Modern dentistry has made many advancements in the creation of dentures since the days of using wooden teeth to correct a person’s smile. Also known as false teeth, these dental appliances can become necessary to replace problem teeth that may impact a patient. Now, dentists can create a prosthetic smile that looks as natural as the real thing and fixes both health and cosmetic issues that can occur with the permanent loss of teeth.
Depending on the amount of tooth loss, a dentist may recommend a partial or a full-plate denture. This plate creates the base for the artificial teeth and is made of either a flexible polymer, resin or metal. When selecting polymer or resin bases, these can be color-matched to a patient’s natural gums.
For a full plate, all teeth of the upper or lower jaw must be replaced, and the polymer or resin base is molded to the patient’s gumline for both comfort and appearance. A partial plate is necessary when only some teeth need replacing. The metal base of this plate anchors itself around the remaining natural teeth at the gumline. This gives the appearance of a full smile, and it stops the natural shifting of the remaining teeth to fill the space. Along with the base, patients also have the choice of material that creates the dentures: acrylic resin or porcelain.
This material is lightweight and easy to manipulate to a specific spot within the mouth. This ease in adjustment leads to overall patient comfort. Acrylic resin, also referred to as plastic, is a cheaper material for a patient on a budget.
While acrylic resin is known for its comfort and affordability, porcelain varieties are strong and durable. The heating process that creates these glass-like dentures not only adds strength to the teeth, but it also gives them a more translucent, natural appearance. Porcelain, much like the polymer and resin bases, can also be color-matched to the patient’s natural smile.
Most artificial teeth, despite the material used to create them, will need replacing roughly every five years. By practicing proper cleaning and maintenance care, the lifetime of a piece can be extended. Both full and partial plates can be removed for cleaning. They should be cleaned using a soft-bristled toothbrush and cleanser specifically for dentures. Due to its abrasive nature, regular toothpaste can wear down the porcelain or acrylic over time.
Overnight, the teeth should be placed inside a glass of warm water or a denture soaking solution. This provides benefits to both the patient and the false teeth. One, the natural gums get a reprieve from the pressure of the dental piece, and two, by keeping the teeth moist, the acrylic or porcelain can be preserved much longer.
Missing teeth do not have to affect a person’s self-esteem or overall health. Advanced techniques in tooth replacement allow a dentist to create a plate that matches each individual. With proper oral care and upkeep, dentures can give a person back their smile.