Feel more confident in making decisions about your dental health, whether getting dental implants or dentures, at Highlands Ranch Oral & Facial Surgery. Our family-oriented practice offers a welcoming, compassionate environment while providing you with honest, transparent answers. Our team works with you along each step of the way from your initial consultation to surgery to follow-up care to ensure you have the best experience possible and receive treatment that fits your needs.
What are Dentures?
Dentures are dental prosthetics that replace your natural teeth, enabling you to continue eating and speaking more comfortably. Some dentures are removable, while others are fixed in place. They may be used to replace all of your teeth, or just a few. Dentures are molded to fit your mouth and look like natural teeth and gums, leaving you with a beautiful yet functional smile. These artificial teeth are typically made of a hard resin, though they may also be made of porcelain. Just like natural teeth, they must be cared for to prevent chipping, cracking, and discoloration.
Why Would I Need Dentures? Am I a Candidate?
Patients in Highlands Ranch may find that they need dentures for a variety of reasons. While single dental implants or a bridge may be an effective solution for one or two missing teeth, when you are missing several teeth – or a full arch – dentures can be an easier way to replace all of these teeth at once. Tooth loss may occur due to poor oral hygiene, structural issues, or trauma. Good candidates for dentures are individuals who are missing some or all of their teeth and who have adequate bone density.
The Benefits of Dentures
One of the major benefits of dentures is that they can replace a full arch of teeth with a single prosthesis. All of the teeth are attached together with slightly pliable artificial gums. These gums are molded to fit over the top of your natural gums, and they are often held in place with suction or adhesives. Traditional dentures are removable, so they are easy to take in and out for cleaning. With dentures, you can continue to eat many of the foods you enjoyed before experiencing tooth loss or sensitivity.
In addition, dentures can support facial structure and improve aesthetics. You can feel more confident in your smile and appearance, not having to worry about how your teeth look or any gaps.
Meet Dr. Hambleton
Dr. Hambleton is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He takes the time to understand your individual needs and concerns when developing a treatment plan. Before any decisions are made, he explains each process in an easily understood manner and answers any questions, so you know what to expect. With his wealth of training and experience, he is able to tailor solutions that work best for you, your oral health, and your lifestyle.
Types of Dentures to Consider – Your Options
There are several different types of dentures you can choose from, depending on your preferences and needs. There are some variations in how they stay in place, and you may find one more comfortable or convenient than another.
Complete dentures, also called full dentures, replace all of your natural teeth. They can be fitted to your top arch, bottom arch, or both. The dentures rest over your existing gums, and adhesive is often used to help keep them in place. They can be easily removed for cleaning or at night.
If you still have some remaining teeth, partial dentures can be fitted around these teeth to fill in any gaps. They take the place of any missing teeth along either the top or bottom arch and are held in place by nearby teeth. Just like complete dentures, they are removable.
Once tooth extraction has occurred, immediate dentures may be used during the recovery process. They can be either full or partial dentures. Immediate dentures can be adjusted as your gums continue to heal and swelling recedes. After your gums are healed, these dentures are removed and permanent dentures take their place.
Also called implant-supported dentures, these artificial teeth are not removable and are held securely in place by several dental implants. Because the implants are fused to the jawbone, they provide a strong base. Unlike traditional dentures, they do not cover the roof of the mouth, which can improve speech and eating.
Snap-in dentures are similar to implant-supported dentures in that they also attach to dental implants placed in the jawbone. However, this type of denture can be removed and easily snaps in or out of your mouth. They are more stable than a traditional denture because they are held in place by implants, not adhesive.
Overdentures can be supported by dental implants, but they can also be placed over the top of natural teeth or the roots from natural teeth. They also rest on existing gums for more stability. Overdentures can be removed for cleaning or sleeping.
These dentures are designed to fit your upper jaw and replace the top arch. They typically cover the palate and use an adhesive to stay in place. They can be removed for cleaning. A more stable solution can be implant-retained upper dentures, which affix to titanium implants anchored to the jawbone.
Economy dentures are a standard type of denture that can be used for the top or bottom arch. They are a more affordable option than premium dentures because they are not as customized and are made of conventional materials, though they still fit to your unique mouth specifications.
Are Dentures Uncomfortable?
