Missing one or more teeth makes it difficult to chew and speak. You may also stifle your urge to smile and laugh if you are embarrassed about missing teeth.
Dentures and several other options are available to you if you would like to replace those missing teeth, and experienced Boulder dentist Dr. Michael Adler is personally committed to making sure you know all of your options and that you feel empowered to choose what's best for you. To schedule a free consultation at our cosmetic dentistry practice, please call our team at 303-449-1119.
What are dentures?
Dentures have played an important role in tooth replacement for centuries. This removable fixture can restore the smile, speaking, and chewing function via a lifelike arch of artificial teeth set on an acrylic base. Tooth loss doesn’t only affect the mouth and the smile; it affects the lower face as a whole. Without a full, healthy set of teeth, the facial muscles can sag and sink inward, making the face look older. Dentures help fill out the area around the cheeks and mouth to support a naturally-attractive profile.
Types of Dentures for Missing Teeth
There are 4 basic types of dentures:
- Full Dentures
- Partial Dentures
- Implant-Supported Dentures
- Neuromuscular Dentures
Many factors influence which of the types may be options for you. One of the most important factors is how many teeth are missing. Other things that commonly influence the decision of our guests are affordability, expectations of how the results will look and how the dentures will function.
Full dentures are made to replace a full arch of teeth, while a partial denture is used in combination with natural teeth to replace less than a full arch of missing teeth. Implant-supported dentures attach to dental implants placed in the bone beneath your gums. These dentures provide great durability and stability. As an experienced neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Adler provides neuromuscular dentures that are fitted very specifically to your teeth and jaws, so they hold the jaw in its most relaxed and functional position.
How long can dentures last?
Dentures can last an average of 10 years. Replacement may need to occur sooner in some cases. Sometimes, they last up to 15 years. Patients should not base denture replacement on timeline. Fit is the most essential aspect of denture success. Regardless of the type of dentures you get, your mouth will change to some degree over time. As this happens, your dentures may start to feel different. Don’t wait until your dentures are uncomfortable to see your dentist. Maintain checkups every 6 to 12 months so your dentist can evaluate the fixture for fit and structural integrity. An examination should also be scheduled at the first sign of changes or irritation, such as gagging or rubbing. Changes in denture fit don’t always mean it’s time for replacement. Often, it is just a matter of a minor adjustment or two.
Who is the ideal candidate for dentures?
Due to ongoing improvements over the years, dentures make a worthwhile solution for many adults. Modern dentures are lifelike and made to complement the natural structure of a person’s face, as well as their complexion. Advanced modeling and treatment planning have also made dentures more reliable than ever before.
Most people who have experienced extensive tooth loss or damage can be a good candidate for dentures. The objective of treatment is to achieve the best possible fit. This is typically not difficult for upper-arch replacement because the fixture is stabilized by natural suction against the palate, the roof of the mouth. Dentists must pay very close attention to the lower jaw, however. This area has less surface for dentures to adhere to. The lower arch is also susceptible to resorption, the breakdown of natural bone structure. WIthout sufficient bone structure, there is a risk that a traditional denture may come loose, making it difficult to chew and speak. Fortunately, there is a solution. Patients who do not have enough bone to support a traditional denture may be well-suited to implant-supported dentures. A comprehensive consultation and examination helps us determine the best approach.
How can I maintain my dentures?
Regardless of what you do, your dentures will need to be replaced at some point. How soon that is necessary depends on several factors, including how well you maintain them. Optimal denture care consists of:
- Handle with care! When inserting, removing, and cleaning dentures, always do so over a soft surface. For example, a towel placed over the sink and counter.
- Clean your dentures regularly. Your dentures must be removed nightly, which is a great time to rinse and brush them just as you would your natural teeth. Take care to use lukewarm water, an approved denture cleanser, and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Regular toothpaste is too abrasive for dentures. It can cause scratches that invite bacteria and stains so should be avoided.
- Soak your dentures nightly. The reason dentures must be removed nightly is because they must soak overnight in room temperature or cool water. Soaking dentures prevents the acrylic and other materials from drying out and changing shape.
- See your dentist. Your dentist is your teammate in maintaining dentures for as long as possible. Dental visits evaluate fit and the general condition of the fixture so uncomfortable problems do not occur.
Can dentures be whitened?
Dentures are made of high-quality dental ceramics. They look like natural teeth but are composed differently. Therefore, while dentures can become discolored and stained, they do not respond to teeth whitening toothpaste or treatments. Whitening chemicals could damage the denture so should be avoided. The stains that develop on dentures are typically a buildup of plaque or debris on the outer layer of the fixture. The good news about this is that, with good daily cleaning and soaking in water, stains are unlikely to occur. Furthermore, if your denture were to look dull or discolored, it may be revived with professional polishing.
Are there any food restrictions when using dentures?
There are no significant limitations to what people can eat and drink when they have dentures. During the initial adjustment period after getting a new denture, a patient may be encouraged to eat softer foods that are easier to chew. This can help them acclimate more comfortably to their new teeth. While dentures are reliable enough for most foods, you may always need to avoid substances that are sticky or extremely hard. Examples include caramel, taffy, carrot sticks, and popcorn.
What Makes Our Dentures Services Different
Dr. Adler is an extensively trained and experienced neuromuscular dentist. Using neuromuscular principles, he makes sure your dentures not only replace your missing teeth, but also place your jaw and jaw muscles in a relaxed position and preserve the shape of your face. The neuromuscular technology used in your dentures treatment plan is -
- TENS electrical massage: The ultra-low frequency therapy of TENS relaxes the muscles of your jaws and neck. TENS therapy is an important part of identifying the optimal position of the jaw where it is most relaxed, and TENS therapy also provides several hours of pain relief.
- K7 evaluation system: This technology measures, tracks and records jaw movement and function. Dr. Adler uses the K7 device to measure jaw and muscle movement, and to hear the popping and other sounds your jaw is making. All this data is used by Dr. Adler to determine the most relaxed, optimal position of your jaw.
Incorporating this advanced technology enables Dr. Adler to determine your most optimal and comfortable bite position. The dentures are fabricated to maintain this bite position. Dr. Adler's advanced dentures customization will not only improve your teeth function and abilities to chew and speak, but also provide a rejuvenated facial shape because of the way your dentures maintain the fullness of your lower face.
If you want to restore the appearance, strength and function of your smile with our dentures services in Boulder, Colorado, please call Adler Advanced Dentistry at 303-449-1119 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.