‘a removable plate or frame holding one or more artificial teeth’
often referred to as ‘false teeth’, dentures or plates are used to replace one or more missing teeth and the surrounding tissue. there are two types. partial dentures replace a few missing teeth, complete dentures replace all the natural teeth. they can be made wholly of acrylic, or acrylic and a light metal, such as cobalt chrome. the latter is more secure and less bulky but also more expensive.
complete plates can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional plate is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed
unlike conventionals, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. as a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. however, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. therefore a disadvantage of immediates compared with conventionals is that they will require relining to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
a removable partial plate usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework that holds it in place in the mouth. partial plates are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. not only does it fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position.
new plates may feel a little odd or loose for a few weeks until the muscles of the cheeks and tongue learn to keep them in place and you get comfortable inserting and removing them. also, it is not unusual for minor irritation or soreness to occur and for saliva flow to increase when you first start wearing them, but these problems will diminish as the mouth adjusts
eating may be difficult initially. it will take a little practice and may be uncomfortable for some wearers for a few weeks. start with soft foods cut into small pieces. chew slowly using both sides of your mouth. as you get used to new dentures, add other foods until you return to a normal diet.