Dentures & More in Fitchburg, MA

Types of Complete Dentures


If you're a first-time denture wearer, you probably have many questions. The first thing you should understand is that there are several different
types of dentures, each with different functions and purposes.

The two main categories of dentures are partial dentures and complete dentures. Partial dentures replace one or more teeth, but complete
dentures replace all your teeth.

There are two main types of complete dentures: conventional and immediate dentures.

Conventional dentures are placed in your mouth several months after your dentist in Fitchburg, MA removes your teeth. Your dentist waits until
your tissue heals to place this denture type.

In contrast, immediate dentures are placed right after your dentist removes your teeth. This way, you don't have to go without teeth while your
tissue heals. But since your gums shrink while healing, immediate dentures may not give you a perfect long-term fit. Thus, you should replace them
with conventional dentures after your tissue heals.

Both types of complete dentures consist of a flesh-colored acrylic plastic framework. The upper denture covers the entire roof of your mouth, but
the lower denture is horseshoe shaped to make room for your tongue.

Dentures have a natural seal, but your saliva, cheek muscles, and tongue help keep them in place as well. Your dentist in Fitchburg, MA can also
attach the dentures to your natural tooth roots or implants (artificial tooth roots) to ensure a secure fit.

Caring for Your Dentures


First, clean your dentures daily to remove food and plaque and prevent staining. To clean your dentures, rinse them and brush each surface with a
cleaner.

The best brush choice is a denture-cleaning brush, but a soft-bristled toothbrush will work as well. Avoid hard bristles, which can damage
dentures. You can use an ultrasonic cleaner, but this shouldn't replace brushing.

For a cleaner, you can use a denture cleanser, hand soap, or mild dishwashing soap. Do not use household cleaners, which can damage your
dentures.

Next, keep your dentures wet. Soaking your dentures prevents them from drying out and changing shape. When you're not wearing your
dentures, place them in a denture-soaking solution approved by the American Dental Association (look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance). Store
your dentures away from children and pets.

Denture Replacements


Your dentures will fit perfectly at first, but as time goes by, they may begin to feel uncomfortable. After all, your mouth changes naturally with age.

Your bones and gum ridges may shrink, which causes your jaw to align differently. When this happens, talk to your dentist about denture
replacement.

Your dentist can reline or rebase your dentures at a Fitchburg, MA clinic. Relining means to add new material to the dentures' underside, helping
your dentures better conform to your gums. Rebasing means to make a new base for your dentures and to attach the artificial teeth from your
original dentures to the new base.

In some cases, your dentist in Fitchburg, MA may need to remake the artificial teeth in your dentures as well.

Caring for Your Mouth


Even when you wear dentures, you should keep oral hygiene a priority. Each morning before you place your dentures, brush your tongue, palate,
and gums. Also, eat healthy foods and a balanced diet.

Dental Appointments


Even after you have lost your teeth, regular oral examinations by your dentist are necessary. The mouth and oral tissues are subject to potentially serious diseases and should be examined on a routine basis. During your visit, the dentist will look for signs of oral disease such as cancer.

Your dental office will advise you about how often you should have checkups. During the visit, the dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit and determine if adjustments are needed.

You can wear your new denture with a smile if you have a positive attitude, a balanced diet, are persistent in practicing how you speak and eat, and see your dentist regularly.

The good thing about dentures is that they can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth. there may be little change in your appearance and full dentures may even restore the look of your smile.
 

Growing Accustomed to Your Dentures


New Dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks. They may feel loose, while the muscles of yoru cheeks and tongue learn to hold them in place. Salivary flow temporarily increases. Mintor irritation or soreness is not unusual. these problems often diminish as your mouth becomes accustomed to new dentures, and so your dentist may need to make adjustments.

Eating with dentures takes a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. chewing slowly and using both sides of your moth at the same time will prevent the dentures from moving out of place. Other types of foods can gradually be introduced until you resume your normal diet.

