When you have lost some or all of your teeth, dentures or removable partial dentures are one way to rehabilitate the mouth, and be able to chew properly, speak clearly, maintain your oral and overall health, smile with confidence, support the structure of your face, and even have romantic relationships.

Deciding which type would work best for you over the long term requires a full dental examination and proper assessment of your unique mouth. We start with a physical check of your mouth, using x-rays to give another dimension of information needed to see the jawbone and roots of teeth that may be remaining; those x-rays have minimal radiation exposure. We will go through your dental hygiene habits, along with your needs and desires.

Removable dentures fit over your gums, whether as a partial or a full coverage version, and are an inexpensive and convenient option to replace missing teeth. Usually we take an impression mold of the area for the partial/full denture(s) and the appliance is then made based on those impressions typically through a few steps. 

If you are rigorous about taking care of your removable dentures, they can work well for a while, typically 5-10 years before needing repair/replacement. Wearing dentures, oftentimes, does cause some wear on the bones in the jaws that are supporting them due to pressure caused by the dentures during function. Only dental implants can stop the natural wear of the bone as they work like a post that holds the bone around them. It is possible to have dentures that are supported by implants to both stabilize the dentures as well as preserve the underlying bone for a much longer time. 

Whether you have implants or not under your dentures, it is good practice to have your gums and dentures checked once a year to ensure that there are no issues such as irritation, sores and also have your dentures cleaned professionally. A more rigorous approach is needed of course for partial dentures that are supported by natural dentition. If those teeth are not maintained well, not only would they have issues needing repair but also potentially the partial denture. 

Removable dentures should be taken out after every meal, snack, or drink (except plain water) and brushed with a very soft toothbrush or at least rinsed with water. You should use toothpaste to brush and floss any remaining teeth and the gums to make sure your mouth is clean, to avoid periodontal disease in the case of partial dentures being supported by your natural dentition. If you can, also swish a dentist-approved mouthwash around your mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out. The same principle applies for dentures that are supported by implants. We see patients who don’t clean around the implants; if those are not cleaned, there will be periodontal issues around them, resulting in the loss of implants long term. 

Dentures/partials should not be worn all the time. They need to be removed for the gums/teeth to breathe, similar to needing to take your shoes off and not wear them all the time. Those that keep wearing their dentures or partials constantly and even at night time in sleep, always have gum issues and in severe cases the gum becomes necrotic and peels off. So, at night time, you should place the dentures in a denture cleaning solution ideally and in the morning rinse them with water before starting the day again. 

Yes, this is a fair amount of work, but well worth it to be able to chew, speak, and smile normally for years. If you decide you want to advance to the next level of dentures, ask your dentist about the benefits of having them held in place by dental implants.

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