What are dentures?
Dentures are one option to replace missing teeth. They can be full dentures or partial dentures depending on how many teeth are needed to be replaced and can be a permanent or temporary measure. Dentures can also be made of plastic (acrylic) or a combination of metal and plastic (cobalt chrome). Some dentures are made as immediate dentures (were teeth are remove and the denture is fitted at the same time) and others are only fitted after the area has healed (this usually takes a few months).
The denture will need to be made so it fits well to your mouth. This is done by taking an impression of your mouth using a soft material called alginate and some plastic trays. These get sent off to the denture laboratory where they start to make your denture. This usually takes 4 visits from start to finish. Once the finished dentures have been fitted, you will be given instructions of how to look after them and information on what to expect over the next few weeks. Usually a review appointment will be made where the dentist will check how well you are wearing the dentures and correct and issues.
What to expect?
Getting used to dentures may take a while. They are not like natural teeth so it is important to have realistic expectations of how they will feel, look and function. At the start they may feel a little uncomfortable and they often rub. Any sore spots can be adjusted at your review appointment. Sometimes patients also find that they struggle saying certain words but with time and practice, this does get better. Eating with new dentures can also be a challenge. We recommend to start eating softer foods and gradually go on to harder foods as you become more used to them. We also recommend leaving them out at nighttime as this allows your gums to stay healthy.
How to care for your new dentures
Dentures should be cleaned regularly (at least twice a day) with a denture brush or a soft tooth brush and toothpaste or soap. All areas of the denture should be cleaned to prevent any infections occurring on your soft tissues (gum areas). If you decide to soak your dentures, do not use a denture cleaner containing bleach as it will change the colour of your denture, making them white. Always get advice from us if your dentures are relined as some denture solutions may cause them damage.
How to stop your dentures from moving around?
Full upper dentures are easier to keep in place compared to full lower dentures. Upper dentures sit over the roof of your mouth and are kept in using the suction between your palate and the saliva underneath it. How well they stay in depends on how much ridge you have (tissue you have left for the denture to sit on), how much saliva you have in your mouth and how well you get used to controlling them with the help of the muscle in your face.
Lower dentures are much harder to get used to. They tend to move around more and are harder to keep in place. It may take more time to learn to balance the denture between your tongue and your cheeks.
Partial dentures tend to be more retentive as they often sit in undercuts around your other teeth. Sometimes they have clasps that fit around your other teeth which help to keep it in. In some cases, fixative cream or strips can be used to help keep the dentures in place especially when just getting used to them.
How long do dentures last?
If cared for well, denture should last several years. With time they may become worn and as your tissues shrink (this occurs over time) you may find they do not fit well and start to rub. We always recommend to see a dentist every 12 months (even if you have no teeth) as your soft tissues can be examined and the fit of your dentures can be assessed.
You can find out more about dentures HERE.