Dentures are designed to replace missing teeth and usually consist of a gum colored plastic base that supports the denture teeth. Full dentures are used to restore an entire arch of upper or lower teeth, whereas partial dentures only replace a few missing teeth.
A full upper denture is made to cover up the roof of the mouth which is called the hard palate. This helps give it extra retention to hold it firmly in position. A lower denture is constructed in a horseshoe design, relying on the bony ridge that used to support teeth for retention. Full dentures have a plastic gum colored base that holds the denture teeth.
Partial dentures also consist of denture teeth attached to a plastic gum colored base, but are likely to have metal clasps that fit around the natural teeth. These help hold the partial denture firmly in position. Some partial dentures have a chrome cobalt metal alloy base, or will have a metal strengthener inside the plastic base. This helps to add strength to the denture while reducing weight and bulk.
Flexible Partial Dentures
There is another type of partial denture that has a flexible nylon base supporting plastic denture teeth. The nylon base is gum colored, but is slightly transparent so it blends in with the natural gum tissue extremely well. The flexible material conforms to the shape of the mouth so the denture is very comfortable to wear.
A flexible nylon partial denture is entirely metal free and does not have any metal clasps. Instead it has clasps made from the same nylon material that is used for the denture base. A flexible denture can be very good for anyone who has allergies to the acrylic used for conventional dentures. This type of denture is normally only suitable for partial dentures as it doesn’t have sufficient rigidity to support a full arch of teeth.
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Getting back your ability to smile and eat with a complete set of teeth is one of the great benefits of dentures. To prevent infections, sores, or further tooth damage, it is important to maintain dentures properly. Here are some ways that dentists advise to keep your dentures in great condition.
Rinse your dentures well after meals to remove food particles and avoid stains. Brush them daily with a soft toothbrush to remove plaque and deposits. Use a mild soap or product that your dentist recommends, but avoid harsh toothpaste or strong cleaners.
Soak your dentures in water or cleaning solution when you are not wearing them, especially overnight. This helps keeps them from drying out or becoming misshapen. Do not use hot water.
If you use a cleaning solution, rinse your dentures well before putting them back in your mouth. Avoid swallowing denture cleaning solution because it can cause stomach upset.
Handle your dentures very carefully so that you don’t drop them or bend them. Clean them over a basin filled with water, so that if they fall they shouldn’t be damaged.
Visiting your dentist
Maintain regular checkups with your dentist to get both your mouth and your dentures examined. Most dentists recommend visits every six month for ideal results. See your dentist sooner if your dentures are not fitting well, are causing irritation, or have become loose.
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