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If you've lost all of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile.  Replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health.  Without support from the denture, facial muscles sag, making a person look older.  Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable.

Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile. You'll be able to eat and speak--things that people often take for granted until their natural teeth are lost.

There are various types of complete dentures.  A conventional full denture is made and placed in the patient's mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed which may take several months.  An immediate complete denture is inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth.  The dentist makes measurements and modes of the patient's jaws during the visits prior to the date of the extractions.  An advantage of immediate dentures is that the patient does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.  However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth.  When gums shrink, immediate dentures require rebasing or relining to fit properly.  A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed, which is usually 6-8 weeks.

Additionally, there is an overdenture.  An overdenture is a removal denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants.  The natural teeth must be prepared, usually with root canal treatment, to provide stability and support for the denture.  Your dentist can determine if an overdenture would be suitable for you.

New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them.  The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place.  It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness.  As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish.  One or more follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally needed after a denture is inserted.

Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth.  Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.