Tooth loss can occur for any number of reasons, including oral injury, gum disease or the aging process. Regardless of the reason, if a person loses one or more of their teeth, their dentist will usually recommend replacing them with false ones. There are several different kinds of dental appliances that can be used in this situation, including dental implants and dentures. Here is a brief explanation of the latter.

What is a denture?

A denture is a removable device, composed of artificial teeth that are attached to a piece of plastic. It sits over the wearer's gums and serves as replacements for their missing teeth. It is held in place by a combination of suction and metal clasps.

What are the benefits of replacing missing teeth with a denture?

There are several benefits to using dentures to replace missing teeth. In addition to improving the appearance of a person's smile, dentures can help to restore functionality that may have been lost as a result of their having had a tooth removed (a missing tooth can cause issues with swallowing, speech and eating). Wearing a denture can also provide the lip and facial muscles with support; in doing so, it can help to prevent the face from developing a sunken look.

How is a denture fitted?

A person who decides to have a denture fitted will usually have to have multiple dental appointments to complete the fitting process. After carrying out a full assessment of the patient's mouth, the dentist will take impressions of their gums and teeth. Following this, they will send these impressions off to a laboratory, where they will be used to fabricate the dentures.

When the dentist receives these dentures, the patient will come in for another appointment, during which the dentist will check to see that the dentures are an exact fit for the person's mouth. If they are not, they will be sent back to the laboratory for adjustment. The patient will then have an additional appointment to make sure that the newly-adjusted dentures are the right size and shape.

How should dentures be cared for?

If the wearer's dentist has recommended that they take their dentures out at night (in order to give their gums a rest), the dentures should be placed in a glass filled with water or a dental cleaning solution. This will help to keep them moist (if dentures dry out too much they can change shape).

Dentures also need to be washed regularly in order to remove food particles and plaque. If the wearer fails to clean their dentures on a daily basis, they may end up developing dental issues, such as tooth decay, gum disease and halitosis. Dentures should be gently but thoroughly scrubbed with a toothbrush and toothpaste before being soaked in a denture-cleaning solution. They should then be rinsed before the wearer puts them back into their mouth.