A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and the tissues connected to those teeth. It is made of acrylic plastic and sometimes porcelain and metal materials. A denture closely resembles natural gum tissue and teeth. Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while partial dentures fill in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevent other teeth from shifting position.
Complete dentures can be “immediate” or “conventional.” An immediate denture is a complete denture or partial denture that is inserted on the same day, immediately following the removal of the natural teeth. The immediate denture acts as a “Band-Aid” to protect the tissues and reduce bleeding after tooth extraction.
The conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed. However, some dentists may recommend more time before placing a conventional denture to allow for more healing time.
Who needs a denture?
Dentures are not just for elderly patients. Patients of any age may lose some or all of their teeth and may require a denture of some sort. Because teeth are a permanent part of the body, tooth loss can have an emotional impact on some people. It is important to talk to your dentist about any fears, anxiety, or other emotions you are feeling about tooth loss.
What happens when you get a denture?
The whole denture process usually takes about a month in which an initial diagnosis is made, impressions are taken, a “try-in” is placed to assure proper color, shape and fit, and the patient’s final denture is made in a lab followed by minor adjustments in the office to ensure a proper and comfortable fit.
New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new “teeth,” because even the best-fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. While most patients can begin to speak normally within a few hours, many patients report discomfort with eating for several days to a few weeks.