Are you looking into getting dentures? As you age, tooth loss is not uncommon and one solution to this problem is dentures. This is not a minor procedure, however –…

Smiling With Dentures
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What to Expect When You Get Dentures

Are you looking into getting dentures? As you age, tooth loss is not uncommon and one solution to this problem is dentures. This is not a minor procedure, however – it requires several dentist visits and can cost thousands of dollars. But if you have lost a lot of teeth, this option offers many oral health benefits. If you are getting or thinking about transitioning to dentures, keep reading so you know exactly what you can expect from the procedure.

Do You Need Dentures?

Dentures are used as a replacement for natural teeth. A dentist may recommend a complete denture if you have lost all or most of your teeth. A partial is also available if you still have some natural teeth remaining.

Dentures are beneficial for many reasons. Teeth play a large role in your oral health, and without them you may experience difficulty eating, speaking and a lack of facial support. The purpose is to replace teeth in performing these functions:

  1. Improve chewing ability and speech
  2. Provide support for facial muscles
  3. Improve appearance

If you think dentures would be a good fit for you, talk to your dentist about your options.

The Procedure

Getting dentures is a lengthy procedure. It typically takes 4-5 dental appointments over a period of a month.

The first appointment will be a diagnosis. The dentist will determine what kind of appliance will best suit your dental needs. At the second appointment, your dentist will make an impression of your mouth to mold the dentures from. The impression will help determine the vertical dimensions and jaw position for the dentures.

Dentists Putting In Dentures

Photo by NAIT Denturist Technology/ CC-ND

After they have been made, you will go back in for a “try-in” appointment. The dentist will put the dentures in and check them for color, shape and fit and make note of any adjustments that need to be made.

The last appointment will be the actual placement. The dentist may make some final, minor adjustments during this appointment. Once the denture is placed, the dentist may schedule a follow-up appointment.

Complete dentures typically cost between $1,500 and $2,500 per piece (upper or lower). Fortunately, part or all of the cost is covered under most insurances. If your insurance plan does not cover dentures, check out this article for more options.

The Adjustment Period

New dentures take some getting used to. It will feel awkward at first, and it is not unusual to experience some difficulty speaking and eating. Typically, people begin speaking normally after a few hours, but may experience discomfort while eating for up to a few weeks. Start with softer foods during this adjustment period to make eating easier.

Dentures will also cause a change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow and possibly minor speech difficulty. All of these things are normal and just take some getting used to; however, if you have any concerns, contact your doctor.

Caring for Your Dentures

Dentures require a lot of care. Here are some tips to help you provide the best care for your new teeth and oral health.

  • Dentures are fragile, so handle with care to avoid breaking them.
  • Remove your dentures and brush them daily to keep them clean.
  • Do not use boiling water to disinfect them as it can cause warping.
  • To clean your dentures, use a brush and cleanser or toothpaste specifically for dentures to prevent scratching them.
  • If you have a partial, remove when brushing to keep your gums and natural teeth healthy.
  • When you are not using your dentures, soak them in a cleanser or water.
  • For better gum health, remove dentures for 8 hours a day (day or night), unless otherwise instructed by your dentist.
  • Be careful with using adhesives – prolonged exposure can result in bone loss.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Over time, your bone changes shape and dentures will need to be adjusted.
Dentures

Photo by Kathy McGraw/ CC

Between the lengthy procedure, the cost and the amount of care required, dentures may seem like a hassle. However, if you truly need dentures, the benefits to having them make it worth the effort to maintain them. If you have any questions about dentures, talk to your dentist.

If you have dentures, what else would you add to this list?

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