Frequently Asked Questions about Dentures

dentures in glassDentures are removable appliances to help replace missing teeth as a result of gum disease, tooth decay or injury. The purpose is to help restore your smile if you’ve lost any or all natural teeth. Not only can dentures restore your appearance but also your health. Dentures can help the process of eating or speaking better.

There is always an adjustment with having new dentures so patients might find themselves with several questions about the appliance. Here are answers to some questions you might have about dentures:

How much do dentures cost?

Complete dentures can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. There are often many questions about how much partial dentures cost as opposed to having a complete set. Partial dentures will typically cost less than a complete set. The price of dentures is often based on the time it takes to make the dentures and the cost of dental materials used. It may also take up to several appointments before the process is complete. Ultimately, the cost depends upon the patient and what he or she needs.

What are dentures made of?

Dentures are made of an acrylic base that is gum colored and the teeth are typically acrylic. Some dentures might be made of different materials, however. The base of partial dentures is usually metal covered in plastic. Metal is typically used in partial dentures as a structural base to clasp on to already existing natural teeth.

How long do dentures last?

Due to normal wear, your dentist may need to remake your dentures or partially reconstruct them, such as reline or rebase the appliance. Dentures may need replacing every five to eight years and dentures made from plastic may require replacement sooner than those made with acrylic resin. Rebasing will only require remaking the gum portion and structural base of the denture while keeping the existing denture teeth. Your dentist may also need to remake your dentures as you age because your mouth’s size naturally changes.

How should dentures fit?

New dentures will take time to get used to. There is a settling period after the moment of fitting, which can last anywhere from 5 to 8 hours before the dentures settle into your mouth. It will take some time for your gums to adjust to the appliance and the adjustment period can be different for everyone.

Here are some great resources for getting used to your new dentures:

How do you keep dentures in place?

Partial dentures make use of metal pieces to clasp on to existing natural teeth. It will take time for your mouth and gums to adjust to dentures, however you can choose to apply an adhesive to help the process. There are a variety of denture adhesives available. Poligrip by Polident is a very popular product to help keep dentures in place. Implants can also be used to hold them in place so adhesive is not needed.

What do partial dentures look like?

Partial dentures are constructed to fill in missing natural teeth. Partial dentures are usually made with a metal base and then covered in a gum colored plastic for the lower or upper portions of the mouth. In many cases metal hooks wrap around the patient’s molars to stay in place. The metal hook placement depends entirely on the patient’s existing natural teeth.

How do you whiten dentures?

To clean and whiten your dentures safely there are a few things you can try. First, gently scrub your dentures with a toothbrush or stiff nail brush using soap and water. Toothpaste can be too abrasive on some appliances, so check with your dental provider before using toothpaste on your dentures. Abrasive toothpastes can wear down your dentures, potentially removing the gloss coating and make them prone to staining. There are many denture cleansers in stores, but make sure to use these products after you’ve safely scrubbed the dentures.

Many dentures are made of acrylic, which is a porous material that can absorb stains over time. If you find you need to whiten your dentures due to stubborn stains, make sure you do so safely. Some patients will try to use bleach to whiten their dentures, but if done repeatedly, the solution could eventually remove the overall color of the dentures. This is why it’s best to use a tested product available in stores. Here are some recommended products for cleaning and whitening your dentures:

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    Dr. Daniel Derksen grew up in the town of Bath, Michigan where he still lives with his family.

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