Full dentures replace a full arch of missing teeth to restore chewing and facial appearance. A denture can be constructed to replace missing top teeth, missing bottom teeth, or both.
A denture is normally constructed of an acrylic (plastic) base, colored pink to look like the gum tissue it covers. The teeth are either plastic or porcelain. Choice of which type of material to use for the teeth will be based on our judgment and what the teeth in the opposing arch are. Porcelain goes against porcelain. Acrylic goes against acrylic or natural tooth.
If you already have a denture or dentures, construction of new dentures is relatively easy. Your mouth is familiar with the feel of the denture. Preliminary impressions are made from which more exact impression trays are designed and fabricated. These trays are used to make a final master impression, from which the denture will be made. The line of the teeth and thickness of the denture are established in wax and checked. Teeth are selected by color, form, and material. They are placed in the wax and tried in place in the mouth. When you approve the form, design, and setup of the teeth, the dental laboratory will complete the process in acrylic. Then they are returned to the office and delivered to you. They will be adjusted at that time. Expect to make several visits with us, as the dentures settle in and sore spots develop. Do not expect the new dentures to fit the same as your old ones. Dentures cannot be exactly duplicated. The feel will always be different. Not worse, just different.
If you have recently had one or a few teeth extracted, or are having a full denture made after wearing a removable partial denture, you will need more time to adjust to the new full denture. It can take 3 to 6 months for soft tissue to heal and reshape itself fully after an extraction. The more teeth removed, the more change there will be and the longer it will take to heal. Many times, a denture is made before this time period has elapsed. Expect to have more sore spots and more adjustments before the denture feels comfortable. You may also expect to have the denture relined after a few months to compensate for that tissue change. The reline fills in the space that develops under the denture by the extraction site. Partial dentures have some mechanical retention from clasps on teeth. Full dentures do not have this help and are more difficult to keep in place.
If you have a denture or dentures, make sure to remove them daily. Do not sleep with them in. Your gums need a chance to have unimpeded circulation of fresh blood. Dentures tend to restrict blood flow. Plaque can accumulate on your denture and on your gum tissue. Use a very soft toothbrush to gently brush your gums. Be sure to keep your dentures clean by brushing them daily with a denture brush and denture cleanser¾and be sure to store them in water when they are not being worn.