HOW LONG DO DENTURES LAST?
Most dentures will last 5 – 10 years. Well planned and executed dentures would tend to be towards the upper end of this range.
Some people have been wearing the same set for well beyond that, but generally an examination would reveal some problems that either required correcting, or a new set being made.
Over the years, your gums will change and repairs and maintenance to your denture are likely to be needed to help extend its life. This may be in the form of adding a tooth if you require adental extraction, repairing a broken base, chipped tooth or a reline to ensure the denture is sitting down properly.
Many factors influence the success of your dentures (as you will find out in this series). How well you look after your dentures and your remaining teeth will certainly play an important part.
Q. Are all dentures made from a pattern or mould common to all patients?
A. Every person is different and so is every mouth, so no two dentures are ever alike. Dentures are custom hand-crafted to meet the needs of a particular patient. Today, with the substantial advances in technique and technology, there are more options than ever including dental implants.
Q. Are dentures unbreakable and will they last a lifetime?
A. Dentures are made of durable, high quality, break resistant materials. However, no manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee for their materials. For example, an accident can cause damage, and as with everything, there is normal wear and tear. At our Denture Clinic, we only use the highest quality materials for maximum durability and of course, to have you smiling again
Q. Can dentures be worn all the time of the day and night?
A. Dentures should never be worn 24 hours a day. A denture is an artificial appliance fitted against living tissue. It is best to give that tissue a chance to rest without pressure to maintain wellness. At least once a day you should remove your teeth and brush the mouth and gums with a very soft toothbrush. This stimulates circulation which helps maintain healthy tissue.
Q. Does the ability to use the front teeth to bite on hard foods like apples indicate good dentures?
A. No one who wears dentures should ever bite off food with their front teeth. Regularly doing so will result in substantial soreness in the mouth, and there is no adjustment that can be made to eliminate the soreness. You can eat virtually everything you like but, you must use correct eating techniques.
Q. Is it ok to regularly use an adhesive to keep dentures in place?
A. Dentures are crafted to fit precisely without adhesives. However, in rare cases, individuals might have to use an adhesive if they have experienced excessive bone loss. Adhesives can also be used in an unexpected situation such as dentures coming loose when you do not have immediate access to a denture clinic. This is only a temporary solution. Prolonged usage can result in bone loss, damage to living tissue and substantial soreness. Instead, see a dental prosthetist as soon as possible to provide the solution that is right for you.
Q. How do you clean and care for dentures?
A. Use commercially approved denture powders, tablets or toothpaste and a good quality denture brush for cleaning. After cleaning, rinse dentures thoroughly in clear water. Ideally, clean them over a water-filled sink or towel to minimize the risk of breakage should they accidentally be dropped. For plaque and tartar, see a dental prosthetist for an ultrasonic cleaning. It is important to remember to only use cleaning products that are approved for use on dentures.
Q. What is a dental implant?
A. A Dental Implant is a small titanium screw which is placed in the gum and serves as the replacement for the root portion of a missing tooth. The implant will then bond with the bone over time and serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth or teeth. Dental Implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth.
For some where a denture is acceptable, implants can be used to anchor the denture during function making it much more stable and eliminating the sore gums that many denture wearers experience.
Q. What are the advantages of a Dental implant?
A. Improved appearance: When you lose an entire tooth – crown and root – shrinkage of the jawbone may cause your face to look older. Dental implants can stop this process. A traditional denture or bridge doesn’t.
Maintained natural teeth: With traditional practices, two teeth adjacent to a missing tooth must be ground down to anchor a bridge. Dental implants often eliminate the need to modify healthy teeth.
Permanent solution: There are no loose parts to worry about. The implant is stable and comfortable and should serve its owner for life.
Most importantly, Dental Implants function, feel and look like natural teeth and problems with treatment are rare.
Q. Does it hurt to have a dental implant?
A. This is the most commonly asked question by patients contemplating this procedure. Placing the implant in the gum involves a minor surgical procedure that is carried out in the dental chair with local anaesthetic – the same as we use for fillings. Most patients say that the procedure is much easier than removing a tooth! There may be some discomfort afterwards depending on the number of implants placed, but mild pain killers easily control this.
For patients who are particularly nervous or where a lot of implants need to be placed at one time, various sedation techniques or general anaesthesia can be used.
With very few exceptions we find that most patients comment that the procedure was much easier than they expected.
