Dentures are a removable appliance used to replace missing teeth. They are fabricated using either acrylic or cobalt chrome, to which false teeth are added. They help with speech, chewing, add support to your lips and chin, as well as improve the appearance of your smile.
There are two types of dentures –
- Partial denture, which replaces one tooth or several teeth.
- Full denture, which replaces your whole set of teeth, on the upper or lower jaw.
Dentures are kept in place by either using clasps, which anchor around neighbouring teeth, or by the dentures’ natural suction. Sometimes a denture fixative or glue is recommended, to aid in keeping the denture in place.
All dentures are designed by our dentist or dental technician to suit each patient’s individual needs.
Your dentist will assess your needs and thoroughly examine your mouth for suitability for dentures, looking at –
- All your existing teeth, checking for mobile teeth, as these may have to be removed prior to getting new dentures.
- Existing restorations, fillings, crowns, etc.
- The health of your gums, to make sure there is no infection present
- The way your teeth bite together
- Your gums and underlying bone, if you have no natural teeth
Generally, between 2 to 4 appointments will be necessary as dentures are made in stages. The stages are the same whether you are having Full dentures or Partial dentures, and will be explained to you by your dentist or dental technician. The only exception is an ‘Immediate denture’, when a tooth is extracted and the denture is fitted immediately to replace the missing tooth. This denture will then have to be adjusted or replaced 3 to 6 months after the extraction.
- Moulds, or impressions, of your teeth are taken, so that a ‘special’ tray is able to be designed to fit your mouth perfectly. A wax bite block will also be constructed, to record the way your teeth bite together.
- The ‘special tray’ is used to take moulds again, in order to ensure that an accurate denture for your teeth is able to be constructed. A registration of how your teeth bite together will be recorded using the wax bite block. The shade of the teeth will also be taken at this stage.
- You will be asked to try out your dentures, to ensure that they fit correctly. If any changes are needed, the adjustments will need to be made, before your dentures are fitted.
- Once ready, your dentures will be fitted.
It will take a while getting used to new dentures, so time and patience is needed. Upper dentures may affect your speech for a few days, whilst your tongue gets used to having the denture in place, but this will soon pass.
Dentures may cause soreness in the first 24 hours. If the soreness persists please contact your dentist or our dental clinic, as the dentures may need slight adjustments. This can be done at our surgery.
Keeping your dentures clean at all times is important. Rinse them after meals if possible, and brush them twice a day using toothpaste or soap and water. Dentures are only to be worn whilst you are awake; they need to be removed at night, as your gums need to have ‘a rest’, in order to stay healthy. Your dentures can then be sterilised in a denture solution while you sleep, however, always rinse or brush your dentures before putting them back in your mouth. If your dentures get stains that you cannot remove, ask your dentist to clean them professionally at your next appointment.
It is important that you still have regular examinations with your dentist even if you have no natural teeth, as the dentist needs to look for changes in your gums and the underlying bone. They also need to check your tongue, throat, cheeks and lips for infection or signs of oral cancer.