Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Full Dentures

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Having questions when choosing a dentist is natural! After all, your oral health is an important part of your overall health. Here is a list of some of the most common questions we receive. If you do not see yours listed below, please give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

Full Dentures

Partial dentures | Dentist Gretna LA At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, we offer two different types of partials: metal partials and acrylic partials. Metal partials have a strong metal base with esthetic gums and teeth placed on them whereas acrylic partials have no metal base but may have metal components to connect the partial to the teeth.

Metal Partial Dentures

Dr. Schafer recommends metal partials when the partial is meant to last for more than 2 years. As you might assume, the metal base is much stronger than the acrylic base. Because of this strength, the partial is more comfortable to chew with. Also, these partials can act as a brace to help support the other teeth and keep them locked into place so that they don't drift over time.  Finally, these partials tend to be lighter and thinner as the metal base can remain strong even when made very thin.

Acrylic Partial Dentures

On the other hand, Dr. Schafer recommends acrylic partials when the partial is meant to last less than 2 years. These partials can also be made much quicker than the metal partial. The metal partial typically takes 4 to 5 appointments to make whereas the acrylic partial usually only take two. The final reason that many people choose acrylic partials is that they are less expensive than metal partials. The reason why they are less expensive is that they are easier for the lab technician to make and the materials are not as expensive. 

Older couple smiling | Dentist in Gretna LA Generally, a new set of dentures does not require any denture adhesive. However, many patients who have worn dentures for a long period of time feel more secure wearing denture adhesive. The denture adhesive in these cases fills in the gaps between the denture and the gums. These gaps form over time as the gums change shape and shrink which is why it is recommended to have a new liner placed in the dentures every 5 to 8 years and a new denture made every 8 to 10 years. While the adhesive works well for a short-term measure, the problem with long-term use is that it creates pressure spots on the denture causing faster shrinking of the gums.

Dental Implants over Adhesive

When patients feel that they need adhesive as soon as a new set is made, it is a better idea to start considering implants. While implants are more expensive than adhesive, they allow for the denture to feel more natural and chew more comfortably. 

Woman getting dentures | Gretna LA DenturesShort answer, yes it will at one point or another. While Dr. Schafer makes a lot of fantastic dentures, no matter how good of a job he does, a denture can still be removed by the hands, which means that it can fall out of the mouth. For first-time denture wearers, the dentures will slip out simply because the mouth has not learned how to work around the denture and the denture feels foreign. It is especially true if it is an immediate or healing denture. Dr. Schafer works with each of his patients to help them feel comfortable while learning to use their denture because it is important that everyone feels comfortable with their smile.

 

The upper denture or maxillary denture as dentists call it works mostly due to suction that it gets from the roof of the mouth or the palate. As It is often larger than the lower denture or mandibular denture but is generally more comfortable than the lower denture. It will move slightly during chewing, but it is generally tolerated very well by most patients as the suction allows it to chew acceptably. To break the suction in order to remove the upper denture, Dr. Schafer recommends that you place your thumbs behind the front teeth and gently push forward which breaks the suction.

 

older couple | Dentist Gretna LA Lower dentures can be difficult to wear and are the source of many headaches with denture wearers. Many dentists shy away from doing dentures altogether due to the common complaints with lower dentures. While most denture wearers adjust to their lower dentures, many simply carry it around in their pocket or leave it on their nightstand. 

The biggest reason why the lower denture is uncomfortable is because it doesn't "suck" like the upper denture. The shape of the upper jaw and palate allow the upper denture to have some suction and stay in place on the upper palate. The lower jaw is U-shaped and very rarely provides any suction and relies on the bony ridge to secure it. If you have bone loss, which is common with tooth loss, you may not have sufficient enough of a ridge to support your lower denture effectively.

The second reason is that there are more muscles around a lower denture which can move it from side to side. The tongue is right next to the lower denture and is a powerful muscle that has to learn new habits to adapt to it. Also, the cheek muscles and chewing muscles which attach to the lower jaw can lift the denture and push it out of place. 

