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Some of us, at some point in our lives, will likely require dentures to replace missing teeth. Tooth loss is common with age, can come on through genetics, or show up in those who don't adequately care for their teeth and mouth. A denture is designed to keep you fully able to use teeth as you always have, but there are a few factors of which to be mindful.

What is a Denture? A denture is a removable set of artificial teeth, typically made of acrylic plastic, porcelain, and/or metal. The goal in creating a denture is not only functional, but also aesthetic: a denture is designed to resemble natural teeth and gums, allowing the wearer to feel confident socially.

You may require a full denture (replacing all top teeth or bottom teeth) or only a partial denture (filling in the empty spaces between natural teeth). The purpose of a full denture is obvious, but partials are often overlooked and very important to dental health. Blank spaces caused by missing teeth can cause the healthy teeth around them to shift, compromising your bite and general alignment.

Who requires a denture?   A common myth is that dentures are solely for elderly patients. This is not true; anyone who has lost some or all of their teeth is a candidate for a denture.

How is a denture installed?  Your dentist will create your denture through a long-term treatment process. He or she will begin by making the diagnosis, then making impressions and a wax bite to obtain the precise measurements of your mouth. (You certainly don't want a denture that doesn't fit or bite naturally.) Then, the dentist will likely install a temporary denture while the permanent one is being created in a dental lab. Finally, the completed denture is installed into the mouth and final adjustments are made. SAVE A MINIMUM OF 20% ON DENTURES AT WWW.DENTALPLANS.US.COM

How do I care for my denture? You will typically undergo an adjustment period while your mouth and jaw learn the new denture. You will probably be speaking normally within hours and eating normally within days, though of course these adjustment times vary from person to person. Your dentist will probably recommend you aim for softer, more chewable foods at the onset of the adjustment. Also note that there may be auxiliary effects from your denture, such as slight changes to facial appearance or increased saliva production. Be sure to report any new discomfort or irritation to your dentist as soon as possible to avoid long-term problems.

How do I take care of my denture?  Though modern dentures often don't require it, some, especially first-time denture users, may find the need to use dental adhesives to keep the denture in place. As for cleaning, the denture must be removed and brushed daily with cleanser and a specialized (or soft-bristled) toothbrush. When you're not wearing the denture, soak it in specialized dental cleanser or at least water. And those who wear partial dentures should remove the apparatus before brushing his or her actual teeth.

Some try to use boiling water to clean and sterilize a denture, but this is not advised at all. Very hot water can warp and misshape the denture, affecting the fit and requiring a completely new denture to be generated.

Can I wear my denture overnight?  It is considered best to remove and soak the denture through the night. Studies have shown that removing the denture for eight hours or more allows your gums to rest and your mouth to be naturally cleansed by your saliva.

Do I still need to see my dentist?  Yes, regular dental exams are crucial even to the denture-wearer. Your dentist will need to monitor the fit of the denture; since our bones change in size and shape with age, your denture may need to be re-adjusted or even replaced over its lifetime. So keep up your regular dental visits and keep in contact with him or her about the viability of your denture. 07