If properly fitted, dentures can be very comfortable, and you may not even realize you are wearing them. They can become uncomfortable when they are out of alignment, or your gums have receded, and they have not been refitted. When this happens, they can become loose or shift out of place.
How Long Will It Take My Mouth to Get Used to Dentures?
When you first get dentures, they can feel strange in your mouth, and you may find that you produce more saliva. The muscles in your mouth have to adjust, as do your gums. It typically takes about a month for you to get used to wearing your dentures and find your new normal when it comes to eating, drinking, and speaking. But once you do, you may not even realize they are there anymore.
Will They Look Like Real Teeth?
Thanks to advances in technology, dentures can look just like your natural teeth, and no one will know the difference. Your dental professional will take the time to adjust the size, shape, and color of your replacement teeth to your preferred aesthetic. If you are wearing a partial denture, the artificial teeth will blend in with your remaining teeth to create a uniform look.
The Modern-Day Alternative to Dentures
Traditional dentures used to be the standard for replacing missing teeth, but now patients in Highlands Ranch have other options. Dental implants are durable, stable, and long-lasting. Titanium posts are implanted in the jawbone, where they fuse in place with existing bone. Not only does this create a secure foundation to attach replacement teeth, but it also provides stimulation that prevents bone loss.
Whereas dentures are removable, and patients have to take them in and out for cleaning and use an adhesive to help them stay in place, dental implants are nonremovable. Once replacement teeth are attached, they are treated just like natural teeth.
When you come into the office for tooth extraction, you can leave with a full set of teeth the same day. With Teeth-in-a-Day implants, dental implants are placed, and before you leave, a temporary crown or other dental prosthesis is attached. There are no gaps or missing teeth to worry about while your implants and gums heal.
Are Dentures Covered by my Insurance?
Whether or not your dentures are covered by insurance depends on your specific dental plan. Many insurance providers do provide at least some coverage for dentures. It is considered a major procedure, so there may be a waiting period after your insurance plan starts until this treatment is covered. It is also important to look at your annual limit, especially if you have already had other procedures during the course of the year, so you can plan accordingly to minimize out-of-pocket costs. There may also be limits on how often insurance will pay for new dentures or realignment, so check your policy.
Pros and Cons to Getting Dentures
When deciding whether or not dentures are the right option for you, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. On the positive side, dentures can alleviate discomfort from damaged, decaying, or missing teeth and allow you to continue eating your favorite foods. One drawback is that is if they are not fitted correctly, they can move around in your mouth and be uncomfortable. They also need to be replaced every few years due to wear and changes to your gums and bone structure.
Dentures vs. Dental Implants
While there some similarities and overlap between dentures and dental implants, there are also some key differences. For instance, dentures are removable and are held in place by suction or oral adhesive. Dental implants are anchored to the jawbone, and once replacement teeth are attached, they are not removed except for maintenance by a dental professional. However, you can also combine both options and get implant-retained dentures, which look similar to traditional dentures but are held securely in place by implants.
Because they attach directly to the jawbone, many patients find dental implants more comfortable than dentures. Plus, they are cared for like natural teeth and do not need to be removed for cleaning. It all depends on your personal preference and what works best for your lifestyle, budget, and needs. While dental implants can cost more upfront, they can also be a longer-lasting solution than dentures and more cost-effective overall.
Are There Any Other Alternatives?
Dentures and dental implants are the most common procedures for replacing missing teeth, since there are many different types. If you are only missing a few teeth, a bridge might be another possibility. Bridges literally bridge the gap left by missing teeth and are held in place by attaching to the natural teeth on either side. However, natural teeth often must be filed down for a better fit, which could impact the health of the teeth.
How Much Do Dentures Cost in the Highlands Ranch, Colorado Area?
The cost of dentures in Highlands Ranch can vary greatly depending on your individual situation. For example, you will pay more if you are getting full dentures as opposed to partial dentures. Other factors that influence cost include:
- Whether any tooth extractions are needed.
- Whether any dental implants are needed.
- Whether or not you have dental insurance, as well as your coverage.
- Whether you are getting temporary dentures during recovery.
- The quality of denture materials you choose.
- How many times your dentures need to be adjusted or relined.
Once your dental provider has evaluated your specific case and discussed your needs and preferences, they can give you a more accurate price quote.
