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Dentures are removable, natural-looking replacements for teeth that are available as either full or partial sets.

Partial dentures, also sometimes referred to as a removable bridge, are attached to your natural teeth using a metal frame and are used to fill in gaps where permanent teeth are missing. They include replacement false teeth that are attached to a gum-colored plastic base and are used when enough natural teeth remain to hold it in place. Partial dentures are beneficial for not only cosmetic fixes to missing teeth, but also for preventing other surrounding teeth from drifting into the gaps.

Partial Dentures

To create a partial denture, your dentist will do a thorough exam of your teeth, including X-rays, and then make a series of measurements and impressions to study not only the missing areas, but how your jaws interact with each other. From there, a lab will create wax or plastic molds in the exact shape required for the denture. (You may be required to try several different molds to see which one will work best for your situation.)

Once the right mold is selected, it will be created to match the color, shape and size of your surrounding natural teeth. When the final denture is ready you’ll come back in to have it placed, and may need a few more visits for fine-tuning adjustments if necessary.

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Full Dentures

Full dentures are given to patients when all of the natural teeth have been removed. It can be a lengthy process to receive full dentures — as long as eight to 12 weeks — especially if the gums require time to heal after extractions. Some patients may be given temporary dentures during this time, but because the jawbone and gums can experience shifts and shrinkage after adult tooth loss, those dentures are likely to become loose. Once the permanent dentures are ready, several adjustments may be required in order to find the perfect fit.

Dentures may require a little practice to return to regular patterns of speaking and chewing, especially if you receive a full set. But either way, dentures require proper oral care just like natural teeth. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser to brush your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well.

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