1) Immediate denture:
When it is past the turning point to save your teeth, usually because of gum disease or very poor condition of the teeth, you will have to have teeth removed. At times, these may be replaced with a denture.
When the dentures are provided on the same day as the extractions/removal of the teeth, this is called an “Immediate Denture”.
An impression of your mouth will be taken about 2 weeks prior to the extraction in order to make plaster models of your mouth. The laboratory technician will use these models to make your dentures.
On the day of extractions/removal of teeth, your denture will be placed immediately after the surgery.
The immediate denture needs to remain in place for a period of 24 hours to prevent excessive swelling that would make it impossible to reinsert the denture.
After about 6 to 8 weeks’ healing, the gums start to shrink (as they heal) and the denture will usually become looser. A reline procedure is usually carried out to improve the tightness of the fit.
Again, at one year, it is normal for a further reline to be required — alternatively, a new denture can be made that will usually last for 3 to 8 years.
2) Partial denture:
When missing teeth are not replaced, a chain reaction of events can occur, such as:
- Gum disease
- Tilting of teeth
- Unbalanced bite — which may be associated with pain in the jaw joint
If you have only a few teeth missing, a good way to replace these missing teeth is with a partial denture. A good partial denture should be made of metal and plastic. Metal clasps fit around anchoring teeth and give the denture more retention. You will chew better, look better and have a healthier mouth.
If you have never worn a denture, you will need an adjustment period — but with time and practice, you will usually be able to function well. Be aware that food can, at times, gather underneath even if the denture fits properly — so you should rinse after each meal.
3) Complete denture:
If you have lost all your teeth, a complete denture can replace all of your missing teeth. This type of denture can be made once the healing process is completed. Dr Rabeeh uses Australian laboratories that make use of high quality materials for the plastic, metal and teeth. She will take the necessary time to follow each step carefully to give patients a superior quality product.
Impressions, jaw records and “try-ins” are needed to make dentures. Overall, between 4 and 6 appointments are required. The second last appointment is very important because it gives you the opportunity to check the appearance of the teeth and to indicate that you are pleased with the overall appearance. After that, the denture is sent for finalization to the laboratory and no other changes can be made. The longevity of a denture is about 3 to 8 years. After this time, it may need to be relined or a new denture made.
Problems with dentures:
Dentures are “artificial” and can rarely be favourably compared with natural teeth. There are a number of problems that may be encountered with dentures. Some research shows that it can take up to 5 times longer to chew with a set of complete dentures. Dentures may also cover some of the taste buds on the palate and interfere with the enjoyment of food etc.
In some patients, a very active “gag” reflex can make it almost impossible to wear a denture.
If you think that a denture is the cheapest solution for your budget — you may be wise to “think again”.
The long-term cost of a denture is high — it includes:
- Removing teeth
- Making a denture
- Carrying out relines
- Periodic remake (every 3 to 8 or so years)
With time, long-term denture wearers can find that the bone of their jaws recedes (shrinks). Eventually, their jaw can also be so flat that having a stable denture becomes almost impossible. At times the nerves become uncovered on the surface of the bone giving pain on biting.
The message is a clear one:
Maintenance of the health of our teeth and the soft tissues of the mouth is a life-long responsibility for each of us. A dentist can assist in this process by regularly providing advice, by checking on the continuing health of hard and soft tissues, and by providing treatment, when necessary, to optimize long-term health, function and appearance.