Often times people are missing teeth due to periodontal disease, decay, trauma or genetic defects. Dentists will coordinate with a lab to create dentures, or false teeth, to replace the missing teeth. Dentures can replace a few missing teeth on the same arch (partial denture) or they can replace all the teeth in an arch (complete denture).
There are many benefits to a properly fitted denture. Some examples include:
- Improved ability for the patient to chew food.
- Improvement to collapsed facial features. When the missing teeth are replaced by a denture the cheeks and lips are better supported.
- Improved speech. Patients are better able to pronounce certain sounds.
- The improved mental well-being of the patient. Patients feel better about themselves when their esthetics and speech are improved.
Dentures today are created using acrylic resins and porcelain to give the patient a natural appearance. Acrylic resin is strong and wears well. Porcelain, which strongly resembles the appearance of natural tooth enamel, is used mainly on the upper teeth as they are more visible. However, because porcelain will wear and damage natural teeth, porcelain can only be used in dentures where they will not occlude with any natural teeth.
It is important for patients who wear dentures to be diligent with their oral care. Daily brushing is necessary to remove food particles and debris. Regular checkups with the dentist are equally important as the dentist will clean the dentures to remove any plaque in order to prevent any gum disease. A dentist may use an ultrasonic cleaner to remove any tarter that has accumulated over time. These regular checkups will also allow the dentist to make any adjustments to the denture ensuring a comfortable fit.
Cleaning a denture
- Fill the sink with water and place a washcloth at the bottom of the sink. Brush the denture over the filled sink. This way, should the denture fall, it will land in the water and not crack.
- Make sure to use cool or room-temperature water. Hot water may cause the false teeth or acrylic to warp.
- Gently hold the denture and use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Dentures should be brushed with either soap and water or mildly abrasive toothpaste. To avoid scratching or breaking the denture, do not use abrasive chemicals or highly abrasive pastes or hard-bristled toothbrushes.
- Once the denture has been brushed clean, soak them overnight in a denture cleanser. These cleansers will remove debris in hard-to-reach places and freshen the denture by removing odour-causing bacteria. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the cleanser before wearing the denture.
- When cleaning your natural teeth and gums it is important to use a separate toothbrush from the one used to clean the denture. If the patient is edentulous, a soft washcloth can be used to clean the gums.