Older man smiling with dentures

Dentures Dentist Serving Greenville, Simpsonville, Taylors, Greer, Mauldin & Nearby Areas Of  South Carolina

Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. If you have suffered significant tooth loss, you may experience difficulty eating, speaking, and chewing. You may feel self-conscious and hold back from smiling.

At Flatrock Family Dentistry, our board-certified dentists Dr. Christopher J. Rouse and Dr. E. Michael Crosland believe everyone deserves to have a smile they want to show off. They can help restore not only your beautiful smile, but also the many functions of daily life that become a struggle without teeth. They can help you eat and speak normally again.

What are Dentures?

Dentures involve a flesh-colored base that covers your gums, with replacement teeth on top of it. They are custom-made in a dental laboratory based on impressions of your mouth.

There are two types of dentures:

  • Complete: Complete dentures replace all the teeth in your mouth. The process for creating them involves removing all of your remaining teeth, then placing the dentures.
  • Partial: If you have teeth that are saveable and capable of supporting dentures, partial dentures can be anchored to your remaining teeth.

Benefits of Dentures

Dentures can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Restoring your smile
  • Easier speaking
  • Restoring your ability to eat and chew

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures fully replace all of your teeth. There are two different kinds of complete dentures:

  • Conventional: Conventional dentures involve removing all the teeth from your mouth, then fabricating your dentures while your gums heal. The healing process can take as long as 8 to 12 weeks, during which time you would be without teeth.
  • Immediate: With immediate dentures, your replacements are put in as soon as your teeth are removed. This means you never have to go without teeth, even while your mouth heals. However, they may need more adjustments after the fact as your mouth changes during the healing process.

Partial Dentures

Senior citizen with dentures smilingPartial dentures are useful if you have remaining teeth that can be saved and are strong enough to support the dentures. They involve using natural teeth as anchors.

These teeth will have crowns placed on them. The crowns will be connected to the structure of the dentures and hold them in place. This will not only address the issues with eating, chewing, and speaking caused by missing teeth, but also prevent your natural teeth from changing position.

How are Dentures Made?

The denture process can take multiple appointments. First, our dentists will make impressions and take measurements of your upper and lower jaws. Then, they’ll make models in the exact shape of what your dentures will look like so you can try them in your mouth. These models will be judged for fit, color, and shape.

Once our doctors have a good model, the final denture will be cast. Once you try your final dentures on, adjustments can be made as necessary.

What Do Dentures Feel Like?

New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable in your mouth at first. It may take you time to get used to eating and chewing again. Start with small pieces of soft food, and chew them slowly on the sides of your mouth. Then, gradually start introducing more food.

Dentures may feel loose as your facial muscles and tongue become used to holding them in place. Your mouth may also produce more saliva at first as it starts to adjust to your dentures. As you get more used to them, these issues will diminish.

Caring for Dentures

Your dentures may need to be remade or replaced because of normal wear and tear. However, by following these tips, you can increase their longevity:

  • Don’t let dentures dry out: Keep them in a sterile cleansing solution or room-temperature water when you’re not wearing them. Never store them in hot water. It can cause them to warp.
  • Handle with care: Dentures are delicate and may break if dropped. Handle them over a folded towel or water basin to mitigate this risk.
  • Brush your dentures daily: This will remove food deposits and prevent them from getting stained.
  • Brush your gums and tongue twice a day: Just like you should brush your natural teeth twice daily, brushing your gums and tongue will remove plaque and food. It will also prevent bad breath and stimulate circulation in your gums.

How will I know if I need dentures?

While this may seem obvious, it’s not really. Many people, actually a quarter of Americans over age 65, have lost all of their teeth. A sizable additional percentage is missing many teeth. At a certain point, a person who has lost a few teeth to decay and gum disease may just throw in the towel and give up hope. He or she may adopt a soft diet and may avoid smiling in public situations.

That’s the time to consider replacing your missing teeth with dentures. Beyond the capacity to eat foods you used to eat, dentures can return a sense of self-confidence and pride to the wearer. But they’re more than that. Dentures can…

  • Give a person back the ability to chew and bite properly.
  • Give a person back their self-confidence.
  • Allow the person to eat healthier foods such as nuts and fruit again.
  • Can give a person back normal speech patterns.
  • Improve the wearer’s facial structure.

Full or partial dentures?

The decision whether to have full or partial dentures isn’t really a choice. The preference is partial dentures that are anchored to a few existing healthy teeth. This option adds stability to the partial denture that full dentures never have. But the patient needs to have at least a few remaining healthy teeth that can be saved. Partial dentures can be fixed, anchored to crowns on the adjacent teeth; or they can be removable, attached to adjacent teeth with a metal framework that allows the denture to be removed.

