Dentures are removable appliances with artificial teeth. They are made of plastic (acrylic) or a combination of plastic and metal (cobalt chromium). Alternatively you can also ask for flexible dentures that are softer than the traditional plastic. The innovation of the biocompatible flexible material allows the dentures to adapt to the constant movement and flexibility in your mouth.
There are basically two types of dentures:
- Partial dentures: if you have lost some of your teeth
- Complete/Full dentures: if you have lost either all your upper or lower teeth
Implant Retained Dentures
Fabrication usually takes a few visits whereby during the first visit, the dentist makes a mould of the teeth to be sent to a dental laboratory. You may be asked to return to the clinic for "trying-in". Once completed, the dentures will be issued to you. Dentures tend to accelerate bone loss which makes dentures wearing more uncomfortable in later years. It is recommended that dentures should be replaced every 3-5 years.
HOW MANY VISITS DO I NEED TO MAKE A DENTURE?
Fabrication of a denture involves a few stages. They are:
- impression taking;
The interval between each visit is about a week to allow sufficient time for the dental laboratory to process it. In some cases, you may have to return to the clinic to adjust your new denture after issuance, if required.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NEW DENTURES?
Although dentures are custom-designed accordingly to individual's mouth, it will take some time to get used to eating and talking with the new dentures. Practice with soft diet and reading aloud will shorten the adaptation period. Slight discomfort is common during the first few days or weeks of wearing them. It is advisable to make a note of the area of discomfort and bring it up to your dentist the next time you visit the clinic.
HOW TO CARE FOR DENTURES?
Dentures should be removed carefully after a meal to wash away any food particles that cling to the surfaces before wearing them again. This helps to reduce any bacterial contact with the teeth and gums. Before bedtime, dentures should also be removed and brushed thoroughly with soap and water, and left inside a container of water at room temperature. Avoid adjusting the surfaces or metal parts of the dentures yourself, as it may distort the shape and make the denture unfitting to your mouth. Always ask the dentist for help to adjust your dentures.
WHEN SHOULD I REPLACE MY DENTURES?
Dentures are used daily and undergo wear and tear quicker than our own teeth. Our gum tissues and teeth also change with time. Hence, dentures should be replaced once they do not fit the gums and teeth anymore. Complete denture wearers who do not have any natural teeth should still visit dentist every year to make sure that their gums are healthy and the dentures are fitting well. Ill-fitting dentures have been known to irritate the gum tissues and may cause oral cancer. New dentures can support the facial tissues better than old and worn dentures and hence a more natural smile.
WHAT IS IMPLANT-RETAINED DENTURE?
Dentures normally seat on the gum tissues and move slightly during eating and talking. To minimise these movement, root-like titanium posts or screws (implants) may be surgically placed into the jawbone to act as pillars for the dentures to be clipped onto. For people having difficulty adapting to denture wearing, they may approach their dentist to ask if they are suitable for implant-retained denture.