Dentures — also commonly known as false teeth — are fitted to act as a prosthesis for missing teeth. They’re often made of acrylic, nylon, or metal. They can be used in place of one tooth, several, or all of your teeth, and they fit snugly over the gums.
Properly fitted dentures have numerous benefits, including improving speech, eating capabilities, and your self-confidence. It can also help to prevent your face from sagging over time and may offer protection to your remaining teeth.
Pictures of false teeth
Types of false teeth
There are numerous types of false teeth available, including partial dentures and full dentures.
All require fitting so that they match your teeth’s shape, size, and color. The fitting can be done by a specialist called a prosthodontist or by a general dentist, many of whom also fit dentures.
Partial dentures are used if you still have some healthy teeth available. These dentures are often clipped around the remaining healthy teeth. These clips may be visible when you talk but can be made in tooth-colored material.
Full dentures are used if you’ve lost all of your teeth, which may occur due to injury, infection, periodontitis, or other medical condition. These artificial teeth are attached to a plate that sits against your gums.
The plates and gum fittings — which can be made from either metal or an acrylic that matches the color of your gums — typically aren’t visible to others.
False teeth adhesive can be used to help keep your dentures in place.
Removable dentures are the traditional model, and they come with a big added benefit of being easier to clean.
They can, however, slip out of place more easily, so dentists recommend avoiding foods that are particularly chewy, sticky, or hard.
False teeth adhesive can help keep them in place, but these adhesives can be difficult to use.
Removable dentures typically last about five years before they need to be replaced.
Partial and complete traditional dentures tend to fall in the same price range starting at about $300. The more you spend, the more comfortable and better looking your dentures will be. The price ranges up to $8,000 for well-fitted dentures.
Price variations depend on the materials used, the number of teeth, and whether you are getting a single plate or two (upper and lower).
Flexible dentures are a popular alternative to traditional dentures, and they’re made with flexible but extremely durable materials that can be more comfortable to wear. Thanks to the translucent resin that matches your gum color, they don’t require any visible clips like those you might see with partial dentures.
Flexible dentures are also more light weight and less bulky in the mouth. They can last around five to eight years.
They are more expensive than other methods and can only be used for partial dentures. Flexible dentures typically cost between $700 and $3,000 for a partial set.
How to maintain your false teeth
Our mouths are full of bacteria, so it’s not surprising that artificial teeth need to be cleaned daily.
Your dentist will advise you about the best way to clean your dentures depending on what type of false teeth you have. Removing partial dentures, for example, can make it easier to clean your teeth when you’re brushing at night.
You can use cleaning solutions specific to dentures to help clean them effectively. False teeth require different solutions depending on the materials they’re made from, so ask your dentist what you should be using.
To increase the lifespan of your false teeth, be careful when handling them. Don’t bend them and try to avoid damaging any of the clips while cleaning them.
Soaking your dentures overnight can prevent them from drying out, but make sure you rinse them under water before you put them back in place.
Your dentist may also advise you to avoid certain foods. Avoid drinking beverages that are hot enough to warp the dentures. It may also be a good idea to avoid foods that are tough like hard candy or chewy like gum.
Side effects of false teeth
When you first get false teeth, especially immediate (temporary) dentures, you may notice an increase in saliva. This is normal and subsides as your mouth gets used to the new addition. Some people also experience temporary nausea.
You may have difficulty eating at first while getting used to your new dentures. Start with soft and liquid foods to get accustomed to them. Similarly, you may struggle to speak as you used to before getting dentures. This gets easier as you get used to your dentures. Practice saying words that are difficult to pronounce to speed up the process.
Dentures can sometimes cause irritation or sores in the mouth while you’re getting used to them. This is common and often subsides as you adjust. Gargle with salt water and maintain excellent oral hygiene to help treat these symptoms.
It’s common to experience high air pressure against removable dentures when you cough or sneeze. This can dislodge them. To prevent this, cover your mouth with your hand when sneezing, yawning, or coughing.
There are certain signs that indicate that your false teeth need to be adjusted, refit, or repaired. These include:
- chips or cracks in the false teeth
- difficulty chewing after the adjustment period (which can take about a week)
- changing fit over time, where it’s not as snug as it used to be (removable dentures may slip or fall out more often, which is normal after several years but requires refitting)
- pressure sores from where the false teeth are fit into place, especially after the adjustment period
- consistent speech pattern changes that don’t go away after the adjustment period
- odor coming from the false teeth
Alternatives to dentures
In addition to dentures, there are other alternatives that some individuals may find more appealing.
False teeth implants are permanent, thanks to a metal screw placed into the jawbone for stability before a false tooth is placed on top of it. You can have just one implant or a full set. Implants are significantly more expensive than dentures, though some people are happy to pay this for the permanence.
Veneers can help improve the appearance of existing healthy teeth by placing a thin layer of porcelain over the front of your teeth. They can’t replace missing teeth, however.
Bridges are another common alternative to dentures. Bridges are made up of fake teeth that are held in place by a dental crown that’s cemented to neighboring teeth or an implant.
They are more permanent than removable dentures and may not require the implant process if healthy neighboring teeth are available.