Dentures and partials are natural looking removable prosthetics that can be taken in and out of the mouth. Their purpose is to replace missing teeth in order to restore a person’s function and aesthetics, and to help maintain the health of the oral tissues and any remaining teeth.
Full Vs. Partial Dentures
Full dentures are used to replace a complete set of teeth. The top denture covers the palate and has a flesh colored base that fits over the gums. The bottom denture also has a flesh colored base and is contoured to allow the tongue to move naturally.
Partial dentures are often used when not all of the teeth are missing. They typically consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal framework.
How Dentures and Partials Are Made
Both partials and dentures are custom made in our lab. Before we begin, we will consult with you about your color and shape options. Then Dr. Schuster and the Stonebridge Ranch Dentistry team will take impressions of your mouth, and the mold will be used to create prosthetics that are the perfect size, shape and fit for your mouth. Most dentures and partials require two or three appointments to complete, and we will discuss the timing during your consultation.
Sometimes extractions are necessary before the denture process can begin, and you can read about that process on our minor oral surgery page.
The Adjustment Phase
It may take several weeks to adjust to your new dentures or partials. You may experience some slight discomfort as the gums adjust, or the dentures may feel loose. This is because the tongue and cheek muscles must get used to holding them in place. Other normal issues during the adjustment phase are excess saliva and feeling that your tongue doesn’t have enough room in your mouth. All of this is normal and expected, and your dentures or partials will feel comfortable to you in no time.
Care and Maintenance
Like natural teeth, dentures and partials should be brushed twice a day to remove food and plaque and prevent stains. Choose a soft bristle brush to prevent damaging or wearing them down, and in between brushings, rinse them after each meal. Prosthetic teeth should never be allowed to dry out, so they should be placed in a cleaning solution or in water when they are not being worn. They are breakable, so be careful when handling them.
You should also brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush every morning before you put your dentures in. This will remove plaque and stimulate circulation in your mouth.
Finally, don’t skip your professional cleanings and check-ups every six months so that we can deep clean your dentures and check for signs of other oral diseases like cancer.
Over time, your dentures will need to be adjusted, rebased, or remade due to normal wear and tear and natural age-related changes to your mouth. Dr. Schuster will check your fit and make recommendations when you come in for your check-ups. Everybody is different, but usually complete dentures will last five to seven years before they need to be replaced. Practicing good oral hygiene and coming in for your routine cleanings and check-ups will help them last as long as possible.