If any remaining teeth are badly decayed, beyond the point of saving them, they will need to be extracted and the patient will need full dentures to replace them. These dentures will cover the entire upper and lower jaw.

Can I eat normally with dentures?

With partial dentures there really aren’t any restrictions on what you can eat. It’s wise to avoid overly sticky and chewy foods, such as caramel apples or toffee, not because you cannot eat them, but because they could break or pull off your partial denture.

With full dentures, it will take a little getting used to when eating. Eating and speaking will take some practice. In the beginning, you’ll need to eat soft foods cut into small pieces. As you get the hang of eating with your dentures you can return to a normal diet, but you should avoid extremely sticky and hard foods.

As you become comfortable eating, you’ll love how many foods you’ve been avoiding because you could not chew them or they were painful to chew can return to your menu. This is great for your variety and your nutrition.

Are there any foods I need to avoid with dentures?

As mentioned above, you’ll need to make some decisions about some foods. These decisions will be up to you, but certain foods don’t go well with dentures.

  • Popcorn — Popcorn hulls can get stuck beneath your dentures and can be extremely painful.
  • Sticky candy — Caramels, taffy, peanut brittle, and other sticky candies will likely dislodge your dentures.
  • Nuts — Nuts are important for the diet, but pieces can get under your dentures. Plus, you need to chew evenly on both sides with dentures, and people eating a couple nuts at once usually chew on only one side.
  • Seeded bread or crackers — The seeds can get stuck under your dentures, and it’s like having a stone in your shoe.
  • Steak — Chewing a big bite of steak can dislodge your dentures. Cut your steak into small pieces.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables — Everyone needs lots of fruits and vegetables, but the raw variety of some, such as apples, carrots, and cooked corn-on-the-cob can be problems. Smoothies can deliver the fruits; cooking can deliver the vegetables. Cutting the corn off the cob solves that one.
  • Peanut butter — This will stick to all surfaces. That’s one thing with natural teeth, but another with dentures.

Is it possible to get dentures after not having had any teeth for a long time?

Even if you haven’t had any remaining teeth for a long time, there’s no reason Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland cannot fit you for a set of full dentures. Modern techniques allow for much more precise fitting, making dentures easier to wear and maintain. Elderly woman getting dentures in Greenville

What should I do if my dentures are loose?

If you sense that your dentures have become loose, whether when talking or eating, that’s a sign it’s time for your dentures to be relined. This needs to happen every year or two throughout the life of your full dentures.

If you’ve just recently been fitted for dentures by the team at Flatrock, you may have feelings that your new dentures are loose. It will take several relines during the first few weeks to fully adjust your dentures. This is completely normal.

Bottom line? If your dentures ever feel loose, give us a call and let’s reline them.

Do I brush my dentures like regular teeth?

Full dentures are not meant to be worn 24 hours a day. They need to be taken out at night to allow your gum tissues to rest, and for normal stimulation by your tongue and cleansing by your saliva.

You brush your dentures with special denture toothpaste, not normal toothpaste. Normal toothpaste contains various abrasive substances that can create minute scratches that allow food and plaque to build up on the dentures. Brushing removes food and plaque. After brushing, your dentures will then spend the night in a denture cleansing solution or in water so that they stay moist.

Will dentures change how I speak?

If you’ve been missing all or most of your teeth for a long time, you probably don’t realize some of the changes that likely have occurred with your speech. Speech patterns with several missing teeth or when missing most of your teeth can be challenging. You’ve likely been slurring certain words because our teeth allow enunciation of certain syllables.

Speaking with full dentures won’t change your speech in tone or tenor, but it will improve your articulation. But you will have a period of adjustment, just as you do as different foods return to your diet. You won’t have the same leakage of air when forming certain sounds. It will take a little practice to get used to your new dentures and your speech. The best practice when working through this adjustment is to read aloud. This will quickly make you comfortable speaking with dentures.

Schedule Your Greenville Dentures Consultation Today

At Flatrock Family Dental, Dr. Rouse and Dr. Crosland want you to live the confident, fulfilling life that comes with having a beautiful smile and a full set of teeth. They will treat you with dignity, care, and compassion as they work to restore your ability to eat, speak, and chew normally. They are committed to taking a holistic approach to your oral health and, when they treat you in our state-of-the-art facility, you’ll be in good hands.

We serve Greenville, Five Forks, Greer, and nearby areas of South Carolina. Call (864) 568-4784 today to schedule a consultation.