What You Should Know About Upper Dentures
Losing your teeth, whether due to age, disease or an accident necessitates wearing either upper dentures or lower dentures, or maybe both. There are a number of things you will need to know to prepare yourself for the experience, which can be a challenge.
Artificial teeth and gums that are custom designed for each individual are called dentures or, more commonly in conversation, false teeth. Different forms of dentures are available for different needs, including full dentures, partial dentures, over dentures and implant supported dentures. People can wear any combination of these; only uppers, only lowers, full uppers and partial lowers, partial uppers and full lowers and more.
A plate is fashioned based on the specific parameters of the individual’s mouth. It can take a few weeks for the perfect denture to be designed for a person’s needs, usually taking the following steps:
- An oral examination which may or may not include x-rays is completed. A set of impression are taken of the bony ridges of the mouth and plaster models made.
- The size of the teeth is determined in order to provide a proper bite that allows the top and bottom teeth to line up correctly. This is done using a generic plastic base and wax rim, which is later sent to the lab. Positioning is also decided.
- A wax “try in” is fashioned by the lab and it fitted to the individual’s mouth with plastic teeth. This try in will strongly resemble what the actual denture is going to look like, except that it is made of wax instead of plastic. Fitting this try in will give both the dentist and the patient an idea of how the teeth look and feel, and provide the opportunity to make changes if needed.
The amended try in is sent back to the lab, where finishing touches are made. The loose fitting base is eliminated, and replaced along with the wax with a tight fitting hard plastic base.
- The last visit will be to fit the final product, the upper dentures. There may be a few adjustments needed to ensure that the place achieves the proper suction that will hold them in place. The patient is able to leave with the new denture in place, ready for use.
If the patient has never worn a denture plate before, it will take some getting used to. For one thing, the upper plate extends back to the end of the body ridge of the gum, which can trigger the gag reflex in some people. Your mouth, having a foreign object adhered within, may feel oddly, and the hard plastic will also have a different feel. There may be some initial discomfort, as most people feel the need to clench and bite down for no reason with the plate in place.
Wearing the denture plate could result in difficulties in talking and eating. Your tongue is used to moving about the mouth uninhibited, and the denture could make speech challenging for a while until you become accustomed to it. Eating will also likely be different; most people prefer to eat at home for a few days until they get the knack of using the plate. It may shift a little while chewing and certain foods such as white bread can gum up and stick to the upper dentures. As time passes, the individual will learn which foods present the biggest challenges.
No denture is designed to last a lifetime. New dentures should be obtained every 5 or 6 years to ensure that you will continue having a good fit in your mouth, as the bony ridges will change over time and affect the fit.
People who are fitted with upper dentures will face a period of adjustment, especially for first time wearers. Becoming familiar with the process that leads to getting the teeth can help you to prepare for the experience.