What Are Dentures?
The word Denture is a term commonly used instead of ‘dental prosthesis’. It represents the artificial replacement of a missing or lost tooth. It can be a fixed prosthesis (which is more commonly referred to as dental bridge) that is cemented on your teeth and cannot be removed, or removable prosthesis, which can be removed at the patient’s will. The term ‘denture’, however, is almost always used to express the removable prosthesis.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
The leading cause of tooth loss is decay. When the tooth becomes severely damaged by decay, it cannot be repaired and has to be removed. The second most common cause is gum disease, which ultimately leads to loss of bone and mobility of the teeth. Another common cause is also trauma, for example, if a patient suffered a knock or a blow to the face or teeth, they may be damaged or lost as a result.
There are two types of dentures: complete dentures, which serves to replace all the teeth in your jaw, and partial dentures, which replace only the few missing teeth.
Both of these share some common components:
Denture Base: which is the large piece of plastic that forms the main bulk of the denture, and to which the artificial teeth are attached. These can be made of Acrylic resin, metal, or a combination of both.
Artificial teeth: Which are also made of acrylic resin, and these replace the teeth that you lost. They are similar to the original teeth in shape, form and color.
How are Dentures Made?
The dentist will start by taking one or more replicas of your teeth (known as impressions). The next step is called jaw relation, where the dentist uses wax or other materials to record the relationship between your upper and lower jaws. This is important because if this relationship is measured incorrectly, it can lead to problems in your jaw later on. Then the dentist would try the unfinished denture in your mouth to check the presence of any problems, and finally the denture is finished and delivered to the patient. The dental laboratory has a great role in this and interacts with the dentist along these steps.
Why choose dentures over fixed replacements like implants?
In some cases, implants cannot be done, either due to heavy bone loss or a medical condition that prevents successful implant placement. In these cases, dentures may well be the only options for teeth replacement.
Sometimes, economics plays a part.
What Should I expect when I receive dentures?
Think of new dentures as new glasses. Dentures are a way of rehabilitating your mouth. Some discomfort in the beginning is normal and expected, and you will probably go back and forth to your dentist for adjustments. The most important factors for success of dentures is time and patience. You just need to bear with them and your dentist, and in a short time, you will be very comfortable.
What will happen if I just leave the space empty instead?
The consequences of leaving your mouth empty after tooth loss are numerous. Firstt of all, the load increases on the remaining teeth – if any are still present – which will lead to decay and gum disease and ultimately their loss.
Your mouth is designed to have teeth. Teeth hold the shape of your face and prevent a sunken in appearance of the cheeks.
Another issue is the load of eating and chewing on your gums, which are not equipped to withstand such forces. An important problem that most people fail to see, is that the efficiency of food chewing is severely decreased, so the food goes down to your stomach in bulk, which will ultimately lead to problems in your digestive system. Dentures will solve this problem.
Finally, being able to talk and smile is important. People who love you are counting on seeing your happy face and hearing what you have to say. You'd be surprised how important it is!