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Dental Care - Why Choose Dentures

Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth and may replace all the upper

and/or lower teeth, or just a few, in which case one speaks of a partial denture. It appears as though the demand for dentures has dwindled, especially given the introduction of new tooth-implant technology, but not everyone is a suitable candidate for implants. So, if you've lost all or most of your teeth, and don't have enough bone for conventional implant surgery, dentures are a good option.

Simply carrying on with missing teeth is not a good idea. Teeth are vital for chewing ability, speech, and support of your facial muscles. Without teeth, your face also appears to collapse in on itself. So dentures serve a range of purposes.

Making up a denture takes about a month, which includes approximately five appointments. About eight weeks after you have lost your teeth, either naturally or by means of extraction, the wounds will have healed. Then your dentist starts the process. First, an impression and a wax bite are made to determine the vertical dimensions of your mouth, and to ensure the dentures follow your jaw position.

Next you are given a 'try-in', a kind of demo model that helps you to determine whether the teeth are the proper color, shape and fit. Finally, any adjustments are made and the final product is fitted.

It does take time to get used to dentures, as they feel awkward at first, and may affect your speech and eating habits for a while. In this regard, it's a good idea to start by eating soft, easily chewed foods for a couple of days until you get used to the sensation of eating with your new dentures.

Dentures need to be removed and brushed daily with a suitable denture toothbrush and denture cleanser. Dentures are fragile, so it's vital to refrain from using harsh, abrasive cleansers, as they may scratch the surface. You should also never sterilize your dentures in boiling water, and partial dentures must be removed before you brush your natural teeth. When dentures are not in use, they should be soaked in a cleanser solution or plain water.

It is also advisable to remove your dentures at night to allow the gum tissue to rest, and allow normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. This ensures good long term health for your gums. It is also important that you visit the dentist every six months as usual. Remember that at the dental checkup, he examines your entire oral cavity for signs of disease or oral cancer, so for this reason it's vital you keep it up.

You should also be aware that as you age, you begin to experience bone loss and your dentures may become loose and uncomfortable.

Do not attempt to adjust them yourself, as you can cause all kinds of damage to the denture and your mouth. Rather consult your dentist, who will either adjust them or remake the entire set.

There's also the option of mini-implants; these have been adapted from ordinary implants to help alleviate the discomfort of dentures. These mini-implants consist of a miniature titanium implant that acts like the root of a natural tooth, in combination with a retaining fixture, which is incorporated into the base of a denture. It's like a mini ball-and-socket joint. The head of the implant is shaped like a ball, and the retaining fixture contains a rubber O-ring that snaps over the ball when the denture is inserted and holds it in place.

Under local anesthetic in the dentist's rooms, the mini-implants are screwed into the jawbone, leaving just the heads protruding. It's so quick that you can literally visit the dentist in the morning and be eating lunch with your new, stable dentures the same day.

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