Dentures are removable false teeth made of acrylic (plastic), nylon or metal. They fit snugly over the gums to replace missing teeth and eliminate potential problems caused by gaps.
Gaps left by missing teeth can cause problems with eating and speech so you may therefore need either:
- Partial Dentures – which replace just one tooth or a few missing teeth
- Full Dentures – which replace all your upper or lower teeth.
Dentures can be used to replace all or several missing teeth, preserving your facial structure, enabling you to eat properly and giving the appearance of a full set of healthy teeth.
If you have a few missing teeth, a partial denture may be a good option for you. A partial denture clips onto the surrounding teeth and fills in the gaps.
A standard partial denture has metal clips which can sometimes damage the teeth that they clip onto. However there is a type of partial denture called a Flexible Denture. This type of denture is made from a flexible plastic and clips onto your surrounding teeth without causing any damage. It is the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing option as there is no unsightly metal, just gum coloured plastic that sits comfortably and securely.
If you need to replace the whole of your upper and/or lower teeth, a full denture may be the best option.
The denture will fit snugly over your gums and jawbone and usually be fitted as soon as your teeth are removed, which means you won’t be without teeth. However, in some cases the gums may need to be left to heal and alter in shape for several months before dentures can be fitted. Temporary dentures may be provided during this time.
Yes you can! Your dentist will have to send the partial to a laboratory to have the tooth or teeth added to it, and you may have to go without your partial for a few days. Sometimes it may be better to have a new denture fabricated than to modify your existing one. Speak to your dentist about which procedure will be suitable for you.
Keeping your mouth clean is just as important when you wear dentures. You should brush your remaining teeth, gums and tongue every morning and evening with fluoride toothpaste to prevent further dental problems.
It is also important to regularly remove plaque and food deposits from your dentures, because unclean dentures can also lead to problems, such as bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay and oral thrush.
Clean your dentures as often as you would normal teeth (at least twice a day – every morning and night) by brushing them with toothpaste or soap and water before soaking them in a fizzy solution of denture-cleaning tablets to remove stains and bacteria (follow the manufacturer’s instructions). Brush them again to remove any leftover solution.
When you first start wearing dentures, you should eat soft foods cut into small pieces and chew slowly, using both sides of your mouth. Avoid chewing gum and any food that’s sticky, hard or has sharp edges.
You can gradually start to eat other types of food until you’re back to your old diet. Never use toothpicks.
Your Dentures should not move or slip as they will have been fitted to your mouth, however, your jawbone can shrink over time due to the missing teeth underneath the denture. If this starts to happen you should visit your dentist.
Dental Implants are a solution that prevents the shrinking of your jawbone by replacing the root of the tooth as well as the crown. Visit our page on Dental Implants or ask your dentist for more information.