A denture or a complete denture as it is often called, is an appliance that is inserted in your mouth that replaces your natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips.
Most dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways.
• A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed. Usually for replacement dentures.
• An immediate denture is fabricated and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture. Soft relines are needed until your tissue stops shrinking in about 9-18 months.
• An upper denture has acrylic, usually gum colored, that covers the palate (roof of the mouth).
• A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue.
The teeth are made of high grade plastic, porcelain or a combination of both. A complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Dentures over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The average denture is replaced every 5-7 years. It is very important to have a well fitted denture so the underlying bone shrinks less rapidly.
The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. The best way to avoid maximum shrinkage is to get dental implants under dentures. The dental implants keep bone stimulated so it resorbs more normally.
Regular dental examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change every 12 -18 months.