Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into the mouth.
There are two types of dentures, full and partial. Full dentures are placed after all teeth have been removed. Partial dentures rest on a metal framework that attaches to remaining teeth in the mouth and are an alternative to bridges.
Dentures are custom made from impressions taken by a dentist of a patients mouth. They have a flesh-colored acrylic base that fits over the gums. The upper denture covers the entire palate while the lower denture is horseshoe shaped to accommodate the tongue.
The alveolar bone, which supports the teeth, reshapes as it heals, causing a need for dentures placed immediately to be realigned within several months. Even for those who wait until the healing process has completed before getting dentures, annual visits to the dentist are recommended.
Eating and speaking may take practice as the patient gets accustomed to dentures. New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks, possibly even months. Minor irritation, soreness and excessive saliva are normal.
Modifications will be necessary over time because dentures experience wear and tear, and patients mouths naturally change as they age. Realigning, remaking or making a new base are common needs for those with dentures.