Some people believe that their dental problems will be over if they simply have their teeth removed and replaced with dentures. Instead, as most denture wearers will tell you, getting dentures can mark the beginning of many new problems.
Problems with eating
Eating can take much longer because you can apply only about 15% to 20% of normal force when chewing with dentures.
They also make many foods more difficult to eat. This is particularly true for fruits and vegetables, which are crucial for your overall health.
Tasting food can be more difficult, too, especially with upper dentures, which cover the taste buds on the roof of your mouth.
Gagging and sore spots
Gagging can be a problem with upper dentures. Some people with an active gag reflex find them impossible to wear.
Sore spots can also develop because the tissues in the mouth were never made to have plastic continually rubbing against them.
Problems associated with shrinking jawbone
The most serious problem is the loss of jawbone. When teeth are missing, the jawbone does not get the stimulation it needs from chewing, and the bone begins to shrink. This causes the denture to become loose and floppy. After a few months, the denture will have to be relined, and every few years, it will need to be remade completely to keep it fitting properly.
This is a particular problem with lower dentures. The base for the denture is smaller to begin with, and as the loss of bone flattens the jaw, there is very little to hold it in place. Even worse, the shrinkage can expose nerves that pass through the lower jaw, so the jaw hurts and can go numb every time you bite down.
The loss of jawbone also changes your appearance. Your nose gets closer to your chin and your lips collapse. This causes wrinkles, gives you less lip support, and makes you look older.
The expense of dentures
When you add up all of the costs, dentures can end up being more expensive than treatment to save your natural teeth. The cost of dentures includes those for removing teeth, making the dentures, and periodic relines and remakes.
For all these reasons, we recommend that you choose treatment to save your natural teeth. You will look better, feel better, enjoy your food more, and have more confidence.
When all of your upper or lower teeth must be removed, an immediate denture is a good interim treatment for replacing them.
An immediate denture is one that is placed on the same day that the teeth are removed.
With proper home care and regular adjustments, your immediate denture can provide a good short-term treatment for a functional bite and a natural-looking smile.
The benefits of an immediate denture
Immediate dentures have several advantages. They protect your gums and help control bleeding after the teeth have been removed. You are never without teeth, so you’ll have a natural-looking appearance, and you won’t need to learn how to eat and speak without teeth. Dentures also support your cheeks and lips for a more attractive smile.
Placing an immediate denture
The process of making an immediate denture varies in each case, and it usually involves a series of appointments. To begin the process, an accurate model is made of your mouth before any teeth are removed. Then the model is modified to match the shape your gums will be after the teeth have been removed. The lab uses this model to create your new immediate denture.
The next phase is to thoroughly numb your mouth and extract the teeth. Depending on the circumstances, we may gently close the gums with stitches. Then we insert your new immediate denture.
You wear the denture continually for one to three days. It will probably feel tight because the gums are swollen. As the gums and jawbone change shape over the next several months, the surface of the denture will need to be relined at least once for a better fit.
When the time is right, we will talk with you about creating a new final denture.
When you’re missing most or all of your upper or lower teeth, you have several choices for replacing them. Depending on your situation, you could choose—
If you are thinking of delaying treatment, you should know that the jawbone will continue to shrink, making future treatment more complex. And without treatment, speaking and eating properly will become increasingly difficult. Your lips and cheeks will lack the support they need for a more youthful appearance. For these reasons, we recommend treatment now to help you stay healthy and keep a beautiful smile.
Conventional full dentures
When all the teeth are missing or must be removed, we can make a conventional full denture to replace them. Conventional dentures can fit and function well at the start.
However, when all the teeth in an arch are missing, the jawbone gradually shrinks. This means that if you have some teeth that can be saved, we may recommend that you keep them and wear an overdenture.