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Cosmetic Dentistry: Dentures

Cosmetic Dentistry


If you are missing several teeth, or have several badly damaged teeth that can no longer be saved, then dentures may be a solution for you.  Dentures are custom-made replacements for missing teeth.  They are natural-looking false teeth that fit over your gums after your natural teeth are removed.  Dentures come in many configurations, but they are all designed to contain gum-colored acrylic base and false teeth.  Dentures can be removed and put back in your mouth.

Dentures can restore the functionality of your mouth so that you can eat and speak properly.  This can protect your digestive health and give you confidence when speaking in social situations or when you just want to flash a warm smile.  And because they are custom built based on impressions of your mouth made before your teeth are removed, they are designed to be a perfect fit for you.

There are several types of dentures including partial dentures, conventional (or traditional) full dentures, immediate full dentures, and overdentures.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are used to replace groups of teeth or a few teeth scattered across either the lower or upper jaw.  Partial dentures attach to remaining teeth using a metal framework that clamps to surrounding teeth and are an alternative to fixed dental bridges.  Partial dentures have a gum–colored portion to help them blend in with your existing gum and they also have attached false teeth to replace your missing teeth.  Unlike fixed dental bridges, you can remove partial dentures to clean them each day and easily snap them back into place again.  The stability of partial dentures makes them ideal to restore your ability to speak and eat properly if you have some healthy teeth left.

Full Dentures

Conventional dentures are placed in your mouth after your teeth have been removed and the gums have healed.  The healing may take several weeks or even months and you would be without teeth on the affected jaw.  Full dentures have an acrylic base that fits over your gums, and if the denture is for your upper jaw, it will also cover the roof of your mouth (palate).  Lower dentures are horseshoe shaped to accommodate the tongue.

Immediate Full Dentures

For immediate full dentures, the measurements and molds of your mouth will be done in advance and the denture created before your teeth are extracted.  Immediately after your teeth are extracted, the denture will be inserted into your mouth and you’ll leave wearing it.  The advantage of an immediate denture is that you never have to go without teeth, but on the other hand, they’ll need to be relined at least once as your jawbone reshapes and the swelling goes down after your tooth extraction.


Overdentures are a newer alternative that combine conventional dentures with dental implant technology.  After your teeth are extracted, two or more implants are placed in the jawbone.  After the bone grows around them and anchors them, then the dentures are affixed to the implants for much stronger attachment, stability and comfort than can be achieved with conventional full dentures.  This is especially important for lower jaw dentures because conventional dentures don’t adhere as well due to the limited foundation used to accommodate the tongue and because the tongue pushes against the lower denture and can dislodge it.  The implants also help maintain the structure of your jawbone so there isn’t as much bone loss and the shape of your face is better maintained.


Tips for Proper Denture Care

After you’ve received your dentures, you can extend their life and preserve their beauty by caring for them properly.

When handling your dentures, hold them over a folded towel or other soft surface because they are delicate and can easily break if dropped.

Don’t let your dentures dry out when they are out of your mouth.  Place your denture in a glass of plain water or water mixed with a denture cleaning product when you are not wearing them.  But be sure that the water is not too hot as that can warp your denture.

Brush your dentures daily using a soft toothbrush.  This will not only keep them fresh and clean, but it will help keep them from becoming stained over time.  You should also brush the rest of your mouth as normal including your tongue and the roof of your mouth before reinserting your dentures.

Ultrasonic denture cleaners can be used as part of your regular care for your denture, but don’t let that stop you from also giving them a daily brushing.

Always visit Dr. Thomas at least once a year to have your denture and the fit checked professionally.  And don’t attempt to make adjustments to your denture on your own as that can damage them.

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