Perhaps you remember the childhood sight of your grandfather’s false teeth sitting on a bedside table. Dentures today are nothing like old-fashioned false teeth, and they are far more comfortable, affordable, and easy to obtain. Some people choose to get rid of their teeth if they have chronically problematic, crooked, or rotting teeth and get dentures instead, sheerly for the low-maintenance nature of dentures.
Two general types of dentures are available, depending on your dental needs: full and partial dentures. Full dentures provide you with a full set of teeth, while partial dentures are available if you need to replace just some of them. Full dentures can be either immediate or conventional. Here are the differences you should know about between the main denture types.
Full conventional dentures
The base of a full conventional denture set is acrylic in a natural skin tone. This material covers your gums – the top set covers the roof of your mouth, while the bottom is horseshoe-shaped to allow your tongue a natural range of movement. If you choose this type, you will be without teeth for several months as any teeth in your mouth are removed and your gums are allowed to heal. After this time, you can get your dentures. Many people prefer to avoid this option now so that they can have teeth for the months that they are healing.
Full immediate dentures
A set of full dentures placed immediately into your mouth is convenient, but can be a hassle a few months later. They need to be relined once the bone that your teeth used to be set into has healed, as it will change shape as it heals. You will never have to be without teeth (as long as the dentist has already measured your mouth in a prior visit), but the dentures may be loose until they are lined up properly after your mouth has healed.
If you only need a few teeth replaced and don’t want to pull the rest yet, this is the perfect solution. There is a metal frame for these teeth that you attach to surrounding teeth, and partial dentures therefore function much like a removable bridge. These dentures may be anchored by crowns. If you have crooked teeth, a dentist may recommend you get partial dentures for these teeth, if they cannot be otherwise straightened or aren’t worth saving (if they are rotting, for example).
Any type of dentures will take adjustment, as the teeth may be stronger, in a slightly different place, or may just feel different. Your mouth and tongue need time to adjust, and it might feel like your dentures are too bulky or loose at first. These sensations should wear off as you get used to your dentures, however. You will also need to keep your dentures clean to avoid gingivitis, plaque buildup, and other oral health problems.
Today’s dentures come in several varieties. It may take time to adapt to whichever set of dentures you choose, but you have options that your grandpa never did. As long as you ensure you don’t break, dry out, or warp your dentures, they can last for years before you need to reline, rebase, or replace them.
Marissa Mayer is a retired orthodontist and avid blogger. You can read her helpful articles mainly on dental and health blog sites.