Losing teeth for whatever reason can deprive you of the opportunity to enjoy life. Without teeth, the bone deteriorates, and facial muscles sag, making you look older. Your diet also suffers, and it becomes challenging to communicate clearly. The good news is that there’s a solution for tooth loss. Even though lost teeth can’t grow back, there are dental appliances that can replace them, making you appear as though you never lost them in the first place. Dentures are one of these appliances.
At Washington Dental, we have dental professionals who take pride in fabricating dentures that fit securely and resemble natural teeth, helping patients enjoy a renewed quality of life. Call us if you are looking for denture placement services in Lomita, CA, and the surrounding areas, and we’ll be glad to help you.
Dentures are also commonly referred to as false teeth. They’re removable prosthetic devices made to replace missing teeth. They’re designed to fit snugly with the size and shape of the patient’s jaws and sit across the gums supported by the surrounding hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. Dentures are made from various materials, including metal, nylon, acrylic, resin, or porcelain. Some dentures are meant to replace only a few missing teeth, while others replace all of your teeth, surrounding tissues, and gums.
Facial injuries, tooth decay, and gum disease can cause tooth loss. Based on the number of teeth you have missing, dentures could be a necessary option. When you have missing teeth, your facial muscles may sag with time. Dentures are designed to assist in filling out your facial profile and improving your appearance. Additionally, they make it easier for you to speak, eat, and chew regularly.
Types of Dentures
There are several different kinds of dentures, but they generally fall under two primary categories— partial and full (complete) dentures. Partial dentures are for patients who have a few of their teeth missing, whereas complete dentures are for those missing all their teeth. The different types of dentures under these two main categories include:
Conventional dentures aren’t made and fitted until eight to twelve weeks after tooth extraction, when the gum tissues have healed. Once healing has occurred, your dentist starts the fitting process by taking several impressions and measurements.
Immediate, unlike conventional dentures, are fitted on the same day, right after the extraction of your natural teeth. You will not need to wait for several weeks to heal after tooth extraction to have your dentures. However, gums and bones shrink with time, particularly during the healing period after tooth extraction. Thus, one of the disadvantages immediate dentures have over conventional ones is that they need several adjustments to fit correctly during healing. Generally, immediate dentures are deemed a temporary option until the dental lab makes conventional dentures.
Implant-Supported Dentures/Overdentures/Snap-On Dentures
With these dentures, a dental implant is used to support them. They are longer-lasting than other types of dentures. During their installation, an oral surgeon surgically attaches six or four implants into your jawbone. The implants are then allowed time (usually three to six months) to integrate with the bone tissue properly, a process known as osseointegration. After integration has taken place, the surgeon attaches a unique set of dentures to the implants. Implant-supported dentures are further classified into two: fixed/permanent implant-supported and removable implant-supported dentures. If you have removable implant-supported dentures, you’ll need to remove them for cleaning and maintenance, while you can’t remove fixed implant-supported dentures without the dentist’s help.
Materials for Dentures
We mentioned that dentures are made from a wide range of materials. The specific material used to make your denture framework depends on the type of denture you’re having placed. For instance, partial dentures may use an acrylic base with metal clips, whereas complete dentures may be made from acrylic but may use metal or acrylic gum attachments. Nylon can also be used instead of acrylic. These materials come with their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s have a look.
Nylon is the most advanced of all the materials used to make dentures. The benefits of nylon-made dentures include:
They generally don’t cause allergic reactions.
Provide more ergonomic value. That is, dentures make daily activities of speaking and eating easier.
Nylon has greater malleability making the dentures less susceptible to wear and tear and breakage.
They don’t need more metal hooks to keep them in place. They have inbuilt hooks which make denture adjustment easier and make the dentures look esthetically pleasant and natural.
Dentures can be made from a combination of two metals— chromium and cobalt. The teeth and base are metal-made, but the tooth’s visible part has an enamel-colored tint, whereas the gum is made from pink-colored metal. Dentures made of metal are slim and sturdy and attach to the gum easily. They’re also durable and don’t upset the natural alignment of the remaining teeth. One con of these dentures is that they are more expensive than porcelain or acrylic dentures. Therefore, they are an option only if you can afford them.
Acrylic is a gum-resembling material that the dentist can mold per the desired design and shape to replace original teeth. It’s the most popularly used material among denturists. Also, it’s usually the regularly sought material, especially for partial dentures, although it could also make complete dentures. Metal hooks are used for the adherence of acrylic dentures to the gums. The dentures adjust along with the surrounding teeth and stay affixed. Acrylic dentures are more durable than other materials. They also weigh and cost less compared to porcelain dentures. Even though it’s durable, the acrylic material is susceptible to wear and tear, thus, requiring replacement after every five to eight years.
