Restore Your SMile
When Are Dentures Necessary?
If you are missing a tooth, it is important to have it replaced. Losing a tooth results in bone loss, shifting teeth, and changes in the structure of your facial muscles, which will alter your appearance. You may experience changes in your bite, facial sagging, and teeth that have become crooked because they have shifted.
A missing tooth can be replaced with a dental implant or bridge. However, once you’ve lost more than one tooth and especially once you’ve lost up to 3, it’s time to consider getting dentures. The more teeth you lose, the more difficult it becomes to properly chew your food, speak clearly, and maintain your facial structure. It will also increase your risk of losing additional teeth.
Dentures restore the appearance, structure, and function of your natural teeth. They assist with chewing, pronouncing words, holding your teeth into place, and preventing your face from sagging. If you’re interested in dentures, contact us at Waterfront Dental today to schedule an appointment in Baltimore with Dr. Dawn Merguerian.
Types of Dentures We Offer
Full Dentures - These dentures replace an entire arch or both arches of teeth. All of your remaining teeth need to be extracted to be fitted for complete dentures so this is only an option for patients who are already missing a significant amount or most of their teeth.
The gums will need time to heal before receiving the official dentures, which takes about 8-12 weeks. During this time, the patient will wear a set of immediate temporary dentures.
Partial Dentures - A partial denture is similar to a dental bridge in that it replaces a few missing teeth and uses the adjacent natural teeth for support. However, a partial denture is removable and is attached to the teeth via metal clasps. Partial dentures are ideal for patients who still have most of their teeth but are missing more than two.
Implant-Supported Dentures - Dental implants are the only tooth restorations that preserve the jaw bone and prevent future bone loss. By making a series of implants (2-4) into the jawbone on the upper and bottom arches, the dentures can be held in place securely.
These dentures prevent bone loss and don’t shift around, so you can eat and speak without worrying about your teeth moving around. Like full dentures, these dentures can replace all of the teeth in the mouth but are more secure and do not accelerate bone loss.
The Denture Placement Process
For implant-supported dentures, a series of titanium implants will be placed into the jaw bone. Over 3-6 months, osseointegration will occur (the implants will become fused with the jawbone) after which the abutments can be attached and then the dental crowns for the tooth restorations.
While you wait for the complete healing of your jaw through osseointegration, you will receive temporary dentures from our Baltimore office. Once osseointegration is complete, you will receive your official dentures that were created from impressions of your teeth.
For full dentures, the patient’s teeth will be extracted and a temporary denture will be placed while the gums heal over 8-12 weeks. Impressions are taken of the teeth before extraction of the teeth to construct a prosthesis that mimics the patient’s bite and fits in their jaw. The impressions are sent to a dental lab that creates the dentures and the patient will have a trial fitting before approving them.
During this fitting, the patient informs the dentist if any adjustments need to be made. At a separate appointment, once the official dentures have been received, we will have a final fitting and the dentures are held in place through suction around the gums.
How to Get Comfortable With New Dentures
It is normal for there to be an adjustment period when receiving your first set of dentures or receiving new dentures. It takes about 30 days to get used to the feeling of dentures in your mouth. Within this period, you may experience irritation to your gums, increased saliva, difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, an inability to eat a normal diet, and some soreness.
When you first receive your dentures, we recommend sticking to a diet of soft foods. To relieve gum soreness and pain, rinse your mouth with a lukewarm saltwater solution and take anti-inflammatory pain relief. Excessive saliva can be mitigated by sucking on a hard candy that increases how often you swallow.
It will become easier to speak clearly if you practice pronouncing sounds that are most difficult for you while wearing dentures. You should regularly talk out loud and practice tongue twisters, focusing on words that pronounce the “f” and “s” sounds.
If you find that you continue to experience discomfort or that your denture is shifting around too much, you may need a denture adhesive or an adjustment in the fitting of your dentures. As time passes, you will get used to the feeling of your dentures, be able to increase solid foods, and speak more clearly.