When we have multiple or all of our teeth removed, eating becomes a significant issue. We are compelled to eat only soft food that requires little chewing. But with dentures, most of our teeth functions can be mimicked. Dentures are prosthesis and can replace complete or partial missing teeth.
However, always keep in mind that even the best of dentures can never replace natural teeth. There are different types of dentures as complete, partial, immediate partial, and implant-supported dentures.
What are dentures?
A denture is a prosthesis that is customized for each person to replace their missing teeth. When you have just one or two teeth removed, you may get an implant which is in the mouth.
But for multiple or complete tooth replacement, a removable prosthesis can be given. In old patients or people with poor bone health, implants are contraindicated.
Every denture has two components as the artificial teeth and the acrylic portion that looks like the gums and palate.
Types of Dentures
Depending on the number of teeth replaced, a denture may be complete or partial.
A complete denture is one that replaces all your teeth. It is a single prosthesis that is worn by a completely edentulous patient. Most older adults opt for this if they’re having all their teeth extracted.
A partial denture is one that replaces only a few of your natural teeth. If you have had multiple teeth removed because of decay, tumor, or any other reason, you may have only those teeth replaced.
A partial denture is smaller than a complete denture and has small wires to adapt to the natural teeth. These wires aid in retention and help you to place and remove the denture correctly.
All the components of a partial denture are bound together by a metal framework.
Immediate partial denture
An immediate partial denture is a type of partial denture that is given immediately after your teeth are removed. However, it needs modifications after a while since your bone undergoes many changes a few months after extraction.
For an immediate partial denture, your dentist takes the measurements during your previous visits. These dentures need relining over a period. (1)
There is another type of denture called an implant-supported denture which is a denture made on your existing implants. A denture can also be fabricated on the remaining root stumps of your teeth, called an overdenture.
The procedure of Denture Fabrication
- Once you decided that your teeth need removal for whatever reason, your dentist will usually brief you about how he plans on replacing those teeth.
- The actual procedure of making a denture starts once your extraction wound has healed completely. This usually takes about two to four weeks.
- Once that is done, the dentist checks the health of your ridge and other soft tissues to ensure they are healthy enough to support a prosthesis.
- If required, the doctor will run some x-rays of the whole mouth to check for any remaining root pieces or TMJ problems. Such an x-ray is called an orthopantomogram (OPG).
- The first step is to have your measurements taken through a series of impressions. Different trays and materials are used to make these impressions. The trays are loaded with the material and placed in your mouth.
This records your tissues at rest and while doing some movements. It is essential to get the correct impressions because the fit of the denture depends on this.
Though there are different techniques, most dentists usually take one preliminary impression and one final impression.
- For the next step, the technician pours the impression and makes casts.
- On this casts the doctor fabricates trays which are used to record the relationship of your upper and lower arch under different conditions. This is called a jaw relation. If only a few teeth need replacement, a jaw relation may not be required- this is at your dentist’s discretion.
- Then, the dentist makes a temporary denture for you. The idea behind this is to check the fitting and appearance of the teeth. It also tells the dentist if he has picked the right shade and size of the teeth- something you both mutually decide for the best results.
- Once the trial is done with the necessary changes, the final denture is fabricated using acrylic. There are different qualities available, depending on your budget.
- When you visit the dentist for your final appointment, he will give you the denture and explain to you how to wear and remove it, when to wear it and how to clean it.
How to care for your dentures?
- Just like your teeth need regular cleaning to be in good health, so do your dentures.
- Remember that these are prosthesis made of acrylic. This means that they stand the chance of breakage if they fall.
- You should wear your dentures as advised by your dentist. At night while sleeping, remove them and place them in a container with clean water. Do not add any detergent or soap in that.
- Brush your dentures regularly but gently. If your brushing action is too abrasive, it will damage the teeth. Keep all the surfaces of the denture clean, including the portion over your gums and palate. Do not allow food debris to accumulate.
- If the denture cracks or breaks, see your dentist immediately. Do not try to repair it at home.
- If you feel some sharpness on any of the surfaces, see your dentist and get it smoothened.
- For partial dentures, the wires and metal framework will guide you about placement and removal. Follow a single path of placement and removal each time to avoid breakage.
- Sometimes you may develop an ulcer or a fungal infection due to unclean dentures or irritation of the acrylic to the mucosa. Inform your dentist about this and stop wearing your dentures for a few days. Your dentist will also prescribe a gel or anti-fungal medication. (2)
Some things to keep in mind before you get a denture
- A denture is an artificial replacement for teeth. Remember it can never match your natural teeth regarding biting ability and even phonetics. (3)
- It will take a while before you get used to wearing a denture, a few weeks, or maybe even one or two months. Don’t expect it to feel perfect from the very beginning.
