When all of your permanent teeth need to be extracted from either your upper or lower jaw because of decay, periodontal disease or trauma, complete dentures are created in a dental lab to replace your missing teeth. Simulating your natural teeth, complete dentures allow you to eat, drink, and do other activities as you are used to. Apart from small additions to your oral hygiene routine, dentures are a carefree dental option to get back to your regular life.
Your dentist may need to remove some of your teeth to prepare your mouth for complete dentures. After the extraction, you may have to go home and heal before receiving your dentures or your dentist may choose to give you your dentures right away. Because your gums are likely to move during the healing process, if you receive dentures right away, they may need to be adjusted.
Over time, dentures can loosen because of the loss of gum tissue and jawbone that deteriorate when they no longer have tooth roots to keep them stimulated. Your dentist may recommend the use of dental products to keep them adhered to your gums. This will keep them in place and comfortable while you are eating and other every day activities.
An alternative to the adhering products is to have your dentures secured with implants that are placed in your jawbone and through a process called osseointegration take the place of a tooth root. Although your dentures will not be permanent and will still be removable, this allows you to lock them in, so to speak. Many patients find this to be a more secure, comfortable option, although it does require surgical implantation.
In either case, your dentures are easily removable for cleaning. Your dentist will discuss with you how to best clean your dentures and when. It’s important that you use the products they prescribe, particularly denture cleaners, rather than toothpaste. Although dentures are made to simulate your teeth, they are not made of the same substance and need to be treated differently.
Find out more about complete dentures at MouthHealthy.org.