In the past, replacing lost teeth meant getting dentures or bridges. Even though these offered the best way at the time to restore your mouth’s appearance and function, technology has improved through the development of dental implants. The main drawbacks of bridges and dentures is that they do not feel or look just like real teeth, and it is difficult to chew tough foods. The advantage of implants is that they look and perform so well that you can’t even tell they are not your natural teeth.
Made from titanium, dental implants are screws that are surgically placed directly into your jawbone. They are light and malleable, but durable and strong. The titanium screws are implanted into your jawbone and given time to heal. Once healing is complete, one or multiple crowns are placed on top of the implant to recreate your missing teeth. One implant can hold more than one screw, so it is possible to attach as many crowns as needed to replace your missing teeth.
Dental implants look so much like real teeth that others won’t even be able to tell that you have any artificial teeth. You might even forget about it yourself, as they feel real as well. Since the implants are securely placed in your jaw, they are as strong as real teeth and you are able to chew and bite anything that you would normally eat. Another great thing about implants is that they don’t impact any of your adjacent healthy teeth. While bridges and dentures can sometimes damage neighboring teeth because those teeth are necessary for support, implants avoid this problem. You are left with a fully restored and comfortable smile.
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If you have been living with a mouth full of badly decayed teeth, infected gums or painful tooth infections, your dentist may have talked to you about how dentures can transform your smile. While no one wants to extract all of his or her teeth and have no remaining natural teeth, if your teeth have been a source of pain and embarrassment to you for years, having a beautiful new set of dentures could sincerely change your life.
Dentures are very natural-appearing replacements for an entire mouth of missing natural teeth and gum tissue. Dentures are removable and can be cleaned thoroughly each day, unlike examples like dental crowns or dental bridges that are permanently affixed to your mouth.
Badly decayed teeth and other oral issues can lead to chronic pain that spreads from the mouth to other areas of the face, head and neck. This pain can disrupt your life, leaving you irritable and moody, causing you to isolate yourself. Pain medications can lead you to feel groggy or off-balance, affecting your interactions with others in a negative manner. Once those teeth are removed and any underlying infection is addressed, you will be shocked at how much better you feel. The absence of this once-ongoing pain will feel as though you are free of a great burden you hadn’t realized you were carrying.
Years of poor oral health might have left you unwilling to smile broadly, or to be uncomfortable in public speaking, laughing or eating and drinking. You may avoid friends and family and you might choose not to form new relationships easily. Once your damaged teeth have been removed and you have been fitted for dentures, you will be amazed at the “new you.” The bright, perfect white smile that greets you in the mirror may look like a movie star’s smile, but in fact, it’s your smile. With your new dentures, you can feel confident as you move through life.
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If your teeth are badly damaged from decay or facial trauma, or if you have several missing teeth, your dentist may recommend removable prosthodontics to solve your dental problems. Periodontitis (advanced gum disease), bone loss or serious tooth decay can leave you as a poor candidate for restorative options such as dental crowns, dental bridges or dental implants. Removable prosthodontics can restore your smile so that it looks and functions as it should and can restore your confidence as you eat, smile and laugh.
Just hearing the word “dentures” might give you pause, reminding you of your older relatives, but achievements in dental restorative therapies enable your dentist to craft a removable prosthodontic for you that will not only look, but will feel like your natural smile.
Removable prosthodontics include:
- Partial dentures correct gaps when only a few of your natural teeth are missing. A partial denture may be the best choice if your remaining teeth aren’t strong enough to support a dental bridge.
- Overdentures provide restorations when one or more of your natural teeth are in place in an arch – typically two teeth for a bottom overdenture and four teeth for an upper overdenture.
- Immediate dentures are put in place following an extraction, allowing the bone and gums to recover following an extraction procedure. They prevent the adjacent teeth from collapsing upon the empty space and affecting your bite.
- Complete dentures are for edentulous patients (patients with no teeth at all) and are designed to replace all of the teeth in one or both arches of your mouth, restoring your smile and your ability to eat and speak clearly.
Because of advancements in materials and techniques, many dentures can be mistaken for natural teeth. Only you – and your prosthodontist – will know your secret. Talk to your prosthodontist today to see what removable prosthodontics can do for you. Don’t wait to begin enjoying your life with your new, healthy smile.