- You may have episodes of the denture falling out while speaking or food being stuck in between because you can’t chew. Be patient, it will take some time.
- A denture is not a one-time investment. It is something you have to periodically replace even if you maintain it in the best possible way.
This is because our bones undergo natural resorption over time and hence the denture fitting is likely to change. So don’t be surprised if your dentist tells you that your denture needs to be replaced after a few years or needs relining. (4)
- In the infrequent case that you have an allergy to acrylic, or develop one while wearing the denture, you must inform your dentist.
FAQs related to dentures
Do dentures shrink gums?
Usually, our gums and underlying jaw bone function well when there are natural teeth present in the mouth. However, in the case of missing teeth, the alveolar bone gradually resorbs. Moreover, the gums may shrink over time.
If not used for a long time, dentures, dentures, especially while eating or chewing, can lead to gradual shrinkage of gums and bone resorption. However, it can be avoided by using your jaw as much as you can. Moreover, follow a good oral health routine to maintain the health of your gums. Additionally, a well-balanced diet will provide all the nutrients required for proper growth and functioning of the oral tissues.
Why do dentures cause rubbing of gums?
Dentures typically act as a foreign body placed in the mouth. It usually takes some time for the mouth and oral tissues to get accustomed to using a denture for primary functions such as speaking, chewing, and eating. While performing such activities with a dental prosthesis in the mouth, the denture may tend to put excess pressure on the gum tissue leading to rubbing of gums.
A dentist may schedule several follow-up appointments to make the necessary adjustments and relieve the pain and discomfort. During this period of change, the dentures may require several modifications to fit the gums and jaw of the patient properly. Moreover, in some cases, you may have to get the denture base relined.
Do dentures cause gum soreness? If so, how can you treat it?
Yes, sore gums can occur as a result of wearing dentures due to several reasons. Some of them include –
- Dentures are too large as compared to the dental arch and size of the mouth. This problem is usually fixed by refining the denture’s overextended areas and polishing the borders to smoothen them.
- Improper fit of the denture, which can lead to pressure areas on the gums. This problem is typically solved by relining the denture base with an acrylic resin.
- Improper cleaning of the denture can lead to increased bacterial inflammation of the gums, which can be treated by following a proper denture cleaning routine, before placing the dentures in the mouth.
What are denture sores?
Denture sores are discolored inflamed spots found on the gums’ surface from which the denture takes support to retain in the mouth. The denture sores are typically caused by trauma or bacterial viral or yeast infection of the gums.
While some patients may not experience any pain in discomfort, most denture sores can be severe and require immediate dental attention.
Is there anything I must do after the treatment of gum soreness?
The best thing to do after treating gum sores is –
- Maintain good oral hygiene – It is crucial always to keep your mouth clean. For this, you can rinse your mouth and dentures after every meal. Remove your dentures in the night before sleeping. Moreover, place them in a denture-soaking solution to loosen any plaque, bacteria, or food particles from the denture’s surface. Usually, infectious agents clear up if you don’t wear your dentures for at least two weeks.
- Clean your dentures regularly – Brush your dentures firs thing in the morning, to help remove any bits of food. Always use a non-abrasive denture cleaner instead of regular toothpaste. Do not scrub too hard as it causes grooves in the denture surface. Brush all the surfaces of the dentures, especially the surface that fits against your gums.
- Avoid any kind of bleaching agent if your denture has metal parts. You can use chlorhexidine once a week for a clean wash of the metal parts.
- Get professional denture cleaning at least two times a year. A dentist may clean the denture thoroughly and polish the surfaces to provide a clean and fresh look.
How long does it take to feel comfortable with dentures?
Many people adjust to the new dentures right after the denture delivery, but for others, it can take few weeks to few months before they get used to the fit and feel of the denture in their mouth.
By the first review, the visit is scheduled after a week of denture use. During this appointment, It is not uncommon to feel mild pain or discomfort. Some people also experience difficulty when speaking while adapting to your dentures. However, over time, the jaw and gums gradually adjust to the new dentures helping you get back to feeling like yourself again.
Should you wear dentures all the time?
Yes, you may wear your dentures at night. However, it is advised that you remove them before sleeping because of the following reasons –
- This period will give your gums and bone to relax from the denture’s continuous pressure during the day.
- Moreover, it prevents you from accidentally choking on to your dentures that may loosen in your might while you are asleep.
However, if there is a necessity to wear your dentures, for example, social reasons or to prevent your jaws from over closing, it is best to properly clean your mouth and your denture before placing it overnight.
What are the home remedies to treat denture sores?
