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Dentures (artificial teeth) are synthetic replacements for missing natural teeth. Tooth decay, gum disease, facial injuries, and aging can lead to tooth loss.
Dentures are designed to help fill out your facial profile and improve your appearance. They also make it easier to eat, chew, and speak regularly.
Some dentures replace a few missing teeth. Others replace all teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues.
Dentures cost between $650 and $4,000. Most full dental insurance policies cover up to 50 percent of the cost of dentures.
There are many different types of dentures available. They come in removable and fixed forms. The best type for you depends on your oral health status and lifestyle.
Complete dentures are also called full dentures. They're replacements for entire sets of teeth.
Most dentists will try to save at least some natural teeth before recommending full dentures. But complete dentures are usually necessary if all other options have been exhausted.
Dentures are made of acrylic resin and are only supported by remaining hard and soft tissues. They are not as stable as natural teeth or implants, which are anchored into the bone.
Many people also develop speech impediments with complete dentures. This is due to the thickness of the material covering the palate and neuromuscular control of the tongue and cheeks with the new prosthesis. The acrylic cannot be thinned significantly, as this will cause fractures over time.
Fixed partial dentures (FPD) are also called implant-supported bridges. FPDs replace a few missing teeth in a row with two dental implants and a prosthetic tooth or teeth in between. They are permanently glued or screwed into the mouth.
Implant-supported bridges are ideal for patients who have three or more missing teeth in a row. Unlike complete and removable partial false teeth, implant-supported bridges are not removable.
Removable partial dentures (RPD) only replace some missing teeth in your upper or lower jaw. RPDs can be removed at any time and replaced easily. They can restore the natural look, feel, and function of teeth.
They consist of false teeth and a gum-colored base made of acrylic. The base is attached to two or more clasps that hold the denture in place. Clasps are made of either metal or flexible pink plastic and hook onto the adjacent teeth for increased support.
They are commonly recommended for people who aren't good candidates for an implant-supported bridge. This includes people who can't undergo surgery.
An overdenture, also called an implant-supported denture, is held in place on top of your gums by dental implants. Most overdentures are held in place with at least four implants, but this is not always the case. Overdentures can also be placed in the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both.
They have more stability and chewing function than conventional dentures. However, you must remove them every night to clean them and allow your gum tissues to rest.
After all of your teeth are extracted, you must wait at least 6 to 8 weeks before traditional dentures are placed. This gives your mouth enough time to heal.
Removable immediate dentures are placed directly after your natural teeth are extracted.
Although convenient, immediate dentures are more challenging because they are not molded to your gums. They also don't look as natural and require more upkeep.
These temporary dentures are ideal for patients who have sensitive gums and teeth. The denture can be worn for a few weeks before placing a permanent denture to provide a smoother transition.
All-On-4 implant dentures are ideal for patients who need a complete set of dentures. They replace all missing teeth in the upper and/or lower jaws using four dental implants. You cannot remove the denture yourself, but your dentist can.
Dentists do not recommend economy dentures because they can harm your mouth and lead to poor oral hygiene.
Economy dentures are premade, generic, and inexpensive. They’re not custom-made for your mouth. A denture adhesive is also necessary to keep the dentures in place.
Dentures can be made from materials such as acrylics, porcelain, and plastic. The material used is chosen based on the patient’s needs and preferences.
Here's how dentures are made:
Tooth loss is the main reason people get dentures. There are a few primary causes of tooth loss, including:
You are also at a higher risk for tooth loss if you:
It's also important to have enough jawbone structure and healthy gum tissue. False teeth need sufficient support from natural tissue to remain in place for a long time.
Denture materials are more delicate than natural teeth. If dropped or poorly cared for, dentures can easily chip or crack. However, with proper care, dentures can last a long time.
Dental plaque buildup on false teeth can lead to bone loss, bad breath, and stomatitis (inflammation of the soft tissue lining inside the mouth).
Another risk factor for poorly kept dentures is an oral thrush fungal infection.
To prevent these conditions, practice proper denture care:
You need to repair or replace dentures when:
Here are some tips for adjusting to new dentures:
Your dentist or prosthodontist will provide aftercare instructions. Make sure you follow them carefully to ensure proper healing and comfort.