Speaking with your new dentures also will require practice. Reading out loud and repeating difficult words in front of a mirror will help. Speaking slowly will help eliminate muffled speech. If dentures sometimes slip out of place when you laugh, cough or smily, you can reposition them by biting down and swallowing.

After you get the new dentures, your dentist may advise you to wear them most of the time, including while you sleep. After the adjustment period, you may be instructed to remove them at bedtime. Generally, it is not advisable to wear them around the clock because tissues that are constantly covered with denture material can become irritated.
 
Tooth implantation, denture
 

Denture Adhesives


Although dentures are made to fit securely, your dentist may recommend using a denture adjesive while you become accustomed to wearing your new denture.

A loose denture, which makes chewing difficult and can change the facial features, may require relining. A denture that does not fit properly may cause irritation and possible sores and infection. While a denture adjesive can temporarily aid a losse-fitting denture, prolonged use of adhecsives is not recommended. If your denture is loose, have your dentist check it. Your dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist, who is specially trained to provide solutions for replacing lost teeth.

What Exactly is a Bridge or Fixed Partial Denture?


A bridge (also called a fixed partial denture) is a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost. There are two types of bridges - fixed and removable. A fixed bridge is bonded or cemented into place - only a dentist can remove it.

As its name describes, a removable bridge (more commonly known as a removable partial denture) readily can be taken out of the mouth for cleaning. Although removable bridges generally are less expensive, fixed bridges may feel more stable and comfortable.
 

Why Do I Need a Bridge?


Your appearance, dental health and the proper functioning of your mouth are all important reasons for wearing a bridge. A bridge helps maintain the natural shape of your face and may help support your lips and cheeks. The loss of a back tooth may cause your mouth to sink and your face to look older.

More important, though, your dental health may suffer when teeth are not replaced. Teeth work together. When a tooth is lost, the nearby teeth may tilt toward the empty space, or the teeth in the opposite jaw may shift up or down toward the space. This can alter your bite and place unusual stress on both the teeth and tissues in your mouth.
 
Immediately after a tooth is lost.
 
When a tooth is not replaced, the remaining teeth can drift out of position.
 
In addition, due to the increased stress, the gum tissues and the bone that hold teeth in place can break down from the resulting gum disease. Teeth that have tipped are difficult to clean, making them more likely to decay. As a result, even more teeth may eventually be lost.

Missing teeth also can affect the way you chew and speak. Chewing on one side only may cause stress in your mouth and jaw joints. You also need your teeth to speak properly, since they help you make many of the sounds needed in speech.

If you need extensive fixed bridge work, your dentist will provide treatment or refer you to a prosthodontist. A prosthodontist is a specialist trained in the restoration and replacement of teeth.

How is a bridge attached?


A fixed bridge is commonly cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing teeth. A false tooth (called a pontic) replaces the lost tooth. A pontic is attached to a crown (restoration that covers a tooth). Crowns, which are cemented on natural teeth, serve as abutments that provide support for the bridge.

 
Traditional Fixed Bridge
Teeth adjacent to the gap are prepared.
 
The custom-made bridge is fitted and
adjusted
 
After adjustments are made, the bridge is
cemented into place.
 

Are there different types of bridges?


Yes. For example, implants attach artificial teeth directly into the jaw or under the gum tissue. Because they require surgery, candidates for implants should have good general health and have adequate bone to support an implant.

In some instances, a resin-bonded bridge, frequently called a "Maryland Bridge," can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. Because the bridge is attached by a special procedure called bonding, it doesn't require the use of crowns or extensive tooth preparation. Your dentist can determine whether this treatment method is appropriate for you.
 
Implant Bridge
Before
 
After
 
A bridge attached to implants.
 

What materials are used?


Appearance and function are considered when selecting materials for bridges. Bridges are made from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain often is bonded to either precious or non-precious metal. Your dentist will discuss which materials are best for you.

How do I take care of my bridge?


 
It is very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy. A bridge can lose its support if the surrounding teeth or the jawbone that holds it become damaged by dental disease. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean between the teeth and under your bridge with floss or other interdental cleaners Interdental cleaners (specially shaped brushes as well as rubber, plastic or wooden items). While it is not a substitute for flossing, a useful tool to use in addition to floss is a water jet. These measures help remove a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Plaque causes gum disease and dental decay.

