A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available — complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
A removable partial denture usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base or by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw.
How to clean dentures
Regardless of what kind of dentures you may have, all dentures need to be cleaned daily, just like regular teeth. Even though dentures are made up of artificial teeth, bacteria, plaque, and tartar still build up on them and can harm existing teeth and gums.
To clean your dentures, take them out of your mouth and run clean water over them to dislodge any food particles that may be stuck between teeth, along the gum line, or underneath the structure. Then brush the dentures all over with a denture brush or very soft toothbrush using a mild soap or denture cleaner. Be sure not to use any other cleaners, regular toothpaste, or electric toothbrushes as these are all too abrasive and can damage and wear away the denture materials. After cleaning, make sure to rinse them well.
While your dentures are out of your mouth, be sure to clean your gums and any natural teeth with a very soft and wet toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste if needed. If your toothbrush is too harsh, wrap your finger in a wet, soft washcloth and gently rub your gums, making sure to cover all surfaces.