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Missing teeth? Dentures can help your mouth’s appearance, function, and health

Elderly CoupleAppearing toothless in public is not anyone’s idea of fun. With or without teeth, your mouth can change slowly as you get older. If you have no teeth, on average you lose 1/3 mm of jawbone height each year.

As your jawbone shrinks, so do your gum tissues (ridges). Ridges can shrink up to a 1/4-inch over a ten-year period. When this happens, some facial support is lost. This why people with no teeth often have deep wrinkles around the mouth and a sunken look to their cheeks and lower face.

You don’t need to be old to require dentures. If you have lost teeth to gum disease, or have poor oral health due to situations like avoiding the dentist because of fear or lack of funds, dentures can help you replace missing teeth to improve your appearance, and your oral health.
Missing teeth also come with health impacts such as the inability to chew and digest food properly. If you have missing teeth and are interesting in learning more about the types of dentures and their benefits, read on.

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The benefits of dentures

Dentures have been an effective tooth replacement treatment for countless individuals, and can be fit to be comfortable for you. Although they are not as ideal as your natural teeth, they are definitely better than no teeth.

Your dentist should be able to offer you a range of tooth shapes, colours, and materials to help you get the most comfortable, appealing denture possible.

Why is a good fit so important?

If your dentures don’t fit well, they can slip, rub or become loose. Here are a few common signs you may have ill-fitting dentures:

  • Pain or sore spots
  • Extra wrinkles around your mouth
  • Clicking, whistling, slipping, or chewing problems
  • Slurred speech
  • You need to routinely use denture adhesive and/or pads
  • You begin to feel uncomfortable with the appearance of your dentures

Your denture should fit you comfortably, and function well. A well made denture should suit your individual looks, age, complexion and facial features.

Types of dentures

Complete dentures
Complete dentures, also known as full dentures or “false teeth”, are used when all your natural teeth are missing. Held in place by suction, complete dentures are removable. Complete dentures come in two types: conventional and immediate.
What are immediate dentures?
DentureAn immediate denture is one that’s fabricated before the removal of your natural teeth and inserted immediately after. The main advantage of an immediate denture is you won’t need to spend any time without teeth. Other advantages are:

  • It can be easier to replicate your natural teeth while they are still in your mouth
  • The immediate denture can protect your gum tissues and reduce bleeding after your teeth have been extracted
  • When your teeth are removed, your speech can change. With an immediate denture you won’t need to learn to speak without a denture and then later relearn with a denture
  • With an immediate denture you’ll be able to chew better than without teeth
  • Inserting a denture immediately after tooth extraction can minimize the facial distortion that sometimes occur when teeth are removed

It’s important to note that immediate dentures can cost more and initially, may not fit as well as a conventional denture, which is made after your gum tissues have healed.

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Partial dentures
DentureA removable partial denture or bridge is typically made of replacement teeth attached to a pink, or gum-colored plastic base. The base is then connected by a metal framework to hold the denture in place in your mouth.

Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed (permanent) bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space, and attaching artificial teeth to them. The bridge is then cemented into place.

A partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture, which is more natural looking, is removable and has internal attachments instead of clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns.

A bit about bite balance

Dentures should be made to fit precisely into the optimal position for your jaw, facial and neck muscles, and teeth. This is to ensure you can chew effectively and speak clearly. The emphasis on form and function can help your dentures be as comfortable and natural looking as possible.

Stop hiding your smile!

Dentures have a long track record as a good tooth replacement option when decay, disease or tooth loss become a problem. No matter what your age, tooth loss and dental hygiene problems can negatively impact your life. Could dentures help you? A discussion with your Edmonton dentist will help you find out.