What are dentures?
Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are formed to your mouth and created by your dentists to replace lost or removed natural teeth. Dentures can either be full or partial, meaning they can either replace all teeth on either the top or bottom gum line, or just a few that are missing. Regardless of what kind of dentures you may need, they will be custom designed to fit your mouth, and visually matched to your existing teeth.
What are they made out of?
In the past, the artificial teeth that make up dentures were made out of porcelain or plastic, but more modern dentures are generally made out of a hard resin. The materials used to make denture teeth are known to be more fragile than natural teeth and can easily chip or crack if dropped or otherwise uncared for. This material also wears down much quicker than natural teeth and thus must be replaced with a new set of dentures every five years or so.
The supporting structure of dentures that holds the artificial teeth in place and resembles the natural gum line is often made out of a similar resin used for the teeth, or a more flexible polymer material that fits snugly on the natural gum line.
Why wear dentures?
Dentures not only improve the appearance of a smile that has multiple missing teeth, but they also keep the structure of the mouth sound by supporting the structures around the cheeks and lips.
Dentures also make it possible to eat foods that require chewing, making it possible to keep your diet the same and ensure that you are properly nourished. Lastly, dentures are a viable solution to replace teeth that are causing serious pain and oral health issues, such as those with rotted roots or severe damage. Having dentures fitted means that troublesome teeth are eliminated and replaced with a strong and beautiful alternative.
Partial dentures are often used instead of other tooth replacement methods when the surrounding natural teeth are not strong enough to support structures such as dental bridges, or when more than one or two teeth are missing.
The partial dentures are fitted to the part of the gum line that they will sit on, and fasten to nearby natural teeth to keep from falling out of place. They are not permanently fastened, however, and can be easily taken out at any time for cleaning and while sleeping.
How to clean dentures
To clean your dentures, take them out of your mouth and run clean water over them to dislodge any food particles that may be stuck between teeth, along the gum line, or underneath the structure. Then brush the dentures all over with a denture brush or very soft toothbrush using a mild soap or denture cleaner. Be sure not to use any other cleaners, regular toothpaste, or electric toothbrushes as these are all too abrasive and can damage and wear away the denture materials. After cleaning, make sure to rinse them well.
While your dentures are out of your mouth, be sure to clean your gums and any natural teeth with a very soft and wet toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste if needed. If your toothbrush is too harsh, wrap your finger in a wet, soft washcloth and gently rub your gums, making sure to cover all surfaces.
Preserving your dentures