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What is a Maxillary Denture?

By B. Chisholm
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments

By Inaventu — On Jan 25, 2015

When I started losing my natural teeth, I seriously considered getting partial dentures or a bridge, but then my dentist told me that I would probably lose some of the teeth he would use as anchors. I would be better off getting a maxillary denture instead of waiting for my remaining teeth to break or fall out. I never really wanted false teeth, but I'd rather have dentures than lose the ability to eat what I want.

I found out that same day dentures cost a lot more than I could afford, but my dentist said he could do all of the extractions at one time and send the measurements to a company that specialized in budget dentures. I wouldn't have to lose any of my bottom teeth, either. That would also be a substantial savings.

By RocketLanch8 — On Jan 24, 2015

I think I'm going to need a maxillary denture soon, since I've already started losing some of my upper teeth already. I must have had some sort of gum disease or something, because my teeth have been getting cracked after eating what used to be normal foods for me, like rib and corn on the cob.

I hope I can find a dentist that can do all of the extractions at the same time, so then I can get fitted for same day dentures. I don't want to spend weeks eating nothing but soft foods and protein shakes like a friend of mine did.

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