Dentures are a common solution for individuals who have missing or damaged teeth. They are custom-made dental prosthetics that can be attached to a removable or permanent base and are designed to restore the appearance and functionality of natural teeth. However, the stages of getting dentures can be complex, involving multiple appointments and follow-ups.
Let’s look at the steps in getting dentures, including consultation, impressions, fitting, adjustments, and follow-up appointments. By working closely with a dentist throughout the process, patients can achieve a comfortable, functional smile that meets their specific needs.
Signs You May Need Dentures
Dentures can effectively address lost or damaged teeth through two different types—removable or implanted. Removable dentures are typically held in place with different methods, from tension to special oral adhesives. Implanted dentures, on the other hand, are a type of major restorative dental procedure, wherein titanium posts are implanted directly into the jawbone to serve as mechanical supports for prosthetic teeth. The type of denture that best fits your specific needs will be decided between you and your dentist, but below are some common signs that you may need dentures:
Tooth loss: Tooth loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including decay, injury, or periodontal disease. If you have lost one or more teeth, dentures may be necessary to restore the appearance and function of your smile.
Difficulty chewing: Missing or damaged teeth can make it difficult to properly chew food, which can lead to digestive problems. If you are experiencing difficulty chewing or have trouble eating certain foods, it may be a sign that you need dentures.
Changes in speech: If you have noticed changes in your speech, such as slurring or difficulty pronouncing certain words, it may be a sign that you need dentures. Missing or damaged teeth can affect the way you speak, and dentures can help to improve your ability to articulate clearly.
Changes in appearance: Over time, tooth loss leads to muscles in the face atrophying due to loss of stimulation. Eventually, this process can even lead to bone loss in the jaw and can cause the affected side of the face to sag or appear sunken. Dentures cannot help regain bone mass, but they can help delay the process and give the impression of regained facial symmetry.
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a dentist appointment and ask about the availability of dentures through your clinic, or request a referral to a denture specialist. At the consultation, your dentist will carefully assess your teeth and gums, review your dental history, and advise you on the most appropriate type of dentures for your particular needs.
Stages of Getting Dentures
If you are considering getting dentures, it is important to understand the stages involved in the process. The key stages of getting dentures include:
A Dental Examination
The first step in getting dentures is to schedule a consultation with a dentist who specializes in dentures. During this appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to determine whether removable or implanted dentures will best fit your specific needs. Your dentist will consider factors like the number and placement of missing teeth, the density of the underlying bone, and the health of the remaining teeth. They should also consult you about your preferences and lifestyle habits to ensure you choose an option that is most comfortable for you.
Making the Dentures
Once you and your dentist have determined that dentures are the right solution for you, the next step is to make the dentures. This involves creating a mold of your teeth and gums with a series of impressions, which are then used to make wax models of your bite. After the fit is finalized and any corrections are made, your dentist will send information to a dental lab where the dentures are made. The materials used to create dentures can vary, but they typically consist of a pink plastic base to simulate gum tissue and artificial teeth made of porcelain or acrylic.
Fitting the Dentures
Once the dentures have been created, you will have a fitting appointment with your dentist. The dentist will ensure that the dentures fit properly and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a comfortable fit. This may involve adding or removing material from the dentures or adjusting their shape.
Adapting to Dentures
After you receive your dentures, it may take some time to adjust to wearing them. This can include getting used to the feel of the dentures in your mouth, learning how to eat and speak with them, and properly maintaining them. Your dentist will give you instructions and advice on adapting to your dentures to make the transition as smooth as possible.
It is important to note that the getting dentures process can take several weeks, and multiple appointments with the dentist are necessary. However, the end result can be a set of dentures that look and feel natural, improving your ability to eat, speak, and smile with confidence.
How to Take Care of Your Dentures
Dentures are important dental prosthetics and require specific cleaning and care. If you wear dentures, it is important to take proper care of them to ensure their longevity and maintain your oral health. Here are a few tips on how to take care of your dentures:
Clean your dentures daily: Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be cleaned daily to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup. Use a soft-bristled brush and a mild denture cleaner to gently clean your dentures, being careful not to damage or scratch them.
Remove your dentures at night: It is important to remove your dentures at night to give your gums and mouth a chance to rest and recover from the constant contact. Soak your dentures in water or a denture cleaning solution overnight to keep them moist and prevent them from drying out. Dried-out dentures are more likely to crack or break.
Brush your gums, tongue, and palate: While you have your dentures out at night, use a soft-bristled brush to gently clean your gums, tongue, and palate. This will help to remove bacteria and keep your mouth healthy.
Handle your dentures with care: Dentures can be fragile, so it is important to handle them with care. Be gentle when cleaning or handling your dentures, and never force them into place or try to adjust them on your own.
Visit your dentist regularly: Even if you wear dentures, it is important to visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can inspect your dentures for damage or wear, as well as check the health of your gums and mouth.
Avoid certain foods: Some foods can be difficult to chew or may damage your dentures. Avoid very hard or sticky foods, as well as foods that require a lot of chewing, such as tough meats or hard vegetables, toffee or other chewy candies, etc.
Use a denture adhesive: If your dentures are loose or uncomfortable, a denture adhesive may help to keep them in place and improve their fit. Follow the instructions carefully and use only a small amount of adhesive to avoid irritation or discomfort.
Denture care is essential for maintaining your oral health and ensuring the longevity of your prosthesis. Dentures can be expensive and take time to replace if lost or broken, something many patients find very disruptive to their daily routines. By following these tips and visiting your dentist regularly, you can keep your dentures in good condition and enjoy a healthy, confident smile.
Getting dentures can be a life-changing decision for those who are struggling with missing or damaged teeth. By following the appointment steps and stages outlined by your dentist, you can ensure that the process is smooth and successful, and proper care and maintenance of your dentures will ensure their longevity and effectiveness. If you are struggling with missing teeth, Champagne Family Dentistry can help! Contact us today for an appointment and talk to one of our qualified and experienced dentists about getting dentures.