Upper dentures, also known as dentures for the upper arch or maxillary dentures, are prosthetic devices designed to replace missing teeth in the upper jaw. They are custom-made to fit comfortably and securely over the gums and jawbone, and they are typically held in place by suction or denture adhesive.
There are many reasons why someone might need upper dentures, including tooth loss due to decay, injury, or ageing. Whatever the reason, upper dentures can improve the appearance of your smile, restore your ability to speak and eat properly and prevent further damage to your remaining teeth and gums.
Types of Upper Dentures
There are two main types of upper dentures: full dentures and partial dentures.
- Full dentures, also known as complete dentures, are used when all of the teeth in the upper jaw are missing. They are designed to replace the entire upper arch of teeth and are held in place by suction and the natural contours of the jawbone.
- Partial dentures, on the other hand, are used when some of the natural teeth in the upper jaw are still present. They are designed to fit around the remaining teeth and can be held in place by clasps or other attachments.
Choosing the Right Denture Material
When it comes to denture materials, there are two main options: acrylic dentures and porcelain dentures.
Acrylic dentures are the most common type of denture and are generally less expensive than porcelain dentures. They are also lightweight and easy to adjust. However, acrylic dentures are not as durable as porcelain dentures and can be more prone to staining and discolouration over time.
Porcelain dentures, on the other hand, are more expensive but also more durable and natural-looking. They are made of high-quality ceramic material that closely resembles natural teeth and is resistant to staining and discolouration.
Getting Fitted for Upper Dentures
Getting fitted for upper dentures is a multi-step process that typically involves an initial consultation, impressions and molds, and a try-in and adjustment period.
During the initial consultation, your dentist or prosthodontist will examine your mouth and discuss your goals and expectations for the dentures. They will also take measurements and make impressions of your mouth to create a custom-fitted denture.
Once the impressions and moulds are complete, your dentist will create a wax or plastic model of the denture for you to try on and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a comfortable fit. This try-in and adjustment process may take several visits.
Caring for Upper Dentures
Proper care and maintenance of your upper dentures are essential to their longevity and your oral health. Here are some tips for caring for your dentures:
- Clean your dentures daily using a denture brush and mild soap or denture cleaner.
- Rinse your dentures thoroughly after eating or drinking anything other than water.
- Store your dentures in water or a denture solution when you're not wearing them to prevent them from drying out or warping.
- Avoid exposing your dentures to hot water, which can cause them to warp or lose their shape.
- Handle your dentures carefully to avoid dropping or damaging them.
Common Problems with Upper Dentures
Despite your best efforts to care for your dentures, you may experience some common problems. If you experience any of these issues, be sure to consult your dentist or prosthodontist right away.
This problems include:
- Sore spots: New dentures may cause sore spots on the gums, which can be uncomfortable and painful.
- Difficulty speaking: It may take some time to get used to the feel of the dentures in your mouth, which can affect your speech.
- Difficulty eating: Chewing and swallowing may be difficult at first, especially with hard or sticky foods.
- Ill-fitting dentures: Over time, your dentures may become loose or ill-fitting, causing discomfort or difficulty with eating and speaking.
- Denture odour: If not cleaned properly, dentures can develop an odour, which can be unpleasant.
- Staining or discolouration: Dentures may become stained or discoloured over time, which can affect their appearance and make them more difficult to clean.
- Gum irritation: Wearing dentures for long periods can cause irritation or sores on the gums.
Tips for Adjusting to Upper Dentures
Adjusting to new upper dentures can take some time, but there are things
you can do to make the transition easier. Here are some tips for adjusting to your new dentures:
- Start with soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow, such as mashed potatoes, soup, and yoghurt.
- Practice speaking aloud to get used to the feel of the dentures in your mouth.
- Wear your dentures for shorter periods at first and gradually increase the time you wear them.
- Be patient and give yourself time to adjust. It can take several weeks or even months to feel completely comfortable with your new dentures.
Upper dentures are a great option for anyone who has lost some or all of their teeth in the upper jaw. With the right care and maintenance, they can provide many years of comfort and functionality. If you're considering upper dentures, talk to your dentist or prosthodontist about your options and what to expect during the fitting and adjustment process. With a little patience and some helpful tips, you can adjust to your new dentures and enjoy a healthier, happier smile.
Q1: What are upper dentures?
A1: Upper dentures are a type of dental appliance that is designed to replace missing teeth in the upper jaw.
Q2: How do upper dentures stay in place?
A2: Upper dentures typically rely on suction and/or adhesive to stay in place on the gums.
Q3: Can upper dentures be uncomfortable?
A3: Upper dentures can be uncomfortable for some patients, especially during the initial adjustment period. However, with proper care and maintenance, many patients find that they adapt to wearing dentures relatively quickly.
Q4: How long do upper dentures last?
A4: The lifespan of upper dentures can vary depending on factors such as the materials used, the patient's oral hygiene habits, and the level of wear and tear. In general, upper dentures should be replaced every 5-10 years to ensure proper fit and function.
Q5: Can upper dentures be replaced with dental implants?
A5: Yes, upper dentures can often be replaced with dental implants, which provide a more secure and long-lasting tooth replacement solution.