Dentures – San Antonio, TX

A Simple Way to Rebuild Your Smile

Beautiful older woman with attractive teeth

An estimate from the American College of Prosthodontists states that around 40 million Americans are missing all of their teeth. If you are among them, you should certainly take time to consider your tooth replacement options. Here at HIC Dental-Implant & Family Dentistry in San Antonio, Dr. Patel often provides dentures for patients who are looking for a simple way to rebuild their smile. Contact us today to learn more about this efficient and effective treatment.

Why Choose HIC Dental-Implant & Family Dentistry for Dentures?

  • Beautiful & Natural-Looking Results
  • Skilled & Detail-Oriented Dentist
  • Cost-Effective Solution for Missing Teeth

Who Is a Good Candidate for Dentures?

Senior man speaking with his dentist

Are you struggling with the life-altering effects of missing teeth, such as difficulty chewing and speaking? Dentures might be right for you. When you visit us for your consultation, Dr. Patel will carefully examine your mouth and recommend a treatment plan that is based on your unique circumstances. As long as your gums are in fair health and you have no other significant contraindications, you may be able to take advantage of this restorative service.

Effects of Missing Teeth

Senior woman with sad expression on her face

Missing teeth can be the result of various circumstances. The most common causes are tooth decay, gum disease, and injury. Gum disease is particularly dangerous because it is common among older adults and often goes untreated until it is advanced. Tooth decay can also be sneaky because it often does not cause symptoms until it is fairly serious.

Regardless of what caused your missing teeth, it is important that you replace them. Otherwise, you may have persistent difficulty with eating and speaking. You may also be embarrassed to smile and feel a sense of isolation in social situations. Additionally, your overall health could suffer due to an unbalanced diet.

What Qualifies You for Dentures?

Senior woman speaking with dental team member

Dentures may be right for you if:

  • You are missing all or most of your teeth throughout one of your dental arches. If you are missing just one or two teeth, a different tooth replacement option may be preferrable.
  • You are in fair oral health. You should be free of active gum disease, and your jawbone should be strong enough to support dentures.
  • You are looking for a cost-effective treatment. Traditional dentures are popular among patients who are eager to find a budget-friendly form of tooth replacement.

Alternative Tooth Replacement Options

Illustration of dental implant bridge

If dentures are not right for you, you may be eligible for one of the following forms of tooth replacement:

  • A dental bridge. A bridge is a nonremovable prosthetic that relies on the remaining natural teeth for support. It can usually replace 1 – 3 missing teeth in a row.
  • Dental implants. Dental implants are prosthetic tooth roots. They can be used to support crowns, bridges, or dentures. Due to their stability, longevity, and other benefits, they are often regarded as the gold standard for tooth replacement. However, they do require more money and a longer treatment process.

Learn More About Dental Implants

Types of Dentures

Full and partial dentures against white background

There are a few different types of dentures. During your tooth replacement consultation, Dr. Patel will make a treatment recommendation based on your level of tooth loss, your oral health, and your personal preferences. You might be eligible for partial dentures, full dentures, or implant dentures.

Partial Dentures

Two partial dentures with metal attachments

If you still have a few healthy natural teeth, you might be a candidate for a partial denture, which is sort of like a puzzle piece that fits in around the existing dentition. Typically, partial dentures consist of an acrylic base, acrylic teeth, and small metal or acrylic clips to help them stay in place.

Full Dentures

Full set of dentures against dark background

The purpose of a full denture is to replace either all of the upper or lower teeth. Full dentures usually have an acrylic base and acrylic or porcelain teeth. Natural suction or a bit of adhesive helps them to stay secure during eating and speaking.

Implant Dentures

Implant denture for upper arch on dark reflective surface

Instead of relying on natural suction or adhesive to stay in place, implant dentures are anchored in the mouth via prosthetic tooth roots, which get surgically placed into the jawbone. Implant dentures are incredibly strong and are often regarded as the next best thing to natural teeth.

How Dentures Are Made

Dental lab technician working on dentures

After you decide to commit to dentures, you may have some questions about the road ahead. For example, you might wonder what steps are necessary during the denture creation process. How do we work with a dental laboratory to make sure that your prosthetic fits perfectly and serves as a natural complement for your facial aesthetics? Whether you need a full or partial denture, this basic overview of how dentures are made may prove to be an interesting read:

What Are Dentures Made Of?

