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What are "dentures"?

Facts About Dentures

Ronald Rosenblatt, DDS (General and Cosmetic Dentistry) gives expert video advice on: Are dentures painful?; How can I keep my dentures from shifting in my mouth?; What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a denture adhesive? and more...

What are "dentures"?

Dentures are a prosthesis made by the dentist to replace the teeth in your mouth, indeed usually all or most of the teeth in your mouth. It used to be that the average age in the United States for people having dentures was 35 years old. It has now gone considerably up as people are doing more to keep their teeth. Also, the materials used to create dentures have changed dramatically. We now use plastic materials, porcelain and plastic teeth that look and chew like natural teeth to make dentures.

How will a dentist make my dentures?

If you are without teeth and need dentures, go to see the dentist and he will take an impression of your upper and lower jaw. Then he will make measurements to make sure that the jaw opening is correct, the size of the teeth are correct and the support of all your oral structures is correct. Then you and he will decide on the colour of the dentures. Once it's placed, after several visits, you'll have your dentures that hopefully will replicate what you had before.

Will my dentures look and feel like real teeth?

While your dentures may go a long way towards looking like natural teeth, they're not going to feel like natural teeth. The main area where your dentures are not going to feel the same is on the roof of your mouth which needs to be covered now that you have dentures, and was not covered when you did not have dentures. Also, the dentures are going to have to come down lower, alongside your tongue, and very often will get in the way when you move your tongue from one side to the other. Dentures will not feel just the way your natural teeth did. And unfortunately, they will not chew just the way your natural teeth did. Dentures at best will chew about 20% as effectively as your natural teeth. But sometimes 20% is enough to get by.

Are dentures painful?

If the denture does not fit well, it may press in areas and cause pain. We have to remember that the gums were not designed to hold a denture. So by having a denture as large as possible and covering as much area as possible, no one area gets an excessive amount of pressure and there's going to be less incident of pain. All that said, if you get something under your denture it is going to be painful. You have to make sure that your dentures are kept clean at all times.

Is it difficult to eat and/or speak with dentures?

Speaking with a denture, initially, is problematic. You may sound like you have marbles in your mouth, because you have something more in your mouth than you had before, when you had your natural teeth. This is especially seen on the roof of the mouth, where you didn't have anything before, and so your tongue is going to be in a different place when you pronounce certain letters than it was when it touched the roof of your mouth. The same problem will be up around your tongue as you try to enunciate certain things after getting dentures. However, within a few weeks, you can accommodate to this and be speaking the way you did before you had the dentures fitted.

What are the different types of denture adhesives?

There are several types of denture adhesives. There are powder, there is paste and there are even some plastic materials that you heat up to act as denture adhesives. The important thing is to keep the adhesive as thin as possible so it doesn't slide upon itself. You'll get maximum retention with the thinnest layer possible of the adhesive.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a denture adhesive?

The main advantage of using a denture adhesive is that it can give you a little more confidence that your dentures are going to stay in place when you either speak or eat. The major disadvantage is that people tend to use adhesive when they actually need to go back to the dental office and have their denture relined. The danger here is that a denture that doesn't fit well and a lot of denture adhesive is going to cause the ridge or tissue to reabsorb, and be less retentive than it was initially. As a result all that's holding it in is the adhesive, and not the denture, and there's very little suction. The most important thing is the constant maintenance of your dentures.

Are denture adhesives safe?

As long as you're not using denture adhesive when you should be having your denture reline, denture adhesive is safe. Most of the denture adhesive are a weak type paste and so are very safe even if you swallow it.