Posted December 31, 2010
A great smile can make a lasting impression. Unfortunately, some people rarely show a toothy grin due to embarrassment about unsightly tooth gaps, or imperfect teeth.
Each year in the United States more than 20 million teeth are extracted for oral health reasons such as accidents, in which teeth are knocked out or loosened, or tooth loss due to decay or periodontal disease.
Individuals with missing teeth often have difficulty chewing food or speaking. They may notice a change in their bite, which can lead to headaches and oral discomfort. And if gaps are not repaired, facial muscles may sag.
Fortunately, dentists can employ a variety of solutions to repair smiles such as partial or full dentures. A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. A complete denture is made when all of the natural teeth are missing, while a partial is used to fill in areas around natural teeth. Periodically, your dentist will need to make adjustments to dentures to ensure correct fit and wear.
If complete dentures are recommended, an immediate denture is initially made based on dental measurements and models of the jaw, and inserted into the mouth as soon as all of the teeth are removed. Since it often takes several months for mouth tissues to heal after teeth are removed, immediate dentures ensure that patients are not without teeth during this time. After the mouth is healed, conventional full dentures are made to fit into the mouth.
Dentures are made from delicate materials and may break if dropped. Dentists recommend storing dentures out of reach of children and pets.
Individuals with dentures are encouraged to maintain good daily oral health habits. Gently clean dentures each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, removing food deposits, plaque and stains. Before inserting dentures, brush your gums, tongue and palate to remove plaque and stimulate circulation in the gum tissues.
Denture wearers may notice a difference in chewing foods, or when talking with others. It may be helpful to chew small bites of food on both sides of the mouth, and to practice saying difficult words out loud.
Do you or someone you know wear dentures? How have the dentures made a difference in how often they smile? – Scott Delisi, Ameritas Group