Porcelain is glass-resembling material with translucent qualities that make it feel natural. Therefore, it’s ideal for the more visible front teeth. Dentures made of porcelain are heated to make them more durable. Nevertheless, this is an abrasive material and thus unsuitable for partial dentures that touch teeth when chewing. Porcelain-made dentures can be color-matched to suit your smile, resist stains, and give a natural look since they resemble the tooth enamel. On the other hand, however, these dentures are sensitive to hot or cold foods and are irreparable after they crack. They are also not recommended for persons who grind their teeth.
How Dentures Are Made
The development process for dentures takes several appointments over several weeks. After your prosthodontist or dentist determines what kind of denture is ideal for you, these are the steps that follow:
The dentist takes measurements and impressions of your teeth/jaw
The dental lab then uses the impressions to make models of your mouth
The lab technician and dentist slowly start molding the dentures on these models while transferring them to your mouth at every step to make sure they obtain a proper fit and bite and ensure denture’s esthetics and appearance are desirable.
Generally, the dentist will need to see you once a week for approximately four to five weeks until they finish building the denture. You’ll then have to go back to the dentist occasionally during the first month of denture completion for the dentist to make adjustments.
The dentist can make immediate dentures to have something to put on immediately after your teeth are extracted. Immediate dentures are built before tooth extraction and placed the same day tooth extraction takes place. At times, the posterior teeth are extracted first then the anterior teeth are left intact until the day the dentures are delivered.
Your prosthodontist or dentist will direct you on how long you should have the dentures on and when you can take them off. For the first few days after being fitted with the dentures, they may ask you to wear them at all times, including when you sleep. Even though this could be uncomfortable, it’s the fastest way of identifying the parts of the dentures that need adjustment. After your dental specialist makes the adjustments, you should take off the dentures before sleeping. This enables gum tissue to rest as well as allow regular stimulation and cleansing by the saliva and tongue. You can wear the dentures again the following day.
After denture placement is over and your dentures are intact, you’ll need to make check-up appointments. Your prosthodontist or dentist will tell you how often you need to go for a check-up. However, every six months is the recommended duration. Regular dental visits are critical, so the dentist can examine your mouth and dentures to ensure a correct fit, look for any indications of oral diseases such as cancer, and so the teeth can be professionally cleaned.
The Feeling of New Dentures
New dentures might feel loose or odd for some weeks until the tongue and cheek muscles learn to have them intact and you’re comfortable removing and inserting them. Additionally, minor soreness and irritation may occur, and saliva flow may increase when you initially begin wearing the dentures. However, these problems diminish as your mouth adjusts.
Eating and Speaking With Newly-Fitted Dentures
Eating with newly-fitted dentures takes a bit of practice and can be uncomfortable for some weeks. To get used to your new dentures, begin with eating soft foods. Chew slowly with the two sides of the mouth. As you continue being used to the dentures, add more food types until you resume your usual diet. Be careful with hard or hot foods, as well as sharp-edged shells or bones. Also, avoid very sticky foods, and don’t chew gum or use toothpicks when wearing dentures.
After being fitted with dentures, it may be difficult for you to pronounce given words. If this is the case, practice by uttering the difficult words out loud. With more time and practice, you’ll be accustomed to talking properly with the dentures on.
If the dentures click when you’re speaking, reach out to your dentist. Occasionally, dentures may slip whenever you smile, cough, or laugh. Reposition them by gently biting down and swallowing. Should any talking problem persist, consult your dental specialist.
Denture Adjustment, Repair, and Replacement
During check-up appointments, your dentist will ensure a correct denture fit by adjusting the ill-fitting ones. Don’t try adjusting or repairing dentures yourself. Also, don’t bend the metal attachments or clasp yourself, as this may weaken the metal framework. DIY repair kits may permanently damage the dentures, while over-the-counter glues may have harmful chemicals.
If dentures don’t fit properly, they can cause sores and irritation on gums and in your mouth. Ensure to contact your dentist should a denture crack, chip, or break, or loosen. They’ll often repair or adjust them right away. If it’s a complicated repair, your denture will have to be taken to a special lab.
With time, your dentures will have to be remade, rebased, or relined because of usual wear and the natural age-related changes to the jawbones, gums, and face, or if they loosen. To rebase or reline a denture, the dental specialist will refit the base or make a new one and reuse the existing denture teeth. Generally, a complete denture should last five to seven years before the need for replacement.
Taking Care of Dentures
You must take proper care of your dentures both for their health and that of your mouth. The following are tips for caring for dentures:
Take good care of the dentures when not wearing them. Dentures have to remain moist, so they do not lose their shape or dry out. When you don’t have them on, place them in water or a denture cleanser soaking solution. But if they have metal attachments, these attachments could tarnish in a soaking solution. Your dental specialist will advise you on what to do. Never put the dentures in hot water. It can make them warp.
Clean them using a denture cleaner. You could use mild dishwashing liquids or hand soap. Avoid household cleansers as they might be highly abrasive. Also, don’t use bleaching agents since they may bleach the pink part of the denture, making it white. Alternatively, you could try an ultrasonic cleaner — A small bathtub-resembling device containing a cleaning agent. You place your denture in the bathtub then sound waves form a wave motion that removes the deposits. However, an ultrasonic cleaner doesn’t replace the daily brushing you must do.