What to Expect When Getting Dentures: The Process
Dentures are not one-size-fits-all, so they will have to be molded to the size and shape of your mouth, as well as the ridges in your gums. You may have several dental appointments to cover each step of the process and ensure your dentures look and fit just right.
How Long Does the Denture Process Take from Start to Finish?
The entire denture process can take a few months until you have permanent dentures that fit properly. If you need to have teeth extracted prior to wearing dentures, you will need to wait several weeks for your gums to heal and shrink as they adjust. You may receive immediate dentures until your permanent dentures are ready.
Your dental professional will start by ensuring your gums are healthy and you have the adequate bone density to support dentures. They will perform a complete examination and take x-rays to check the jawbone for any potential problems. You may also discuss any questions and concerns, as well as what type of dentures may work best for you.
Before getting your dentures, an oral surgeon may extract any damaged or remaining teeth, depending on whether you are getting full or partial dentures. They will make sure your gums are healing correctly and address any remaining issues that could impact the success of your new teeth.
Making the Dentures
After teeth are extracted, impressions will be taken of your mouth. They are sent to a lab as the basis for your dentures. A technician creates a model using acrylic teeth attached with wax, and the gums are shaped. A plaster mold is made to hold the teeth in place, the wax is melted away, and acrylic is injected. Once the acrylic cures, the dentures are cleaned and trimmed, and sent back to your dentist to be fitted to your mouth.
Fitting the Dentures
Once your new dentures are made, the dental professional will make adjustments to ensure that they fit securely in your mouth and are comfortable. You should let your dentist know about any areas that rub or feel too tight or too loose. You will also receive instructions about how to care for your dentures.
Adapting to the Dentures
It can take about 30 days to adapt to wearing dentures. During this time, your gums may change slightly as they continue to heal and adjust to the shape and fit of your dentures. Talk to your dental professional about any concerns you have about how your dentures feel and their fit.
After Dentures are Placed
As the muscles in your mouth adapt to having your dentures in place, you may find that you have to change how you speak, eat, drink, or smile to find what works for you. After all, you have a prosthetic that was not there before and takes up more room than your natural teeth.
What Can I Eat with My Dentures?
While you can eat virtually any kind of food once you have adjusted to wearing dentures, some foods may be more challenging to eat than others. Foods that are very hard or sticky may loosen your dentures or cause them to slip out of place. You may also have to cut food into smaller pieces because you cannot open your mouth as wide to bite and chew.
How Do I Clean My Dentures?
You will want to clean your dentures daily with a nonabrasive denture cleaner and a soft brush. This will be done once you remove them from your mouth. Be sure to soak your dentures overnight, so they remain soft and keep their shape. During the day, you may want to rinse your dentures off with water after eating to remove any lingering food particles.
How Long Will My Dentures Last Me?
The lifespan of your dentures will depend on their quality and how well you care for them. Although they are made of acrylic and feel sturdy, they can still crack or break if dropped. The teeth will also begin to wear down over time, and your jawbone may begin to resorb altering the fit of your dentures. Dentures are typically replaced about every seven to 10 years.
Other Things to Know After Getting Dentures
Dentures can be an effective option for replacing missing teeth, but they are not a permanent solution. Because they sit on top of the gums, they do not provide the same stimulation as natural teeth, and the bone will begin to resorb and shrink. This can change how your dentures fit, so you may need to get them adjusted or relined every few years. Implant-retained dentures can help avoid this because the implants do provide stimulation and prevent bone loss.
Even after receiving dentures, it is important to continue regular checkups with your dentist to ensure your mouth stays healthy and your dentures function correctly. Each patient is different, so it may take some time for you to adjust and figure out how to make your dentures work best for you.
Are Dentures Really the Right Choice for Me?
Remember that there are several different types of dentures, including implant-supported dentures, so talk to your dental professional about what option may be right for you. Take into consideration how you want your teeth to look, feel, and function. Weigh the pros and cons of each choice before making a decision, and ask to see some before and after photos, so you get a better idea of what to expect. Also, speak up and ask any questions you may have about the process, recovery, or results.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Hambleton at Highlands Ranch Oral & Facial Surgery
Stop feeling self-conscious about your smile or avoiding your favorite foods because of missing or damaged teeth. Dr. Hambleton is ready to answer any questions you may have about dentures and help you decide which option is the best fit for you.