Thanks to today’s denture materials and the techniques used to construct the appliances, it is virtually impossible to tell that someone has dentures. If you are missing multiple natural teeth — or all of your teeth — dentures offer a second chance to eat, speak, smile and laugh with the same confidence you enjoyed before tooth loss.
At La Jolla Family Smile Design, we make the process of getting dentures smooth and stress-free. We will design a custom set of dentures that complements your facial appearance and help you adapt to life with your dentures.
Types of Dentures
Complete dentures replace all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. The artificial teeth are held in place by a plastic acrylic base that covers the upper or lower gums. Partial dentures replace clusters of teeth in between existing natural teeth or restorations. Both kinds of dentures can be completely customized to your needs and should make it easy for you to speak and eat normally.
Implants can be removable or secured to dental implant posts. Removable dentures should be taken out at night to soak; implant-supported dentures are only removable by a dentist. Implant-supported dentures offer a greater amount of stability than removable dentures; the implant posts holding the dentures in place also keep the underlying jawbone stimulated so it does not shrink.
Denture Placement Timeline
The first step is an evaluation of your oral health and a consultation with one of our dentists to determine whether dentures meet your specific needs. We will examine your entire mouth to assess your current oral health and look for any signs of infection or other problems that need to be addressed prior to placing your dentures. Depending on your needs, we may have to extract one or more remaining teeth before fitting you for dentures. We will also take measurements and impressions of your mouth and select the color, shape and size of your replacement teeth. All of this information is sent to the dental laboratory that creates your custom dentures.
We can place temporary dentures so you do not have to go toothless while waiting for your permanent dentures. These dentures are secured in place with a metal wire (similar to a retainer) and removable.
When your custom dentures are ready, we will schedule a fitting for you to try on your dentures. We want to determine that your dentures enable full dental function or near-full function and control. Although it takes time to adapt to speaking and eating, your dentures should feel comfortable and secure in your mouth.
Implant-Supported Dentures Process
The process of placing implant-supported dentures is more involved, as it requires an oral surgery procedure. Generally the implant posts are placed in the jawbone and left to heal and integrate with the bone before being mounted with the custom denture appliance. Our implant dentist, Dr. Garry Bloch, can walk you through the steps of implant placement and create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Our dental team will provide complete instructions for the cleaning and care of your dentures. We are always available to answer questions or to make minor adjustments to improve the fit of your dentures.
Taking Care of Your Dentures
Much like real teeth, dentures require regular care so that they stay attractive and functional for many years to come. After each meal, you should rinse your dentures to ensure that food particles are removed. Dentures also need to be brushed daily — but skip the toothpaste since that can cause the denture material to erode prematurely. Each night, you should leave your dentures to soak in a glass of room-temperature water. This prevents the dentures from warping so that they continue to fit perfectly in your mouth.
Since dentures are customized to the preferences and needs of each patient, the price of dentures varies. After devising a dental plan with you, your dentist can provide a complete quote so that you know what to expect. Dental insurance may help cover some of the costs related to dentures. We can help you to review your plan to see what benefits you are entitled to. We accept financing options through CareCredit to help you make manageable payments toward any out-of-pocket expenses.
How do I get used to wearing dentures?
It is normal for patients to feel awkward when they start wearing dentures. It may take a few weeks for these new teeth to feel like your own. Our dentists remind you that practice makes perfect. If it seems challenging to talk or eat with your dentures, this feeling will go away with time. Soon enough you should not experience any of these hassles.
What are my alternatives to dentures?
If you have some natural, healthy teeth in our mouth, our dentists may be able to fit you with a dental bridge rather than dentures. A bridge uses crowns to connect to your natural teeth and then holds a row of prosthetic teeth in place for a complete smile.
Another option is placement of dental implants, which involves surgically attaching a titanium post into the jawbone to support a prosthetic tooth. Provided that your jawbone is strong enough, you can choose to replace as many teeth as you want with dental implants. However, many patients find this to be prohibitively expensive. Dentures or dental bridges are the more affordable options.
Will my friends know that I’m wearing dentures?
Dentures have dramatically improved in quality over the past few decades. While it used to be easier to spot false teeth in someone’s mouth, dentures now look more like real teeth than ever. You have the option of choosing a material and style that gives you a smile that is as attractive and natural-looking as you wish. Furthermore, when you choose the shade of your new teeth, you have the option of going blindingly white or with a more natural tooth color. Because dentures do not slide around as easily as they once did, they have become that much more difficult for others to spot.
How long do dentures last?
Dentures are not built to last forever. Most patients replace their dentures every seven to 10 years, though they can last longer with great care. Part of the reason for replacement is normal wear and tear, while another factor is that the shape of the jawbone can change since it no longer has teeth helping to keep it strong. Regular dental appointments are a good way to verify that your dentures continue to fit and function appropriately.
Contact Us Today for a Denture Consultation
If you are missing teeth and want to learn more about dentures, or if you are experiencing problems with your current dentures, please call or email our office today.