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Dentures (artificial teeth) are synthetic replacements for missing natural teeth. Some dentures replace a few missing teeth. Others replace all the teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues.
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.
Dentures cost between $1,000 and $3,000. 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 options. The best type for you depends on your oral health status and lifestyle.
Complete dentures or full dentures are used to replace 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.
Many people develop speech impediments with complete dentures. This is due to the thickness of the material covering the palate and poor neuromuscular control of the tongue and cheeks. The acrylic cannot be thinned significantly, as this will cause fractures over time.
Fixed partial dentures (FPD) or implant-supported bridges 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 dentures and removable partial dentures, 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. They can restore the natural look, feel, and function of the teeth and surrounding tissues.
Partial dentures 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.
Partial dentures 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, or 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 isn’t always the case. Overdentures can also be placed in the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both.
Overdentures 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, just like with conventional complete dentures.
Removable immediate dentures are placed immediately after your natural teeth are extracted.
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 per jaw. You cannot remove the denture yourself, but your dentist can.
Dentists don’t recommend economy dentures because they can harm your mouth and lead to poor oral hygiene. Economy dentures are premade, generic, and inexpensive.
Economy dentures aren’t custom-made for your mouth. They also require denture adhesive to keep them in place.
Dentures can be made from materials such as acrylic, 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:
Without proper care, dentures can easily chip or crack. Additionally, failure to clean them regularly can lead to plaque buildup and bad breath.
Here’s how to practice proper denture care:
You may 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.
According to one of NewMouth's in-house dentists, Dr. Khushbu Aggarwal, it's important to remember that it'll take time to adjust to dentures (just like a new pair of shoes). Be patient and follow up with your dentist with any questions or concerns.
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 of your mouth.
Never bite into an apple or a granola bar with your dentures, as it can cause them to dislodge.
Practice speaking aloud 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.
An adhesive can be used to soothe irritation. If your dentures aren't fitting properly, schedule 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. Here's the average cost of dentures without insurance:6
|Complete denture||$2,000-$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)|
Medicare doesn't cover dentures or other dental devices like partial dentures. 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.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about dentures. Dr. Aggarwal, one of NewMouth's in-house dentists, wrote or reviewed these answers.
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. Dr. Aggarwal says your face might have a sunken appearance after you lose teeth. Conventional dentures can provide lip and cheek support so your face has a fuller appearance.
If your dentures don't fit properly, you can use 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.
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