Teeth may not always be restorable or may need to be removed due to multiple reasons. Some people may only need a few teeth removed and can have a partial denture made that replaces some missing teeth. In some instances, all teeth may need to be removed and a full denture can be made to replace all teeth. A denture may be inserted right after teeth extraction so that the patient does not have to be left without teeth for an extended period of time. This type of denture is called an immediate denture.
Whether all your teeth can or should be removed at once will require a discussion with your dentist. A patient’s ability to tolerate invasive procedures and anaesthetic requirements are some considerations that will impact on the decision. The procedure should be painless as either local anaesthetic that causes numbness will be administered, or patients who may need many teeth removed surgically may be put to sleep under general anaesthesia. The area where teeth have been removed will usually be sore or tender for 1-2 weeks. During this time, patients should avoid doing anything strenuous and strong painkillers and anti-inflammatories may be prescribed.
The gums and jawbone shrink and remodel the most in the first 6 months after teeth have been removed. A denture usually becomes looser during this time and patients may develop sore spots. Your dentist may made adjustments to the denture to ease sore spots and recommend ointments such as Kenalog in Orabase. Denture adhesive such as Polident may also assist in reducing the movement in the dentures. About 6 months after dental extractions, your dentist will assess the fit of your denture. In most cases, a new impression of your healed gums is needed to modify the base of your denture to fit your remodelled gums. This process is called a reline. In some cases where a patient’s gums and bone have shrunk drastically, a new denture may need to be fabricated. The gums and bones will remodel at a much slower and steadier rate after the initial 6 months after extractions and dentures may need to be remade every 5-10 years.
Dentures are tolerated differently by individuals. Some people may always struggle with wearing dentures, while others get accustomed to using them with time. With patience and realistic expectations, most people eventually learn how to function with their dentures, and importantly, learn to smile again.