Brush and rinse them daily — However, do not use toothpaste because it’s abrasive and creates microscopic scratches that can harbor plaque and food debris. Like original teeth, you have to brush the dentures daily to eliminate plaque and food debris. Brushing also aids in preventing denture staining. Use a soft-bristled brush designed for denture cleaning. Avoid brushes with hard bristles since they can wear down or damage dentures. Brush the denture surfaces gently and be cautious not to bend attachments or damage the plastic. In between the brushings, rinse the dentures after every meal.
Handle dentures extremely carefully. So you don’t drop them, stand over a sink/basin full of water or folded towel whenever handling them.
The Cost of Dentures and Insurance Coverage
Complete dentures in California cost between $2,000 to $20,000, depending on the type and quality of the materials used. Added to this cost are the tooth extractions, lower and upper arches, and preparations. The price for partial dentures ranges between $400 to $1,800 based on the number and location of teeth and the type of material used. Overdentures are more expensive than immediate and conventional dentures because of the surgery and aftercare needed to place the implant.
Most dental insurance companies cover all or some of the cost of dentures. However, reach out to your insurance provider to know the specifics of what they’ll cover.
Advantages of Dentures
Dentures come with several benefits, including:
Improved quality of living — If some or all of your teeth are missing, the day-to-day chores of talking and chewing become challenging. Additionally, little things like talking, biting, and chewing are usually taken for granted. Thus, when they require much effort from your end, you may be frustrated. Dentures help with talking and normal chewing. This means when you have them on, they’ll eliminate the minor annoyances caused by missing teeth, making you adjust better within your environment.
You can control teeth restoration costs — Dentures have proven to be friendly to your pocket. They’re available in different types and can usually be made per your needs. Complete dentures are available if all your teeth are missing, and you can use partial dentures if you’re missing only a few of your teeth. That’s why they’re highly cost-effective.
Long-lasting — Even though not very costly, dentures can last for a long time before you’ll need to change them. That’s why they’re convenient as a tooth replacement option.
Confidence building — One of the first things a person notices about you is your smile. Without a beautiful smile, your level of confidence will reduce, which, in turn, affects your social life. When you have missing teeth, your smile won’t be as beautiful. Dentures can restore your smile and, in most cases, give you a better smile than you had with your natural teeth.
Denture adhesives are powders or pastes that may be placed on/in dentures to help them stay in place. Ideally, denture adhesives are not used. However, they can be recommended if you have problems related to wearing dentures. Denture adhesives can be used under these circumstances:
To provide more security and stability for people who place unusual demands on facial muscles, for instance, musicians or public speakers.
To help people with dry mouth-causing conditions that lessen denture adherence, for instance, people with neurological disabilities, such as stroke, the elderly, and those taking cold medications.
To improve satisfaction with properly constructed dentures. Adhesives enhance stability, retention, force, bite, and a person’s sense of security.
Denture adhesives are safe, provided they’re used as instructed by the dentist. If the dentures are fitting correctly and the adhesives are only used for additional stability, there shouldn’t be any adverse effects. But if the adhesives are excessively used to fill spaces for ill-fitting dentures, they can harm the underlying hard and soft tissues. At times, in these scenarios, soft tissue inflammation can occur. Additionally, since they move on the underlying bone and soft tissue, ill-fitting dentures can cause bone loss.
Alternatives to Dentures
Apart from dentures, there are other ways to replace your missing teeth— using dental implants or dental bridges.
A dental implant is a metal post inserted into the bone of the lower or upper jaw. The metal post is then used to replace a single tooth by attaching an implant crown to it. Alternatively, it can be used to replace multiple teeth by affixing a bridge to several implants. Dental implants are the most costly tooth replacement option. However, they mimic original teeth better compared to any other available options. And even though they’re an alternative to dentures, not everybody is a candidate.
A dental bridge is a prosthetic tooth held in place by a dental crown that is cemented to the neighboring teeth or an implant. Dental bridges are made from zirconium, gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain fused to gold. They can replace only about two to three teeth in one row based on the location of the missing teeth. Because bridges are usually cemented into place, they’re more permanent than removable dentures. You also may not need to undergo the implant process if you have healthy surrounding teeth.
Find a Dentist Specializing in Denture Placement Near Me
At Washington Dental, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful smile that would make them feel and look their best. Everyone also deserves to enjoy life by being able to communicate clearly and eating a recommended healthy diet. If you have missing teeth, all these may not be possible. However, all is not lost. Dentures can help you restore your smile and the opportunity to enjoy life. We will choose the type of denture that matches your mouth and lifestyle so you can have a comfortable fit. We also use modern techniques that help us achieve the best possible outcome. Call us today at 310-326-5183 for our services. We serve patients seeking denture placement and other dental services in Lomita, CA, and the surrounding cities.