Gloved hands holding denture for upper dental arch

Dentures are composed of two parts:

  • The base of dentures is the part that rests on your gums. It is usually made of gum-colored acrylic, but in some cases, resin or nylon is used. With partial dentures, the base includes small acrylic or metal clips that attach to nearby natural teeth.
  • The teeth of dentures are usually made of acrylic or porcelain. Acrylic is softer, so it is often the material of choice for patients who still have some of their natural teeth. Porcelain is usually favored for full-mouth tooth replacement.

The Denture Creation Process

Lab technician working on wax denture model

The denture creation process involves a number of steps:

  • To get things started, our team takes detailed impressions of your mouth using a special paste and impression trays. This creates a replica of your gumline that we then send to the lab that will create your prosthetic.
  • Once the lab receives your impressions, they can create a wax version of your gumline and use a device known as an articulator to place teeth into the wax gumline.
  • The wax dentures get sent to us. You will come in for a fitting so we can send notes to the laboratory about any adjustments that may need to be made.
  • We continue to coordinate with the dental laboratory as they work to fabricate your final restoration. Any necessary adjustments will be made to make sure that your new teeth are as comfortable and functional as possible.

Adjusting to Your New Dentures

Smiling senior dental patient

If your new dentures are not comfortable for you right away, that is nothing to worry about. There is an adjustment period where you might experience some soreness and tenderness in your gums. Challenges with eating and speaking are also common. With time, though, your dentures should start to feel like a natural extension of your body. Just be patient and continue to practice using your prosthetic. If a few months pass and you are still struggling, give us a call. Your dentures might need another adjustment.

The Benefits of Dentures

Happy older couple sitting on sofa

Some remarkable benefits of dentures include:

  • They are a cost-effective way to address extensive tooth loss.
  • We carefully design dentures so they look and feel as natural as possible.
  • They can equip you to eat a balanced, nutritious diet that supports overall health.
  • They can prevent your cheeks from looking hollow and allow you to have a more youthful appearance.
  • With proper care, dentures can last for several years.
  • Dentures are easy to clean and maintain.

Dentures FAQs

Should I Have All My Teeth Pulled to Get Dentures?

While extractions may be necessary to accommodate your new denture, Dr. Patel will always explore all your other options first. Whenever possible, he would rather preserve your natural teeth as they are stronger and more stable than most denture prosthetics. However, severe decay, late-stage gum disease, or extensive trauma could be a cause for the removal of multiple teeth, even whole dental arches. The important thing to remember is that at HIC Dental - Implant & Family Dentistry, your dental health comes first, and Dr. Patel will always be transparent with treatment options.

Is It Hard to Talk with Dentures?

Many patients do go through a small adjustment period when they first start wearing their dentures. On top of a slight change due to a covered palate or gums, your tongue needs time to get acclimated. How long it takes to get used to these alterations varies from patient to patient, but many patients forget they’re wearing dentures after approximately two to four weeks However, the more you practice, the quicker you should see results! For example, you can try reading books aloud, speaking slower, or talking to yourself in the mirror to get used to your dentures faster.

Why Do My Dentures Smell?

Just like natural teeth, dentures require consistent maintenance to keep them clean and smelling fresh. Food particles that accumulate in and around your prosthetic are broken down by oral bacteria. This produces sulfuric compounds that cause an unpleasant smell that can linger for a long time. To alleviate this, be sure to:

  • Rinse your dentures in cool water after every meal.
  • Clean every surface of your prosthetic twice a day with colorless hand soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Brush your gums, tongue, cheeks, and palate with regular toothpaste.
  • Soak your prosthetic in a glass of cool water or denture cleaner overnight.
  • If you have implant dentures, take care of them as you would natural teeth, brushing, flossing, and rinsing regularly.

What Can’t You Eat with Dentures?

While dentures restore your ability to eat many nutritious foods that you enjoy, they do have limitations. Sticky candies, popcorn, raw vegetables, tough meats, and other hard-to-chew foods are much more difficult to enjoy with dentures because they can stick in your prosthetic or cause it to dislodge. It’s best to cut these foods into smaller pieces, cook them differently, or avoid them altogether to avoid denture damage.

This isn’t as much of an issue with implant dentures because they are anchored to your jawbone, providing the stability necessary to bite and chew. However, even implant dentures can still be damaged by biting into hard items like popcorn kernels or ice.