Dentures are a trusted solution for replacing missing teeth. At Premier Dental Care, our patients frequently ask Dr. Hines if dentures are a good solution for their particular needs. As with any dental solution, there are pros and cons to wearing dentures, and their success for you depends largely on your lifestyle and goals for both your appearance and the functionality of your smile.

Here is what you need to know about dentures in the District of Columbia.

What are the types of dentures?

There are three main types of dentures:

Temporary Dentures

Dr. Hines will often provide patients with temporary dentures while they are undergoing a cosmetic dentistry procedure to replace a missing tooth. Temporaries ensure that patients have a natural looking smile while waiting for dental implants or a dental bridge to be completed. They’re also an excellent solution for when a tooth is knocked out during a sports game or accident. The temporary denture is secured in place with a metal wire that works like a retainer and can be taken in and out whenever you like. If you are looking for an immediate solution for replacing a missing tooth, call (202) 723-2400. Keep in mind that a temporary denture is only meant to be worn for a few months and will need to be replaced.

Partial Dentures

If only a few of your teeth are missing, partial dentures are a good solution for replacing them. Partials are typically held in place by a plastic base that matches the color of your gums and a metal framework that secures the base and prevents it from falling out. We are often asked about the differences between dentures and various cosmetic procedures — they function differently because dentures are removable and cosmetic dentistry solutions are typically permanent. If you live in the Washington DC area, call for your consultation and we can provide you with a list of options to consider.

Complete Dentures

When all of your teeth are missing, complete dentures can replace them. This is the type of dentures that you typically see in cartoons and movies — often falling out — but modern technology has improved in recent years to make full dentures more comfortable and natural looking than ever. Dr. Hines can determine if this is the best way to replace your teeth, or if an alternative solution would better help you achieve your goals.

If you proceed with getting a complete set of dentures, your gums will first need to heal for eight to 12 weeks after any remaining teeth have been removed. Because bones and gums will start to shrink without teeth, waiting up to 12 weeks can help ensure that a set of complete dentures will fit securely. Immediate dentures are available for patients who don’t want to wait that long, but there will be adjustments later on after the gums and bone have settled into their new permanent size.

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How are dentures made?

During your appointment, the dentist will examine your gums and other teeth to determine if dentures — and what type — are the best solution for you. Several molds and impressions will then be taken of your teeth and gums for two reasons: so that the dentures can be created in a dental lab, and so that the dentist can determine how your jaw functions and moves. Using these impressions, the lab will make a set of dentures that looks natural and fits perfectly with only minor adjustments. Dr. Hines can discuss the process in more detail during a consultation.

Benefits of Dentures

Patients like dentures for their convenience, whether they’re partial or full, and for their ability to replace teeth in a non-invasive way. There is no surgical element to worry about, and temporary dentures can be fitted immediately for a quick and easy solution. If you are looking for something that feels more natural, however, you should consider a cosmetic dentistry procedure.

The Downside of Dentures

The biggest challenge with dentures is that they do not feel like natural teeth. Our patients tend to agree that while they are functional, you still have to think about them vs. other cosmetic dentistry procedures that make it easy to forget you ever lost a tooth in the first place. Modern techniques have made dentures more secure and comfortable than they used to be, but they are still a foreign object in your mouth and can become loose when eating or speaking. If you are currently experiencing this problem, call Dr. Hines at (202) 723-2400 for a consultation.

Alternative Options

For patients seeking an alternative to dentures, we offer a procedure that combines implant dentistry with dentures to more securely hold dentures in place. In this scenario, an impression is taken of your mouth in order to create a denture that will be secured in place using implants. Once created, metal posts will be implanted under your gums, and the dentures secured to it. This way patients get the benefits of how quickly dentures can be created and the convenience of the stability that can only come from using implant technology. If you live in the Washington DC area, we will be happy to examine your gums and let you know if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

How do I care for my dentures?

Dentures need to be removed every night, and we advise patients of Dr. Hines to rinse them thoroughly, use a denture brush to remove any food particles, then rinse them again. It’s also important to brush your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste, and an antiseptic mouthwash can kill any lingering bacteria and improve your breath. Your dentures should soak all night then be placed back in the mouth in the morning.

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