A pair of dentures can help individuals with missing, stained, crooked and otherwise damaged teeth. Whereas a damaged smile can lead to withdrawing from groups, speaking in public and smiling, an attractive grin can boost confidence in social situations. If several teeth have problems, replacing them with high-quality dentures may be the solution to regaining confidence and having a beautiful smile. Here are some things patients should know when getting artificial teeth for the first time.
What are dentures?
These custom-made artificial teeth and flesh-colored acrylic gums are on a fitted base that can be removed and placed back into the mouth. Although they do not feel the same as natural teeth and take some getting used to, modern versions are more comfortable and natural looking than in the past. After a comprehensive dental exam and evaluation, the dentist may recommend one of four common types:
- Flexible partial
Natural teeth, lifestyle and personal needs help determine which type of dentures are the right choice for each patient. Age, chewing strength and the condition of the gums are also considerations for deciding the most appropriate option as well as the right materials for the teeth. Porcelain and acrylic resin are the most common artificial tooth materials used today.
Before extracting teeth and fitting the artificial teeth, the doctor typically explains each step of the process to the patient. Tips and advice for the time immediately following the process help patients remain calm and stay informed. This can include how to properly care for and clean the gums and new dentures, which are not as durable as natural teeth.
Impressions using bite molds are taken to ensure a tailored fit and correctly aligned bite. Patients are often involved in the process of selecting the color and shape of the teeth that are inserted into the base.
For the first few days after the fitting, the device may feel too heavy or large. This passes as the mouth, tongue and facial muscles adapt to the change. Talking and eating may also present temporary challenges. The doctor may make recommendations regarding the types of foods to start with, such as pudding, mashed potatoes and other options that are gentle on the gums.
Sore spots from the dentures during the first few weeks are normal. Rinsing with warm water can help, but if it does not, the dentist may need to make some minor adjustments. Many patients experience increased salivating in the adjustment period. This should return to normal within the first 30 days.
It is also during the first month that patients learn to use adhesive for an improved denture fit and feel. Adjusting may take longer if tooth extraction was recent or if the dentures are a full plate as opposed to a partial.
Dentures can give you the confident, healthy-looking smile you have always wanted. Choosing a dentist with experience and a nearby location can help ensure the process proceeds as smoothly as possible.
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