Losing teeth is a sad exercise. It is a part of your body you have had for a long time, marking the end of a long and fruitful relationship between you and the tooth. When the losses start mounting up, it may be time to turn to dentures. University Dental Family Dentistry and Orthodontics in San Diego specializes in dentures, offering both partial dentures and complete dentures.
Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth and surrounding gum tissue. Dentures are made to fit conveniently and comfortably in your mouth based on impressions made of your jaw, as well as a series of measurements. Dentures allow those with a series of missing teeth to eat without restriction and have a full and healthy smile.
There are primarily two different kinds of dentures, partial dentures and complete dentures.
Complete dentures are used to replace a full set of teeth. Usually, this means that the patient needs to have some teeth removed and must wait for the gum tissue to heal before dentures can be used.
Partial dentures are used when there are one or more natural teeth remaining in the upper jaw or lower jaw. These removable replacement teeth are attached to a gum-colored plastic base that has internal attachments for a natural looking fit.
Regular check-ups with your dentist are the best way to stay current with your oral health needs. But if it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, and you’re experiencing loose teeth or difficulty chewing, it may be time to consider dentures. Earlier warning signs include red, swollen gums, and severe toothaches, both of which are often caused by decay or gum disease. If left untreated, these conditions could result in tooth loss and the subsequent need for dentures or other tooth replacement options.
Although dentures may look like natural teeth, they don’t feel quite the same, so they will take some getting used to. In the first couple of weeks, you may develop some sore spots and produce more saliva as your mouth adjusts to the new dentures. You may also have a slight lisp at first, and talking may make you feel self-conscious, but reading and singing aloud when you’re alone can help you get more comfortable communicating with others while wearing your new dentures.
Dentures require different care than natural teeth, so you’ll have to become familiar with a new oral health care routine. Your dentist will give you clear instructions, but in general, dentures must be taken out, soaked, and gently cleansed daily in order to keep them clean and odor free.
Most people require at least a couple of tooth extractions before they can be fitted for dentures. Once the teeth are extracted, the gum tissue needs time to heal. This can take as little as a month, or as long as several months, depending on the individual. Custom-fabrication of the permanent dentures also takes time, so it is not possible to have permanent dentures put in on the same day as teeth removal. However that doesn’t mean you’ll have to go for weeks or months with no teeth! Your dentist will send you home with a set of immediate dentures on the day of your extraction. These will not have the same comfortable fit as your permanent dentures, but they will help to preserve the integrity of your mouth, protect your gum tissue, minimize facial distortion, and allow you to chew your food.
Yes, bottom dentures do take a little more time to get used to than upper dentures. Lower dentures tend to have more contact with the tongue, so they can feel a little more bulky before you get used to them. Starting with soft foods, taking small bites, and avoiding more challenging food altogether for a few weeks can help you gradually become accustomed to eating with your new dentures. Reading aloud can help you get used to speaking with them. But in general, it can also help to expect some discomfort in the beginning. Dentures are not natural teeth, and as frustrating as it may feel at first, you will get accustomed to them in time.
Although it is possible to wear dentures while you sleep, it’s not recommended as a regular practice. Taking your dentures out at night gives you a chance to clean and soak them for optimal oral hygiene and gives your gum tissue a chance to rest from the daily pressure of the dentures. If you do sleep in your dentures on occasion, however, be sure to take time during the day to soak and clean them thoroughly.
If your dentures feel loose, schedule an appointment with your dentist. When teeth are extracted and their roots are not replaced with dental implants, the jawbone begins to deteriorate. Because dentures replace only the surface part of the tooth, some jawbone shrinkage is expected. The slippage of loose dentures is both uncomfortable and embarrassing. If your dentures feel loose, it may be time to adjust or replace them.
Poor fit is the main reason upper dentures won’t stay in place. Sometimes, they haven’t been fitted properly to the roof of your mouth, and sometimes bone loss results in a poor fit later down the road. Talk with your dentist about what can be done to ensure a proper fit.
The cost of your dentures will depend on whether they’re complete or partial, and whether you opt for budget options or premium options. If you need teeth extracted, you’ll need to factor in that cost as well. Typically, a complete set of dentures can run anywhere from $300 to $2000 per plate or $1,000 to $8,000 for a full set. At University Dental San Diego, you can expect to pay an average of $2,000 to $4,000. When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Hage will be able to give you a clearer estimate once he has a chance to evaluate your needs.
Like anything new, eating with dentures will take some getting used to and may be uncomfortable at first. We suggest starting with soft food cut into tiny pieces, the eating version of “walking before you run”. Make sure to chew slowly and use both sides of your mouth until you get used to the dentures. Over time, you can add more variety to your diet, although you should remain cautious with hard foods, sticky foods, bones, shells and hot food. As a rule, with dentures you should avoid chewing gum or using toothpicks.
If you are missing close to all of your teeth, dentures may be the way to go. Get back to eating what you want when you want and smiling with confidence with dentures and partial dentures at University Dental. We house denture experts who can get you dentures that fit and look perfectly. We also offer All-On-4 dental implants, another more permanent solution for missing teeth. For more information, give us a call at (619) 582-4224.