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Thanks to advances in dental technology, dentures are more natural looking and comfortable than ever before. If you are one of the many adults wearing dentures to replace missing teeth, there are several do’s and don’ts you will want to follow to ensure they maintain their fit and your oral health:
- Do take your dentures out before going to bed, allowing your mouth tissues to rest from wearing them all day.
- Don’t let your dentures dry out. Soak them in mild denture solution or water while you sleep.
- Do clean them daily with either a mild detergent or special denture cleaning solution and a soft-bristled brush.
- Don’t soak them in very hot water, as this could cause them to warp, and they will no longer fit properly.
- Do handle them with care. Dropping your dentures or treating them with strong cleansers or harsh brushes can do permanent damage.
- Don’t neglect your oral care for the rest of your mouth. Even patients with a full set of dentures need to take care of their gums, and if you have partial dentures you should continue to brush and floss your remaining teeth regularly.
- Do pay attention to changes in the fit or feel of your dentures. Problems with fit can lead to irritation and discomfort, and could also be an indication of gum disease.
- Don’t try to adjust or repair your dentures on your own. If your dentures are ill-fitting or damaged in any way, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have them evaluated.
- Do continue to see your dentist for regular checkups to help maintain your best oral health and check your dentures for fit and function.
If you are missing all or some of your teeth, dentures can greatly improve both your appearance and the quality of your life. By following these simple guidelines, you can maintain the beauty and functionality of your dentures for many years.
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Most of the time, the idea of dentures brings to mind elderly people who are missing a mouthful of teeth. The truth is that dentures are not just for old folks, but for people of all ages who have lost teeth for some reason. Gum disease, tooth decay, and trauma from an accident are all common reasons for tooth loss. There is no need to suffer through life with gaps in your smile, when you can opt for dentures to restore both appearance and function.
The main reasons that many people consider getting dentures include:
- Eating – your teeth help you to chew and eat food. Dentures serve the same purpose, allowing you to eat a normal diet without having to stick only to soft foods or liquids.
- Speaking – when the gaps in your smile have been filled, your ability to speak more clearly and easily is improved.
- Smiling – replacing missing teeth gives you back your self-confidence to smile and laugh again. You will be proud of your new smile and be willing to display it more often. Also, your cheeks will have a fuller look and your appearance may look younger.
When you get dentures, expect that it may take some time to get used to them. They may feel strange at first, and you should be patient while you learn to talk and eat with them. Time will help you adjust to the dentures, but if discomfort lingers you should visit your dentist to make sure the fit is correct and no adjustments are necessary.
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Denture technology has come a long way since the days of George Washington and his wooden teeth. Unfortunately, people still lose teeth for a variety of reasons including periodontal disease, trauma, and decay. Missing teeth make talking and eating difficult, and can ultimately cause sagging facial muscles. However, with today’s advances in technology it is more possible than ever to replace those lost teeth with natural and comfortable dentures.
Complete dentures cover both upper and lower jaws. The options for complete dentures range from immediate dentures to highly customized implant dentures. Immediate dentures are pre-made and available at your dentist’s office. They are not custom fitted and are set into gum sockets immediately upon removal of your teeth. While these offer the convenience of walking immediately out of the dental office with your new teeth in place, once gum tissue heals and swelling reduces they may shift and become loose. This issue requires follow-up visits for your dentist to make adjustments. People with immediate dentures may also have difficulty speaking, or experience a “clicking sound” when talking.
Conventional full dentures can be made 8 to 12 weeks after tooth loss or removal. Once the gums have healed, your dentist takes a series of impressions of your mouth to be sent away to a dental lab to create your dentures. This process may require multiple visits to your dentist to ensure a proper fit and correct bite. While this process takes longer and is more involved than immediate dentures, you will achieve a more secure and personalized fit. Both conventional and immediate dentures require the use of denture adhesives to keep them securely in place.
For an even more custom, natural looking and secure denture option, implant dentures are an excellent alternative. With implant dentures, small implants are placed in the jaw where they heal in place surrounded by the bone. The denture then snaps into the implant with attachments under the denture. These attachments keep the denture stable, providing more comfort and confidence. You do not have to worry your dentures will slip or fall out while you are eating, talking, or laughing. Implant dentures do not require the use of any denture adhesives.
Talk to your dental professional to determine the best use of denture technology to ensure many years of a confident and comfortable smile.
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