If you have removable dentures, refrain from removing them too often. It's essential to wear them throughout the day to get used to them quickly.
"Regardless of the type of denture you choose with your dentist, keep in mind that any new prosthesis will take time to adjust to. Just like it takes your body time to get used to a new pair of eyeglasses or shoes, your mouth will need time to get used to your new prosthesis," says Dr. Khushbu Aggarwal, one of NewMouth's in-house dentists. "Be patient and always follow up with your dentist with any questions or concerns. They are there to help."
For the first few days post-op, only eat soft foods to prevent additional discomfort.
According to Dr. Aggarwal, once you are more comfortable, you can cut harder foods into small pieces and eat them on both sides towards the back. Never bite into an apple or a granola bar with your dentures, as it can cause them to dislodge.
Practice speaking out loud to exercise your facial muscles and prevent unwanted speech issues. Singing can also help you form words correctly.
Brush your dentures and gums regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and bad breath.
A denture adhesive can be used to soothe any irritation.
If you notice that your dentures aren't fitting properly, set up an appointment with your dentist. Adhesives can't fix poorly-fitted dentures, says Dr. Aggarwal, and shouldn't be used as a crutch.
Most full dental insurance policies cover at least some of the cost of dentures.
According to Carefree Dental, the cost depends on the chosen type and individual insurance coverage policies. Here's the average cost of dentures without insurance10:
|Complete denture||$1,300-$3,000 (upper or lower, not both)|
|Temporary (immediate) denture||$1,500-$3,200 (upper or lower, not both)|
|Partial removable denture||$650-$2,500 (upper or lower, not both)|
|Implant-retained denture (overdenture)||$1,500-$4,000 (upper or lower, not both)|
|Snap-in denture||$1,500-$4,000 (upper or lower, not both)|
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about dentures. These answers have been written or reviewed by Dr. Aggarwal, one of NewMouth's in-house dentists.
Partial dentures cost $650 to $2,500 for an upper or lower denture, not both.
Medicare doesn't cover dentures or other dental devices like partial plates. Medicare Advantage plans sold through private insurance companies may provide dentures and other dental care coverage.
Medicaid coverage varies by state. This document detailing Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits from the Center for Health Care Strategies Inc. provides an overview.
Contact your state's Medicaid department for more information.
Denture materials include acrylic, metal, nylon, and/or plastic.
Dr. Aggarwal says dentures should be cleaned with a liquid soap without microbeads, not toothpaste. They are very abrasive and can scratch dentures.
Gently brush the dentures with a soft denture brush to remove plaque. Soak them in a commercial denture cleanser liquid overnight.
In the morning, brush them again before you insert them. To remove calculus, they can be soaked overnight in white vinegar diluted with water. Full-strength vinegar is too acidic and can damage teeth from acid erosion.
According to Dr. Aggarwal, implants can be used for a variety of dentures, including implant-retained or supported prostheses.
Most dentures can be worn throughout the day but should be removed at night, says Dr. Aggarwal.
Yes, you can eat with dentures in your mouth. It may be difficult to eat at first but you'll get used to them over time.
Dr. Aggarwal says it is always better to cut up harder foods and chew them on both sides of the back of your mouth, rather than biting into an apple or granola bar with your front teeth.
Dentures can change the way you speak at first. Your voice might also sound different (but only to you). This is because the sound travels to your ears through vibrations in the skull and jaw. Dentures increase this sound, but only you will notice the change.
Dentures change the appearance of your smile. If you had many missing teeth, especially in the front, dentures will improve your self-confidence.
Your face might have a sunken appearance after you lose teeth, says Dr. Aggarwal. Conventional dentures can provide lip and cheek support, so your face has a more full appearance.
You'll go back in to get your permanent dentures once your mouth fully heals, says Dr. Aggarwal.
If your dentures don't fit properly, you can use denture adhesive to keep them in place temporarily.
After you adjust to your new dentures, visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine check-ups. This is the same for patients who don't have dentures.
Your dentures may feel bulky and uncomfortable at first. This is normal and will get better over time as you adjust.
Many people experience speaking, chewing, and eating difficulties during the first few weeks.
Extra saliva flow is also common.
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