When choosing a dental product, check to see if it displays the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This is your assurance that the company has demonstrated through testing of its product that the product has met the ADAs criteria for safety and effectiveness.

Be especially careful to clean the areas under, around and between the bridge and your natural teeth. Denta l floss threaders and special brushes can help you reach these areas. It is also important to visit your dentist regularly.

Remember, the ultimate success or failure of a fixed bridge depends on its foundation. Help keep your gums and remaining teeth healthy. Your oral health and your appearance are worth the effort!
 
Interdental Cleaners
 

What are crowns and why are they used?


A crown is a restoration that covers, or caps, a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. Its purpose is to strengthen or improve the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are placed for a variety of reasons. Crowns can:
  • Restore teeth when there isn't enough tooth remaining to provide support for large fillings
  • Attach bridges
  • Protect weak teeth from fracturing
  • Restore fractured teeth
  • Cover badly shaped or discolored teeth
  • Cover dental implants

Which material is best?


Both the "look" and function of a crown are considered when choosing the materials most suitable for you. Your dentist will consider the tooth location, the position of the gum tissue, the amount of tooth that shows when you smile, the color or shade of the tooth , and the function of the tooth.
 
 
Full porcelain fused to metal
 
Full porcelain crown
 
Full cast alloy crown
 
Crowns are made from a number of materials. Gold alloys or non-precious alloys, porcelain or ceramic, composite resin, or combinations of these materials may be used. Full metal crowns are stronger but not esthetically pleasing; porcelain crowns are not as strong as full metal crowns. Crowns made entirely of porcelain may look better, and they are stronger than they used to be, but still are not as strong as the other materials. In the process of making a crown, the material is colored to blend in with your natural teeth. It is important to consult with your dentist as to which crown materials are best for your specific situation.

How is a crown placed?

 
 
Before
 
Crown placed over prepared tooth
 
Crown in place
 
The placement of a crown is a precision procedure. Several steps are involved, and at least two dental visits usually are necessary for complelion. The dentist wi ll prepare the tooth by removing its outer portion to accommodate the thickness of the crown. 11 the looth has a filling, part of the material may be left in place to erv as a foundation for the crown. An impression i Ill il cle to provide an exact model of the prepared tooth. Your denll st or a dental laboratory technician, following the written in truction of the dentist, will then make the crown from the model.

"Temporary" crowns are placed while the permanent crown is made. If the shapes or lengths of your teeth are changed for cosmetic purposes, temporary crowns will allow you to become accustomed to these changes. Temporary crowns also can help you decide if you like what you see or if there are any changes you would like made before the finished crowns are placed.

When the finished crown is ready, the dentist puts it in place and makes necessary adjustments. To see how your crown will look, you can use a large mirror held at arms' length in various types of lighting. When you and your dentist are satisfied with its appearance, the crown will be cemented in place.

How do I take care of my crowns?


When you have crowns, it is especially important to brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss or other interdental cleaners. Brushing and flossing remove a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Be sure to remove plaque from the area where the gum meets the tooth (the sulcus). When plaque accumulates in the sulcus, it can cause dental decay or gum disease. To prevent damaging or fracturing the crowns, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects. It also is important to visit your dentist regularly.

What will the finished crown look like?


Your dentist's main goal is to create crowns that look like natural teeth and feel comfortable. To achieve this, a number of factors are considered. These include the color, occlusion or "bite," shape and length of both your natural teeth and your artificial crown. Anyone of these factors alone can significantly affect your appearance.

Although your dentist may be able to accommodate your request for a particular esthetic effect, your first choice may not be possible due to technical lim itations or oral health concerns. If you have a certain look in mind for your crown, discuss it with your dentist at your initia l visit. When the procedure is complete, your teeth may not only be stronger, they may be the most attractive feature of your face - your crowning glory.
 
 
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