A denture or a complete denture as it is often called, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips.
Most dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways.
- A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed.
- An immediate denture is fabricated ahead of time and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture.
- An upper denture has acrylic, usually flesh colored, that covers the palate (roof of the mouth).
- A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue.
The teeth are made of plastic or porcelain. Many shapes, sizes and shades of teeth are available to create a denture that meets the needs of our patients. Dentures can be fabricated to fit over endodonticly treated teeth and a complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Dentures over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. The bone in the jaw exists to support the teeth. Once the teeth are removed, the bone remodels itself as does the overlying tissue. The bone and soft tissue remodeling occurs over time, significant changes occurduring the first 6-8 months after extractions and then slows remaining relatively stable. Significant changes in weight can effect the fit of dentures. Regular dentist examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change. Dentures must be removed at night while sleeping to allow the tissue to breath.