Dentures – Milwaukee WI

Replacing missing teeth with dentures is important for maintaining the aesthetics of your face. Without the structure of the teeth as support, your cheeks & jaw may start to sag, leading to a more aged appearance. Dentures replace this structure & therefore reduce some of the negative aesthetic effects of tooth loss.

senior couple smiling outsideWhile dentures are an effective replacement for your teeth when it comes to the appearance of your face & smile, when it comes to function, they are a prosthetic replacement. Just like someone with a prosthetic limb may have limited function compared to a real limb, dentures function differently from natural teeth.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures consist of a plastic base that is molded & colored to look like gums. This base holds a full set of artificial teeth. In the past, these teeth were sometimes made of porcelain but now they are most often made from a plastic acrylic. The color of both the gums & tooth parts of dentures are customized in order to ensure that they look as natural as possible in your mouth.

Dentures are false teeth for someone who has no remaining teeth. What we commonly refer to as dentures are often called complete dentures. In contrast to partial dentures, which just replace a few teeth, complete dentures replace an entire arch of teeth (all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw).

Dentures on your top jaw typically cover the ridge of bone where your teeth used to be & the roof of your mouth (what dentists call the palate). Top dentures are held in place by suction between the palate & the denture. Because there is less for them to hold on to (no palate), dentures on your bottom jaw are not quite as secure & may take a little more getting used to.

Traditional Complete Dentures

Traditional complete dentures are removable & it is not recommended that they be worn at night. This gives your gums a chance to rest & allows your saliva to naturally lubricate your gums & the rest of your mouth. Dentures need to be cleaned overnight using special denture toothpaste & a soft-bristled toothbrush or denture brush. A frequent cause of denture breakage is accidentally dropping them on the hard surface bathroom counter or sink. Therefore, we recommend laying out a towel or filling the sink basin with water while you clean your dentures. Dentures should be soaked overnight in a denture solution to keep them moist as drying out may cause brittleness.

The stability of dentures varies from person to person, so the variety of foods that denture-wearers are able to eat also varies. The dentist can go over with you what foods should be avoided or need to be eaten differently (such as cutting meats into smaller pieces for ease of chewing). Speaking while wearing dentures sometimes takes getting used to, especially when forming “s” or “th” sounds. Any speech difficulty usually passes with practice.

Complete Dentures Procedure Overview

The procedure for getting dentures is fairly simple but may take multiple appointments.

  • The first step is for the dentist to take a mold or scan of your gums.
  • From this mold we will make a model of your mouth so that we can create a denture that fits every small ridge or contour of your jawbone & gums.
  • While your denture is being created, we may send you home with a set of immediate dentures that you will wear in the meantime for comfort & appearance.
  • When the denture is finished being fabricated you will come back in & we will check the fit & make any final adjustments.
  • We will also educate you about wearing & caring for your dentures to ensure your mouth stays healthy & your dentures last as long as possible.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are false teeth for people who have lost some but not all of their teeth. Partials are typically made from acrylic (plastic) or a combination of acrylic & metal framework. The pink base of the denture is colored to match your gums & the false teeth will be matched to your existing teeth. Your partial will be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth in terms of appearance.

Partial dentures are secured in your mouth by clipping onto your existing teeth. In partials where the base structure is made of metal, the clips will be made from metal. This type of partial is also called a cast partial & it tends to be both thinner & more durable. However, the metal clips on a cast partial may be visible when a patient smiles, depending on which teeth are present & which are being replaced. In partials where the entire structure is plastic, sometimes called a flexible partial, the clips will also be made of plastic. These plastic clips are less likely to show up when the patient smiles.

Partial Dentures Procedure Overview

The process for creating a partial is very similar to the process for other forms of tooth replacement, such as dentures or bridges. Here is a basic outline of how partial dentures are created.

  • First, an impression of your mouth is taken by having biting down on a tray of mold-making material or by using an intraoral digital scanner.
  • From the mold a cast is made, giving the dental technician a replica model of the remaining teeth to design the custom partial onto.
  • Depending on how many remaining teeth you have, the dentist may measure your bite to see how your upper & lower jaw relate to each other when closed. This helps ensure a good fit.
  • The dental technician designs & engineers the partial denture based on the model of your mouth.
  • The dentist will invite you in to try on a wax mock-up of the partial denture design & will make any necessary adjustments to the fit, shape & appearance.
  • The dental technician makes the final partial by pouring a solid piece of acrylic (in the case of flexible partials) or by pouring acrylic around the metal frame in the case of cast partials.
  • The dentist will invite you back to try on your final partial & make sure it’s hugging onto your remaining teeth comfortably & securely. If the fit is good, you will be able to wear your new partial home. If not, the dentist will make adjustments until it’s right.

Just like complete dentures, partials are removable & should not be worn at night while sleeping. Removing your partial at night gives your gums a chance to rest & allows saliva to wash your gums, which helps maintain the healthy flora in your mouth. Your partial denture should be cleaned every night as well using a soft toothbrush, denture brush, & denture toothpaste. (Don’t forget to brush the rest of your teeth & the portions of your gums the partial rests on with toothpaste & a soft bristle toothbrush!) Your partial should be stored overnight in a denture solution to disinfect it & keep it moist, which helps ensure its longevity. Before you go home with your partial denture we will give you a full lesson on how to clean it & care for it.

With partial dentures you will have your smile back & will regain chewing & biting ability, giving you the chance to enjoy foods that you may have had to avoid when you were missing teeth.

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