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A maxillary denture is a removable prosthesis to replace missing teeth on the upper jaw. More commonly known as false teeth, dentures are usually made up of acrylic resin, and both the "gum" and "teeth" parts are made to match as closely as possible the existing gums and teeth. Complete dentures replace the full set of teeth and partial dentures replace only some teeth. The use of dentures can improve chewing and speaking ability and restore confidence.
The process of making and adjusting the maxillary denture may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to months, with numerous visits to the dental practitioner. Depending on the type of maxillary denture, complete or partial, some teeth may need to be removed to prepare for the dentures. The structure of the mouth and gums may change slightly after these procedures and may take a while to settle. A temporary or immediate denture will be used until the final denture is fitted after the gums are entirely healed.
When making a maxillary denture, the dentist will take a series of molds of the patient's mouth and measure the size of the jaw, teeth and spaces between. The dentist will also note color of the teeth and gums. A wax or plastic model will then be made and placed in the patient's mouth to assess fit and comfort, allowing for minor adjustments before the final denture is made.
Correct fit of the maxillary denture is essential to ensure comfort, ease of eating and clear speech. Initially the dentures will likely feel uncomfortable and may cause sores on the palate or gums due to rubbing. Minor adjustments may need to be made in the first weeks of wearing the dentures to remedy this. After time the maxillary denture should feel comfortable and barely be noticeable to the wearer.
Looking after the maxillary denture once it is fitted is important, as infection may occur without the right denture hygiene. Like natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed to remove food and plaque. A soft brush and denture cleaning products or a mild soap should be used. Abrasive cleaning products should be avoided, as they may damage the dentures. The gums, tongue and palate should also be brushed.
Maxillary dentures should not be allowed to dry out. When left out of the mouth they should be placed in a clean container with either water or denture solution. Dentures should be rinsed with water before being placed back in the mouth.
The structure of the mouth and jaw changes as people grow older. Due to this, dentures need to be replaced every five years on average. This will ensure ongoing comfort and a proper fit.