For more help with your dentures, call our Gretna, LA dental office

group of people smiling in kitchen | Dentist Gretna LA The type of foods that denture wearers can eat depends mostly on practice. Much like an athlete does not start training program by running a marathon, new denture wearers cannot start practicing on tough, chewy foods. Eating with dentures requires practice because not only does your tongue, lips, and cheeks have to move food around to eat, but these muscles also have to manage the dentures in your mouth.    

Dr. Schafer recommends that patients start with drinking fluids and eating softer foods such as baked fish, mashed potatoes, eggs, and yogurt. After these foods have been mastered, the next level is soft chewy foods and crispy foods. Foods such as steamed carrots, pasta, and bananas are great as well as dry cereal such as Cheerios. Also at this time, you should start trying to eating boiled crawfish and shrimp. The third level is chewier and crispier foods such as berries, fried seafood, hamburgers without a bun, and white bread. Most denture wearers can get to the third level with enough practice, but only some can pass this level to tougher foods such as chicken, pork, or broccoli. The hardest level is foods such as whole apples, steak, corn on the cob, and dressed po-boys. Dressed po-boys are especially challenging because of the many different types of foods and textures.

While Dr. Schafer has met some denture patients with an iron lock bite, most find these initial learning period frustrating as they want to go back to eating the foods they enjoy. Thankfully with today's technology, most of this learning can be avoided with implants. The implants will help retain a denture in the right spot so that the tongue, cheeks, and lips can focus on assisting with chewing the food.

dentures | Gretna LA DentistYes, your smile will look natural.  

Many cheaper dentures have teeth only come in one or two colors with only three or four sizes of teeth. Also, the gums are bright pink and flat which adds to the phony appearance. While these dentures can pass muster for quick smile between strangers, friends, and family will be able to notice the fakeness. The teeth will look like unnaturally straight and monotone chiclets that stick out from the gums.

Dr. Schafer will customize your denture not only to fit your mouth but find the right size and shape of teeth so that your smile does not look "generic." The newer denture teeth can have a similar shine and color as natural teeth and the gums can be matched to look like your own gums. Also, most people don't realize that straight or "perfect" teeth don't always look the most natural on everyone. Sometimes it's the imperfections that make a smile unique and real. Dr. Schafer gives his patients the option between perfectly straight "Hollywood" teeth or a more natural appearance. We create dentures that will make you feel good about the way you look. Patients leave our office smiling with their new dentures!

Lower dentures or mandibular dentures differ from upper dentures or maxillary dentures as lower dentures are kept in place with the tongue and cheeks compared to the upper denture which uses suction. The lower denture requires more practice to wear as the muscles need to be trained to keep the prosthesis in place. The best way to practice with a lower denture is to place the tongue right behind the lower front teeth. When the tongue places force on this one area, the denture stays seated against the bones on the ridge. The lower denture generally requires more practice to master compared to the upper denture as the tongue has to learn new muscle patterns to learn how to talk and to chew. 

How do you get to be a great Saint's player?  PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!Older couple golfing | dentist gretna LA

Dentures are the same way. Dentures require some breaking in like a new pair of shoes. It is normal to be sore for the first few days as your gums acclimate to the new prosthesis. Many people return once or twice to Dr. Schafer in the first week for small adjustments to remove pressure spots where the gums are irritated. After this initial week, then practice becomes important. Dr. Schafer recommends daily practice sessions of talking and of eating to learn how to wear the dentures.  

Talking with Dentures

The best way to learn how to talk with dentures is to pick up your favorite book or newspaper and simply read aloud to yourself. It is normal to have a slight lisp when you are first adjusting to your dentures but it will go away will practice. Also, Dr. Schafer recommends that you sing to yourself as much as you can. Singing works well because it can involve complex movements and can be pretty fun, as well. While many patients will quickly master speaking with their dentures, occasionally some wearers take more time.

Eating with Dentures

The biggest mistake people make when they wear their dentures for their first meal is to go eat a po boy or a steak. These foods are literally too tough to learn how to chew properly. Starting with these foods is like trying to run a marathon on your first day of exercise in a long time. The best foods to practice eating are foods that can be easily cut with a plastic spoon. Dr. Schafer recommends foods like eggs, red beans and rice, fish, spaghetti, and bananas. Learning how to eat right with dentures is a slow process and may take a few weeks or months to master well. Keep practicing each day and you will learn how to eat that great New Orleans food.

