Have you suffered from tooth loss? You’re not alone! Almost 200 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and more than 35 million don’t have any teeth at all. Here at Cashmere Family Dentistry, we know that replacing your teeth can be a difficult process, and we want to help you restore your natural smile. Our team provides compassionate care in a comfortable environment using custom-fit dentures that match the size, shape, and color of your own teeth for a seamless dental solution. If you have experienced tooth decay, a traumatic injury, or gum disease that has resulted in the loss of some or all of your natural teeth, getting dentures can help you improve your appearance, your oral health, and your quality of life as well. Let’s take a closer look at what dentures are, how they work, and how they can benefit you and your smile!
What are dentures?
Dentures are custom-made removable appliances that replace your missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They can be taken out and put back into the mouth, and are an excellent option for those looking for a more cost-effective solution than implants. Today’s dentures are better than ever, and are specially designed to fit naturally within your smile, giving them an appearance that is virtually indistinguishable from regular, healthy teeth.
The different types of dentures
There are two main types of dentures: full dentures and partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all the teeth are missing and partial dentures are used when only some teeth are missing.
A full denture is generally made up of an acrylic base that fits over the gums, an upper denture base that covers the roof of the mouth, and a lower horseshoe-shaped denture that accommodates the tongue and keeps the denture secure. A full denture is worn for most of the day, then removed at night for cleaning purposes. A partial denture is essentially the same as a full denture, but is clipped on to the remaining teeth.
Dentures can be made out of porcelain or acrylic resin. Porcelain dentures are able to very closely resemble the natural teeth, making them easy to match to any remaining teeth. This also tends to make them easier for patients to adapt to. However, porcelain dentures are more prone to breakage, and can also wear down any remaining natural teeth. For this reason, they work better as a full denture rather than a partial denture.
Dentures that are made of an acrylic resin are often able to adhere more securely to a denture base, easier to adjust to the position of the teeth when the jaw is closed, less expensive than porcelain, and nearly weightless. Acrylic dentures do wear down faster than porcelain, and must be replaced every 5-8 years or so. They can also cause changes in the way teeth make contact with each other.
A full list of dentures
There are a wide range of dentures that fall under the full and partial categories, such as:
Conventional full dentures: As mentioned above, a full conventional denture is used when all the teeth are missing, or when any remaining teeth have been removed. First, impressions will be taken to make a diagnostic cast. A wax rim is then placed into the mouth to establish a proper bite and the orientation of the teeth. At this point, any extractions that are needed will take place, followed by a 3-6 month healing period. During this period, you will have no teeth, but a flipper is available. This partial denture is cosmetic in nature, and will allow the tissues to continue healing. Once the healing process is complete, you will come into our Wenatchee office to try on your dentures. If you adequately care for them, conventional dentures can last for many years.
Immediate full denture: An immediate full denture are made in advance, and inserted the same day the teeth are removed. Prior visits with one of our dentists will give them the opportunity to take measurements, extract molars, and take impressions of your jaw and bite along with a wax bite. Your dentures will be made to order, and you’ll need to try them on to be sure everything is as it should be before delivery. On delivery, your interior teeth will be extracted, and the denture will be inserted. With this denture, you won’t be without teeth at any point, but you will have to come back in for an adjustment once the tissue shrinks and heals. This usually occurs about six months after the procedure.
Partial denture: Removable partial dentures are custom-made to fit your smile seamlessly. The framework is made out of metal and clasps that connect to your remaining teeth that are used for a seamlessly natural look. We may recommend you have crowns placed first to anchor the partial denture for a better fit. For an alternative to metal-based denture, removable flexible dentures are an aesthetically pleasing option that allow the natural gum color to show through. They don’t require denture adhesive or metal clasps to hold them in place.
Implant-supported denture: As the name implies, this denture hooks onto implants, screw-like titanium posts that are embedded in the jawbone. This latching system ensures the denture stays firmly in place, enabling it to function much like your natural teeth. These dentures come in both removable and non-removable options.
Removable over-denture: This denture can attach to conventional dental implants, mini-implants, or to a bar that is connected to conventional implants. It is removed after meals, at night, and in the morning for cleaning.
Non-removable fixed dentures: Non-removable fixed dentures stay in your mouth all the time, and are cared for just like regular teeth, through brushing and flossing daily. Although they are permanent, they can be removed by an experienced dentist if needed.
The cost for dentures will vary depending on the type and the material used, plus any related treatments such as extractions, implants, or crowns. For example, implant-supported dentures will generally be more expensive than a full denture, and acrylic resin will be more affordable than porcelain.
We want to make sure every patient we see is able to get the dental treatment they need, including dentures. If you need help with this, we’re proud to partner with CareCredit, a third-party financing company that offers loans for dental care at low to no interest rates. For your convenience, we also accept cash, checks, and most major credit cards.
How to care for your dentures
To keep your dentures looking their best and functioning as long as possible, it is important to properly care for and clean them. We recommend you:
- clean your dentures after eating – After eating, remove your dentures and rinse with warm water to remove any remaining food particles. If you have permanent dentures, you will simply brush like you would with your natural teeth.
- brush your dentures – Take your dentures out and brush them at least once a day with a non-abrasive denture cleanser.
- soak your dentures – After removing your dentures, soak them in water or a mild denture-soaking solution overnight. Avoid solutions with chlorine as it can weaken your dentures.
- rinse your dentures – After soaking your dentures overnight, be sure to rinse them to remove any remaining chemical solution.
- avoid using any whitening toothpastes- Whitening toothpastes can be very abrasive, and have the potential to damage the delicate materials in dentures, shortening their longevity.
- monitor how your dentures fit – Loose dentures can lead to irritation, sores, and infection, so if you feel yours slip, have become loose, or if you notice changes in your bite, make an appointment with us as soon as possible.
- regular dental visits – Whether you have a full or partial denture, it’s important to keep up with regular dental visits every six months. Talk to one of our doctors about how often you should have your dentures professionally cleaned, examined, and have your mouth checked to make sure everything is healthy.
Reclaim your smile with Cashmere Family Dentistry
If you are ready to reclaim your natural smile, Cashmere Family Dentistry are a family-centered practice specializing in general, cosmetic, and restorative dental services. We have three talented, experienced dentists who are willing and able to meet you wherever you are in your dental health journey. We provide compassionate care and use the best in dental technology and technique to give you the most optimal results. If you are in Wenatchee or the surrounding area and want more information on how our dentures can change your smile and your life, get in touch with us today. We can help you get your beautiful smile back!