Typically, five well-known home remedies can help to treat denture sores effectively –
- Aniseed – for this, add two teaspoons of crushed aniseed and one tablespoon of dried peppermint leaves in approximately two cups of boiling water. Strain the solution and add one teaspoon of myrrh tincture (a natural preservative and antiseptic commonly used to relieve pain and discomfort). Use two tablespoons of this solution several times a day.
- Saltwater mouth rinse – salt is a well-known ingredient that inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Moreover, it strengthens the health of gum tissue. You can typically, rub the affected area with salt every morning or rinse your mouth with a tinge of warm water mixed with salt.
- Turmeric is one of the best remedies used to reduce pain, curcumin – the active ingredient in turmeric acts as a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Moreover, it protects the mouth from bacterial growth.
A turmeric paste is usually made by using a quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of water. Gently apply a thick layer of this paste on your gums and leave it for some time. You can also massage the affected area. After this, rinse your mouth with Luke warm water.
- Cloves – Cloves usually contain Eugenol as an active ingredient which helps to kill bacteria while also acting as an effective pain reliever. Crush 5-6 buds of clove until you fill one teaspoon. Mix it with two or three drops of olive oil . gently rub it over your gums and leave it for at least five minutes. Repeat this process two to three times a day.
- Black tea bag – this contains Tannic acid, which kills the bacteria causing sore in the mouth. Moreover, it effectively treats bad breath. To use this method, hold the teabag against the painful areas for ten minutes and then rinse with plain water. Repeat this process at least twice a day to reduce the pain.
Can denture adhesives help to reduce the rubbing of gums?
Yes, usually, gum sores are caused by loose dentures. Denture adhesive can provide a good seal between the denture and the underlying oral tissue. Moreover, it prevents the denture from slippage in the mouth. Additionally, denture adhesives are well known to provide relief from rubbing the gums and the pain and discomfort.
Can relining the denture help to reduce the rubbing of gums?
Yes, another primary reason for gum soreness and discomfort is an improper fit of the denture over the oral tissues. This commonly leads to pressure areas that can be relieved by relining the denture base. Relining is performed by adding extra acrylic resin on the denture base to allow the denture’s proper fit on the dental arch.
How long does it take for the gums to heal after wearing new dentures?
It can take a few weeks to adjust to the new dentures in the mouth completely. During this period, you might have to visit the dentist several times to ensure your dentures fit correctly without causing pain and discomfort. Moreover, you might have to stay clear of hard or crunchy food that may cause exaggeration of gum soreness.
Follow a good oral hygiene routine to maintain the health of your gums and denture. Moreover, remove dentures at night and soak them in lukewarm water to allow relief from the continuous pressure caused by denture wearing during the day.
Should I change my diet to reduce the rubbing of gums by denture?
It is best to stick to the same diet from the beginning of getting dentures until you get used to them in the mouth. This allows you to adjust to your new dentures quickly. Start with a soft diet, which includes plenty of pudding, porridge, or soup.
Drink plenty of water to reduce denture friction and prevent gum irritation. Avoid dehydrating drinks such as tea, coffee, and alcohol to promote healthy saliva flow. Fresh berries are best to introduce chewing movements while wearing dentures in the mouth.
Avoid food like seeded bread and hard food like candy and ice because they can destabilize your denture teeth. Moreover, it can lead to gum sores.
My denture is loose, does this cause gum soreness?
Yes, loose dentures are one of the prime causes of gum soreness. This typically occurs in lower dentures, which can tip easily from the dental arch when tongue pressure is applied to the denture. This problem can be treated by professional relining of the denture base or use of denture adhesives to form a secure seal between the denture and the gums.
Can I wear dentures all the time to prevent gum soreness?
It is usually advised to remove the dentures in the night before sleeping and soak them in a denture cleaning solution. This allows the gums to relax and repair from the continuous pressure of the denture during the day. Moreover, it also allows proper blood flow in the gums, which helps to maintain its health.
How to take care of my mouth when you have dentures?
- Maintain good oral health routine by cleaning the gums and soft tissues in the mouth with a soft-bristled toothbrush, toothpaste, or a clean damp cloth. Use an antibacterial mouthwash to rinse your mouth.
- A saltwater rinse is also useful in maintaining the health of your gums for a long time.
- Rinse your mouth after every meal
Do I have to replace my dentures if they are causing rubbing of the gums?
Yes, but first look for signs of looseness or improper fit. In such cases, the dentist may initially try out corrective procedures such as relining and use of denture adhesives. However, if you still feel that your dentures do not fit properly in the mouth, you might want to get it replaced by new ones to prevent further damage to the gums and underlying bone.
Over to you on dentures
Dentures are a great way to replace your missing teeth, especially for the geriatric population. Do remember to care for them and regularly have then checked by your dentist. But dentures can never be like natural teeth and that is why it is important to take care of your teeth.