Dentures explained

Being completely toothless looks adorable, but only newborns can run away with this feat—not adults.

A data collected by a 2016 survey, as reported in 2019 back by Dentaleh, showed that about 1 in three Singaporean that is over 60 years old has lost not just a few, but all of their teeth. Losing tooth or few of them may be generally overlooked by some, thinking that it will not cause any difference. The truth to the matter is having gaps in the teeth can open a Pandora’s Box of problems that affect the body’s health.  Consequences include:

  • Changes in facial structures, causing one to look old
  • Cause negative effects on the emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing
  • Can be damaging to self-worth
  • Can pose challenges to speaking
  • Higher risk of developing gum and other health problems
  • Lack of proper nutrition

Time and again we have been told to take good care of our oral health. What may happen to us if we do not do so is hardly ever communicated, so it is understandable that people shrug off the thought of replacing a few missing teeth. Other times, those who have lost their teeth do not bother to get dental procedures because they are not aware of what treatments are available, such as dentures.

In Singapore, the use of teeth dentures is the most common and affordable way of restoring back teeth. When the whole set of teeth is lost, a person can get complete dentures. When there are still some natural teeth in place, then partial dentures are used.

Dentures can totally reverse the consequences brought about by missing teeth. Choosing to wear one will allow a person to improve their facial appearance, leading to a positive wellbeing and outlook in life: no longer will they feel ashamed of smiling, speaking, or socializing in public because they can confidently flash their smiles and be able to communicate with better enunciation. The body will benefit from receiving the nutrition it needs as meal times will be less harrowing and not only limited to softer foods. Of course, being able to eat favourite foods once again is definitely a mood booster so that’s a huge plus. Summarizing all of the benefits that dentures can do point us to the most important thing: holistic health improvement.

So, what are the options?

There are several: complete, partial, implant-supported.

Let us look at how each one works closely.

Complete dentures take the place of all the teeth in the lower or upper part of the mouth. People who have had their entire teeth extracted and have fully healed are good candidates for this type of dentures. To wear them, simply insert the dentures in the mouth and rest them on top of the gums. Dental adhesives can be used to attach them more securely and have better stability.

Complete dentures can be further classified into two: conventional or immediate.

Conventional dentures are permanent set of the teeth and gums replacement, while the other is temporary. Immediate dentures replace the extracted teeth following a procedure while the conventional dentures are being fabricated. The immediate dentures are discarded once the permanent teeth fixture is ready for use.

Partial dentures work best to replace a few lost teeth. The existing natural teeth help secure the dentures in place as the device are moulded to fit the space that surround them.

Implant-supported dentures can replace missing teeth with the help of dental implants. This requires an operation to take place in order to embed the implants into the jaw and effectively hold the dentures in place. Implant-supported dentures prove to be better at holding the dentures securely compared to the others that may require adhesive to avoid getting dislodged when worn.

Who can fit dentures?

The go-to persons for dentures are prosthodontists. A prosthodotist is a licensed dentist that has undergone the required education and training to create and fit dentures.

What to anticipate when getting dentures?

The course of getting dentures does not happen in just one sitting. In fact, its development may require a patient several visits to the dentist over a period of weeks. Patients can expect to undergo the following steps during their treatment:

  1. Jaw measurements and impressions are taken.
  2. An assessment then follows. The dentist uses a sample model which the patient will try on. The dentist will evaluate whether the model dentures’ fit, colour, and shape are suitable before making the permanent set of dentures.
  3. The permanent dentures are made. Once ready, they are fitted by the patient. Necessary adjustments may be made so that the dentures fit comfortably.

Dentures can get some weeks or months to get used to. The lower part of the face may feel a bit sore as the cheeks or jaw adapts to changes. It is advisable that patients make a few temporary changes to their diet, like switching to soft foods and gradually transitioning to regular diet once they have gotten comfortable with eating while using the dentures.

Communicating can make the wearer conscious of how they pronounce certain letters as they wear dentures. It will take patience and consistent practice in talking with the dentures in place to be able to get past through this momentary difficulty.

What factors affect the total cost of dentures?

There are a number of factors that influence the amount of money that patients need to prepare for this procedure:

  • Case complexity – Price for partial dentures can sum up to almost the same cost as complete dentures because the process of production is more complicated.
  • Appliance type – Implant-supported dentures are much expensive because they will require surgery.
  • Quality of materials used – Dentures that are fabricated from high quality materials are more durable, but costly.

Conventional type of dentures are likely to range from $2,500 to $5,000 for a complete set, while the charge for a top or bottom denture is usually around $1,000 to $2,500. Dental insurance can help cut on costs if the patient has one.