Why have dentures?
A partial denture is fitted to replace some missing teeth whilst a complete denture is indicated when all natural teeth are missing. A good set of dentures helps you to eat, speak, function, and often improves a person’s appearance. They can enhance facial shape, especially around the lips and in the cheek area.
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What is involved in having dentures made?
Depending on the complexity of each case, the duration of the treatment will vary. After the initial visit of examination and diagnosis, the subsequent visits will include taking impressions of the mouth, bite registration, try-in of the denture, fitting and review.
If you are having complete dentures, these will be fitted in the top or bottom of your mouth. This complete denture will consist of a gum coloured arch with a set of prosthetic teeth attached. Partial dentures will be used if you only have one or a few missing teeth and may be held in place with metal hooks attached to existing teeth.
Getting used to your new dentures
It can take a little while to get used to your new dentures, especially if they are a complete set. They may feel odd at first and eating can be tricky, so it may be a good idea to start with softer foods and slowly introduce more challenging items. The amount of saliva in your mouth may increase, but this should soon improve as your mouth gets used to your replacement teeth.
Initially, speaking may be difficult but you can improve this by reading aloud. If you are experiencing any sore spots in your mouth, the denture surface may need some adjustment.
Eating: Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods and foods cut into small pieces will help. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent dentures from tipping. Once you become accustomed to chewing, include other foods until you return to your normal diet.
Increased salivary flow: You may experience an increase in salivary flow when the dentures are first inserted. This is a natural response of the salivary glands that will return to normal after a few weeks. You can improve the situation by swallowing more often.
Speech: New dentures may alter your speech initially. Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will speed up the adaptation process. This problem rarely persists beyond two weeks.
Sore spots: Minor irritation caused by surface irregularities or pressure spots on the denture-bearing areas are quite common. Your dentist will relieve the discomfort by adjusting the denture surface. Stop wearing the denture if the irritation is very painful. Consult your dentist immediately.
Looking after your dentures
Dentures are designed to be hard-wearing, but they will last longer if you treat them with care. Dentures should be removed before you go to bed so your gums can have a rest, but they must be stored in water or denture fluid as they could lose their shape if allowed to dry out.
Clean your dentures with a toothbrush or a special denture brush and remember to keep your gums and any remaining teeth clean too. You will also need to attend regular check-ups so your dentist and hygienist can keep an eye on your oral health.
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