Someone cleaning dentures with a toothbrush

Missing Teeth? Dentures Could Help Fill in Your Smile

What are Dentures?

Losing one tooth isn’t too complicated to replace. There are multiple options available today to fill the space that once held the natural tooth. But what options do you have when you lose all your teeth (or most of them)? Luckily, there are solutions. Dentures are one of the most common options available, but what are dentures?

Not everyone has a perfect smile or even a mouth full of teeth. Many different things can cause people to lose their teeth at any age. While your teeth can’t grow back, you don’t have to lose your smile forever. Dentures are sets of false teeth that sit on your gums in place of natural teeth. These dental pieces can be created to replace all or some of your teeth.

Pros and Cons of Dentures vs Implants

You may be thinking, why not just get a set of fake teeth implanted into your mouth? When a tooth you have is damaged or missing, you can go to the dentist and get it replaced. This is technically possible to do with your entire smile, but sometimes it makes more sense to just get dentures instead.

While people report that they look and feel more natural than dentures, they also require a lot of surgery and drilling into the jawbone. If your jawbone is weak or you don’t want to surgically implant every single one of your teeth, dentures are often recommended instead.

How do Dentures Work?

By using mold imprints of your mouth, laboratories custom make dentures to fit you. They are made to look real, from realistic teeth to pink, fleshy gums.

Dental work is often required before you get the dentures. A dentist or dental surgeon will remove the teeth in the area where you want to apply the dentures. The upper piece covers the roof of your mouth, and the lower piece is “U” shaped to allow some room for your tongue.

How they stick in your mouth will depend heavily on the type of dentures you have.

Types of Dentures

Not all dentures are created equal. However, modern dentures hardly require any of the glue or adhesive that you may have heard from older adults who have them. Dentures that require such substances to stay in place may actually be worn away and in need of adjustments or replacements.

Traditional dentures are what you will see most of the time. They sit directly on the gums and stay into place through suction alone.

Partial Dentures
When the patient still has some of their teeth left, they may be able to use them to keep their dentures in place. In these cases, the patient’s natural teeth are preserved in some areas in order to serve as an anchor for the rest of the teeth.

Of course, if these teeth are weak or rotting, this won’t work. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a bridge or partial denture. There are also cases where some teeth can be replaced with implants.

When it has been decided that the patient’s natural teeth cannot serve as a sufficient anchor, implants are used instead. Your dentist or dental surgeon will be able to give advice on what is right for you when deciding between implants versus bridges.

Snap Implants
In some cases, dentures can be “snapped” in to place. After the teeth have been removed, surgically fixing metal implants strategically along the gums can allow them to serve as an anchor where dentures can “snap” in place.

With many of these snap models, the dentures can still be removed for easy cleaning. These tend to be more stable than dentures that rely on suction alone.

Fixed Dentures
In some cases, the patient wants something that can’t be removed from their mouth. In these cases, a permanent solution can be made. Similar to the “snap implants” procedure, metal fixtures in the gums can be made to permanently hold the dentures in place.

It is essential to point out that no denture solution is 100% perfect. Everyone needs and wants different things. Additionally, not everyone’s mouth will allow for the dentures they may want. Always listen to what your dentist has to say.

No matter what type you choose, dentures will often need adjustments from time to time, which may be easier or harder to make depending on the denture option you choose.

How to Clean Dentures

Like teeth, your dentures are not maintenance-free. There are some tips you must follow to keep your dentures clean as well as increase their longevity.

  • Keep them in denture cleanser solution when not in your mouth. You don’t want them to dry out. Make sure not to use hot water, as it can disfigure your dentures.
  • Brush your dentures every day with toothpaste, similar to how you would brush your teeth.
  • Make sure to also brush your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth every day to keep your mouth healthy.