficult. If you are reluctant to go this route, you may be interested in dental implants instead. They are more costly, but many patients find that they are worth it.
Learn more about dental implants.
Do You Need Them?
Two types are available -- complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. Both are removable.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it's time to come in and discuss your options.
- Do you get severe toothaches? This may mean that tooth decay is far advanced and we may not be able to save the tooth.
- Are your gums inflamed - are you experiencing redness, tenderness, bleeding or swelling?
- Do you have shifting or loose teeth? This typically indicates bone loss.
- Do you have difficulty eating hard or chewy foods?
- Are you already missing a lot of teeth?
After a full exam and consultion regarding the condition of your teeth and your options, you may decide on full dentures.
We'll make a plan for you at that point.
- First we'll make an impression of your remaining teeth and evaluate your mouth for shape, color and bite.
- Then your remaining teeth will be extracted and your gum tissue given time to heal, which typically takes between 3 and 6 months.
Instead of pulling them all at once, we may decide to do it in stages. This will make it easier for you, and if you have molars that need to be extracted we'll do them first, so the temporary dentures will have a healed place to rest and be more comfortable.
- After all your teeth have been extracted, the immediate (temporary) dentures can be placed. A soft liner is placed inside them to cushion and prevent discomfort as healing occurs. You will need time to get used to the immediate dentures and often they need to be periodically adjusted.
- Once your gums have fully healed, the permanent dentures will be made and fitted to your mouth. Adjustments will be made as needed.
Partial dentures replace multiple missing teeth that are surrounded by healthy natural teeth. Metal clasps or precision attachments, which are more natural looking, are used to attach them to your natural teeth. The will still be removable.
The process is the same as that for full dentures.