Historically, dentures were recommended for patients missing multiple teeth through deterioration or the aging process. Whenever multiple teeth were extracted, dentures were then used to create natural looking teeth that would enable the patient to eat and speak properly. Even today, dentures may still be a viable option for some patients and provide functionality and beauty.
Immediate dentures are provided to the patient on the same day that teeth are removed, eliminating the embarrassment of having no teeth. As the gums are healing and the bone is remodeling, these dentures will need to be periodically adjusted and possibly relined so that they will continue to fit comfortably. Over the course of a year, once healing has taken place, it may be necessary for the patient to obtain a new set of dentures.
If the patient has remaining teeth with strong roots, over-dentures may be used. These dentures will fit over the natural teeth. They don’t require relining as frequently as complete dentures because less recession of the gums and jawbone will take place, and they will create fewer problems with the patient’s bite. With over-dentures, the remaining teeth will be re-sculpted and metal caps will be inserted to help prevent decay.
What to Expect after Dentures Have Been Placed
Dentures may feel uncomfortable at first until the gums and tissue adjust to being in contact with man-made relining material. During the first few days, dentures should be worn continuously to reduce any swelling that may occur, which usually subsides within three days. Eating soft food will be beneficial during this period, as patients may notice that their new set of teeth feel awkward and loose when eating and chewing. It will help to read aloud to overcome any speech impediments that may occur during the initial wearing period. Patients may also find that their lower dentures take a little longer to adjust to than upper dentures. It may take several months for the jawbone to adjust and heal completely. Once this has occurred, our Los Angeles dentist will permanently reline the dentures. The lining consists of soft material that cushions the dentures when they make contact with the gums.
Dentures last approximately five years, possibly longer with good care that includes daily cleaning with special denture toothpaste. When the swelling has gone down, removing one or both dentures at night allows the gums to breathe. Dentures should be placed in water overnight to prevent warping.