Dentures are basically false teeth used to replace missing teeth
Missing teeth can have major consequences for your smile, your bite and your ability to chew food. The gaps they leave behind are prone to gum disease and the remaining teeth can rotate or shift into the empty spaces leading to bite or even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Without replacing missing teeth, eventually the jaw bone in this empty area can waste away causing a collapse of the lips and cheeks and aging your appearance.
Dentures are the cheapest alternative for the replacement of missing teeth and they can be used to replace entire sets of missing teeth (complete or full denture) or a small number of teeth (partial denture).
Although dentures are not fixed into place and are removable, they help restore function to the mouth, enabling people to eat normally, speak clearly and enjoy their smile. They also provide support for the cheeks and lips and can therefore be a good temporary or permanent option for the replacement of missing teeth
Advantages of dentures
- A quick solution – in a very short time span you can have a beautiful smile
- Versatile – they can be used to replace everything from one missing tooth to many missing teeth
- They restore function to the mouth, enabling people to eat normally, speak clearly and enjoy their smile
- They provide support for the cheeks and lips and prevent them sagging inwards
Disadvantages of dentures
- Without any tooth roots or implants to keep the jawbone robust there will be bone loss over time – even if you have perfect oral hygiene.
- Requires adjustments over time
During your first appointment your dentist will take impressions of your teeth which are then sent to the laboratory to initially prepare wax model dentures which suit your specific fit and appearance.
Further visits to your dentist may be necessary for minor adjustments to ensure that the right fit and look is achieved before the final set of plastic dentures are prepared and fitted for use.
It is common for patients to require adjustments after the dentures are first fitted.
Learning to eat with dentures takes practice
- In the first few days eat soft, easy to chew foods such as fish, cheese, eggs, chopped meat or cooked vegetables.
- Take small bites. Biting into food maybe difficult with dentures and may dislodge the upper denture. Therefore, food such as apples may need to be sliced before eating.
- Be careful with very hot food as dentures decrease temperature sensation.
It is common to have some initial difficulty speaking with new dentures during the first few weeks.
- Practice reading out aloud in front of a mirror.
- If your dentures ‘click’ when you talk try speaking more slowly
- If your denture slips when you speak, bite down slowly to reposition it and swallow
Your mouth muscles will gradually learn to keep things in place but if you have a persistent problem, please call us
Even if you wear dentures regularly, a new set will feel a little uncomfortable for a few days until your mouth and gums adjust to the new feel and fit
It is normal for new dentures to cause sore spots. This will require another visit to have an adjustment. You will be given adjustment appointments (at no extra charge) until no soreness is present. This may take one or several appointments.
If there are not enough of your own natural teeth remaining in your mouth your jaw bone will start to recede as you get older making it harder for your denture to stay in place. Initially there are products around which can help, however over time, you will need to get your dentures adjusted or new pairs made more frequently.
There are treatments which can help prevent the loss of bone loss occurring – eg implants. Mini implants can be inserted into your jaw and your dentures ‘clip’ into them which will completely stop your dentures moving. However these need to be inserted whilst you still have healthy jaw bones and enough jaw bone left for implant success. If interested, ask us for some information.
Ideally it is best to remove your dentures overnight to allow your gums some time to rest.
Dentures (complete or partial) should never be allowed to dry out so when you remove them at night they should be placed in water – not bleach and not special cleaning solutions
- Handle dentures with great care to avoid accidently dropping them, if they are dropped on tiles there is a high chance they will break. Perhaps stand over a folded towel or a sink full of water when cleaning dentures.
- Clean dentures every morning and night.
- Paste is not required, but if you choose some, a standard toothpaste or special denture toothpaste is fine. DO NOT use any whitening toothpaste and avoid abrasive toothpastes
- Remove food debris by brushing with a small denture or soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Gently brush all surfaces of the denture and be careful not to damage the plastic or bend the clips.
- In between brushings, rinse your dentures after every meal.
- After cleaning the dentures it is important to care for your remaining teeth, gums and tongue.
- Floss between any natural teeth
- Brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft bristled regular toothbrush to remove plaque and stimulate circulation.
- Place in denture cleaning solution at least once a week for no longer than four hours
- Do not leave in a cleaning solution overnight, you might find your dentures turn white!
- Avoid using brushes with stiff bristles as they can damage the denture material.
- Avoid dropping your dentures, they are very fragile – if they are dropped on tiles then there is a high chance they will break. Handle with great care to avoid accidently dropping them perhaps stand over a folded towel or a sink full of water whilst cleaning
Leave your dentures out overnight.This is important as it allows gum tissues time to rest.
Dentures need to be kept moist when not being worn so they do not dry out or lose their shape. So when not worn, dentures should be placed in water or a denture cleaning solution – do not use bleach.
Do not leave in a cleaning solution overnight, you might find your dentures turn white!
If your denture has metal attachments, the attachments could tarnish if left for long periods in the soaking solution – four hours is long enough for both complete, full and partial dentures
Do not leave dentures lying around if you have a dog – dogs love eating dentures!
Without any tooth roots or implants to keep the jawbone robust there will be bone loss over time – even if you have perfect oral hygiene.