Dentures in Gretna, LA

For more help and answers about dentures, call our dental office in Gretna, LA. 

Older couple snuggling on the couch | Dentist Gretna LADentures are probably one of the least appreciated medical prosthetic devices. If a person has a leg replaced, most reasonable people understand that learning to walk again will take a lot of practice. Until only recently have hand prosthetics been able to do much more than simply grab something and most did nothing more than look like a hand.  Unfortunately, though, many first-time denture wearers do not realize how different a denture is from natural teeth.  

Many patients go out with their new set of dentures and try to eat a steak. Due to inexperience, they are quickly frustrated by the limited chewing ability. Other new denture users are afraid to be in public as they notice that their dentures shift around slightly when they talk. These patients haven't learned how to control their denture and not "play" with it in their mouth.

The easiest way to control and adapt to the denture is through implant placement which can help make the denture more like natural teeth. For people without implants though, learning to use a denture is like learning to walk for the first time. The three aspects of walking are the bones that support you, the muscles that produce forces, and the brain which coordinates everything. For dentures, the bones form the ridge which supports the denture and allows it to sit in one spot where it fits the best. The muscles of the mouth (the tongue, cheeks, lips, and chewing muscles) produce forces and pressure to keep the denture on the bone. Finally, the brain tells the muscles which ways to react to the denture so that the denture stays in the right place depending on whether the wearer is eating, talking, sneezing, or doing nothing.

Older couple hugging | Dentist Gretna LA If you are currently wearing a healing or an immediate denture, it is recommended to replace the denture within six months to one year. After this time, generally, the mouth has healed and stays stable. Continuing to wear a healing denture beyond the healing period can be difficult as it will no longer fit your mouth properly. Occasionally it can be realigned so that it adapts better to your mouth, but these are done on a case by case basis. 

The best way to fix a lower denture is by placing artificial titanium teeth called implants in the bone and attaching them to the denture with a medical-grade o-ring. These implantsClose up of older woman smiling | Dentist Gretna LA can help give some retention or suction to the denture. Many times only two small implants placed on the lower jaw can make the lower denture feel as natural as the upper denture. These implants make an unbearable lower denture feel stable. Dr. Schafer recommends that every single patient that wears a lower denture seriously consider having implants placed to improve the function and comfort of the denture.

Having an embarrassing denture mishap while laughing and eating with friends can be embarrassing. Implant-secured dentures can eliminate those denture mishaps so that you maintain a good diet and an active social life - two of the greatest joys in life!

Having implants also help to retain the bone structure that naturally deteriorates with tooth loss. Because dental implants are rooted in your bone, they stimulate regeneration, slowing down the process of bone loss. A few strategically placed dental implants can improve denture fit as well as retaining the precious bone that holds your denture in place and provides your face with bone structure. That way you can look and feel your best! 

Older couple snuggling on couch | Dentures Gretna LA Patients often ask us how long it's going to take to make a denture. The number of appointments depends on what type of denture is being made.  Dentures can take anywhere between 2 and 5 visits 30-minute appointments to make. Generally, we can do each appointment about 1 week apart.

The appointments involve taking a very good mold of the mouth, ensuring that the bite is comfortable, making sure that the smile looks great, and delivering the denture with minor adjustments. However, not all of these appointments are needed every time. For example, if a healing denture is being made and the teeth aren't too worn, generally only 2 appointments are needed as the current teeth tell Dr. Schafer where the bite should be but also prevent us from trying in the teeth in wax. On the other hand, if we are replacing an old worn denture, more appointments are needed to find a comfortable bite that allows for better-looking teeth.  

If you need a new set of dentures quickly for a big event such as a wedding or party, Dr. Schafer recommends at least one month but preferably two months to get the dentures done. However, if you need a set of dentures quicker than that, there are other options that can get you a new set of teeth quicker within a week. If you are concerned about how long it will take, please call our Gretna dental office today to make an appointment to get started as soon as possible so Dr. Schafer and his team can discuss all of your options with you. 

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