Q. Are dental implants safe?
A. There has now been almost forty years of research showing that implant treatment is both safe and reliable, even in medically compromised or elderly patients. Today, over a million people have had implants fitted and this has become a tried and tested method for replacing lost teeth.
Q. How much do dental implants cost?
A. The fee for tooth replacement with Dental Implants will depend on several factors, including the number of teeth being replaced and the number of implants required to support your replacement teeth.
Some additional procedures may be required prior to the placement of your Dental Implants to ensure the long-term health of implants. Typically, there is a fee for the surgical procedure and a separate fee for attaching the posts and constructing your replacement teeth. To obtain a specific fee estimate, it is necessary to have a doctor examine your mouth. After a thorough diagnostic examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment that is best for you.
There is a variation in types of implants and materials which can be used for treatment. At The Dental Practice, we only use what we consider to be the highest quality products which allows us to guarantee our work and provide the highest standard of treatment possible.
Q. What is a dental hygienist?
A. Dental disease can be prevented. Effective home plaque control techniques help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Such problems are less likely to progress into more serious dental ailments resulting in extensive and costly treatment.
Q. Is it expensive to see a dental hygienist?
A. Dental Hygienists are specially trained members of the dental team who work together with your dentist to provide fully integrated dental care. They play an important role in oral health by providing individualised preventive treatment and demonstrating correct home care to patients to prevent dental disease and tooth wear.
Hygienists perform 4 main functions;
1. Dental hygiene education tailored to the patients needs including instructions to care for your gums and teeth and information on dietary habits and health conditions which may be adversely affecting your oral health.
2. Collaborate with your dentist to plan an oral health maintenance program and evaluation of your radiographs.
3. Removal of calculus deposits and stains from teeth.
4. Application of decay preventing agents and recommendation of products for home use.
Q. Why is dental care at home so important?
A. Any preventive care will ultimately lead to savings. Depending on the type of treatment carried out and the length of the appointment, costs will vary but can be discussed with you before the treatment begins.
Q. Why doesn’t the dentist do the work?
A. Dental Hygienists have been specially trained to perform preventive treatment and maintenance for your mouth, teeth and gums. The dentist will generally refer you to a Dental Hygienist for more specialised oral care, while they provide complex restorative or cosmetic care.
Root Canal Treatment
Q. What is a root canal treatment?
A. Root Canal Treatment is a procedure performed to treat and prevent pain and infection in decayed or traumatised teeth. The treatment involves 3 stages and can take several appointments depending on how complex your tooth is.
Stage 1 – The canals of the tooth are located and the infected or damaged pulp and tissue is removed.
Stage 2 – The canals of the tooth are cleaned and shaped.
Stage 3 – The canals of the tooth are filled to prevent re-infection.
Between each stage, sedative dressings and temporary fillings will be used to help the tooth settle down and destroy any remaining bacteria.
Q. Is root canal treatment painful?
A. The most common reason for needing Root Canal Treatment is due to deep decay which allows bacteria to reach the nerve or “pulp” of the tooth. The pulp may then become inflamed or infected and can then spread through the opening at the tip of the root to the surrounding bone. This can then result in an abscess which may lead to pain or swelling.
Other causes of pulp damage include traumatic blows to the teeth, loose fillings, excessive wear of teeth, cracked teeth and gum disease. All of these can in turn lead to an infected pulp requiring Root Canal Treatment.
Q. What causes snoring?
A. Snoring is a result of partial blocking of the upper airway. When you fall asleep, muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissues at the back of your throat can sag, narrowing the airway and incoming air then makes the tissues at the rear roof of your mouth vibrate making the sound we know as snoring.
Q. Will my snoring lead to other health problems?
A. Loud snoring may be a sign of a more serious problem – Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is where the airway becomes completely blocked and breathing stops. The brain then detects the lack of oxygen and prompts a momentary arousal to draw breath. Breathing may stop dozens, even hundreds of times a night, with each stoppage lasting from 10 seconds to over a minute.
OSA is a serious medical condition. It has been linked to excessive tiredness, memory problems, depression, reduced resistance to infection and increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Q. What are the treatment options for snoring or OSA?
A. The main options are –
1. Lifestyle changes – for example lose weight, stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol, don’t lie on your back in bed.
2. Oral appliance – An oral appliance like the SomnoMed MAS is a discreet, easily tolerated, portable appliance which is worn at night to enlarge the airway and keep it open.
3. Surgery – Surgery may be option to address chronic or serious snoring problems although this is sometimes a drastic measure and should be discussed at length with a professional