A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and the tissues connected to those teeth.  It is made of acrylic plastic and sometimes porcelain and metal materials.  A denture closely resembles natural gum tissue and teeth.


Complete dentures replace all of the teeth.  Complete dentures are "immediate" or "conventional".  An immediate denture is a complete denture that is inserted on the same day, immediately following the removal of the natural teeth.  The immediate denture acts as a Band-Aid to protect the tissues and reduce bleeding after tooth extraction.  The conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue and bone have healed.  Sometimes more time may be needed before fabricating a conventional denture.


Who needs a denture?


Dentures are not just for older patients.  Patients of any age may lose all of their teeth and require some sort of denture.  Because teeth are a permanent part of the body, tooth loss can have an emotional impact on some people.  It is important to talk to your dentist about any fears, anxiety or other emotions you are feeling about tooth loss.


What happens when you get a new denture?


New denture wearers need time to get accustomend to their new "teeth", because even the best fitting dentures will feel awkward at first.  While most patients can begin to speak normally within a few hours, many patients report discomfort with eating for several days to a few weeks.  To get accustomed to chewing with a new denture, start with soft, easy to chew foods.  In addition, denture wearers can often notice a slight change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow or minor irritation or discomfort.


How do you care for a denture?


Remove and brush the denture daily with a denture cleanser and a brush (one specifically designed for cleaning dentures or a very soft toothbrush).  When you are not wearing the denture, soak it in denture cleanser or water.


Should a denture be worn at night?


While you may be advised to wear your denture more for the first few days even while you sleep - under normal circumstances it is considered best to remove it at night and soak the denture in cleansing solution or water.  Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours either during the day or at night allows the gum tissue to rest and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva.  This promotes better long term health of the gums.