Finally the day arrives after a few weeks when the denture has been processed and the wax is replaced with acrylic. The dentist will go through all the stages again like for the try-in checking each aspect of the denture.
Any undercuts that may scrape your gum will be removed, the extension and bite checked and adjusted and the instructions on how to care for your denture
The dentist should show you how to put the denture in and take it out ensuring it isn’t too loose or to tight. The denture is generally made with a specific 'path of insertion'
- this means it only goes in and out in one way and you need to learn this. For example, you may need to seat it first at the back and then at the front- trying to seat it at the front first simply won’t let the denture sit down in the right place.
Even though it may be a bit tricky to get in and out to begin with, as long as you can do it whilst in the dentist chair, you will be able to take it out for cleaning when you get home. I have had a few patients get stuck because they have forgotten the right path of insertion or removal, but once you have done this a few times you will have it off pat.
If the denture is very tight to begin with don’t worry it will loosen a bit over time. If it is loose then the situation needs to be evaluated and adjustments made if possible; some muscular control may need to be developed as part of it. Or the dentist may just need to activate the clasps a little more, so they grip tighter.
I often suggest wearing new dentures at night for the first week, just to get your mouth used to dimensions and having them there. But as a general rule, dentures should be left out at night.
If the denture or dentures are particularly sore or painful during the first week, they should be left out and only worn for a few hours before your appointment as this can help us (dentists) locate the sore spots more easily. Sometimes it will show a little red mark or ulcer, sometimes an area on your gum will just be sore to pressure.
Now that you have your denture made and comfortable, is that it?
'Yes but no but...' as my favourite Little Britain character would say. As we discussed earlier, wearing a partial denture has risks
. It is even more important, that you see your dentist regularly for a check of your teeth and denture and a good clean.
In addition to the routine checks for dental decay
and gum disease
which can be more of a problem if you are wearing a denture and not looking after things appropriately, the dentist needs to check no damage is being done your oral tissues from the denture itself and that everything is functioning as it should. They will also advise you on any areas where you need to step up your oral hygiene
or this will lead to problems.
Dentures on average can be expected to last about 10 years depending on the situation. Over this time period, sufficient changes are likely to have occurred, (worn teeth, shrunken ridges etc.) to affect the fit and function so a new denture is required
or in some circumstances only a reline
may be needed. It just depends- I see some patients with little signs of wear and still a perfect fit after 15 years (though rare) and others who after 5 years their denture looks like it is an ancient artefact.
Regular visits are needed to monitor these changes- If left too long, your denture and natural teeth may have worn and moved and this can create problems when it comes to replacing the denture. Your jaw and muscles may have got used to this situation and opening you back up to restore the height of your smile and face may not be as simple and easy for you to adjust to.
As weird as it seems considerable damage to teeth and gums can happen without you knowing… they don’t always give you pain- at least not until its quite late, perhaps too late to do something. As an example, we sometimes see a patient who hasn’t been for a number of years and on the screening X-rays
we discover a cavity that has gone into the nerve of the tooth undetected- it gave little or no symptoms that the patient noticed and it is too late for a filling
. You can imagine it comes as a bit of a shock to hear me say,“Unfortunately the tooth needs a root canal treatment
or to be extracted."
Also problems can occur as you go along (of course this will vary from patient to patient) - a clasp may break, another tooth may need to be added, a new filling affects the fit- all these things can be dealt with by your dentist as they arise. Check out -Repairs and adjustments to partial dentures