New dentures are an opportunity to create a smile you have always dreamed of. Previous irregularities and spaces can be rectified and the desired appearance can be achieved. Dentures are removable sets of artificial teeth set into plastic or metal frameworks. They serve the purpose of replacing missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. The are several different types of dentures to suit various needs.
Complete Dentures are for Patients who have no natural teeth remaining in either upper or lower jaw. Upper dentures fit securely on the upper jaw and are held in by suction. They can often be made more secure with the use of a denture glue. Lower full dentures gain stability between the cheeks, tongue and surrounding muscles and can also be used with denture adhesive.
Partial Dentures are used to replace one or many missing teeth – this is intended to restore both aesthetics and their function. A partial denture can help in chewing and associated functions, but unfortunately is not as effective as natural teeth. The partial denture uses clasps to hold the denture onto the remaining teeth – the artificial teeth sit on the gum and bone. Partial Dentures often help stabilise the remaining natural teeth and prevent them from drifting. For a partial denture to work the remaining teeth must be healthy so they can hold the denture in place.
Immediate Dentures/ Extractions followed by Dentures mean immediately after having a tooth extracted you can have a replacement tooth in the form of a denture. For this process, impressions are taken before the removal of a tooth and a denture is made according to these impressions/ moulds. Immediate dentures also require maintenance after the extraction to ensure a secure fit as the healing bone can change the way the denture sits on the teeth.
Implant retained Dentures can be utilised to gain additional retention and stability. An implant is a small titanium screw that is placed in the jaw bone. Once the implant has been placed, attachments can be fixed to the implant which can be used to hold dentures in place. As the implants successfully hold the denture in place, the size of the denture can be reduced as well as the need for clasps. Patients with implant retained dentures experience an increase in chewing efficiency.
When having a denture made, the process requires several appointments, the number of which depends on the type of denture you are receiving. After you have had the denture fitted initially, more visits will be required to make adjustments. The amount of visits required will be discussed with you at the time of your initial consultation.
Wearing your New Dentures
It will take time to adjust to your new dentures. It is not possible to say how long, as different people take different amounts of time to adjust. Generally over time the dentures will become comfortable and functional.
Speaking – At first you will have some difficulty with your speech – this follows from, in effect, having a new front piece to your vocal system. It is recommended to practice talking at home in front of a mirror. Over time, you will learn how to talk with your denture in. Each patient adapts at a different rate to speaking with their new denture.
Eating – As with speech, eating takes time and practice to master the denture. It is important to remember that with your denture you will never chew as well as you did with your natural teeth. It is helpful to cut your food into small pieces. Some Patients will be able to chew anything whereas others have significant difficulty chewing with their dentures in.
Denture Fit – It takes time for your denture to “settle in” and fit well. You may need additional appointments for the dentures to be adjusted to minimise tender or sore areas developing on the gum. With all dentures it takes times and we are not able to predict how well a patient will adapt. Denture adhesives can help but we recommend you not use them during the first few weeks of wearing your new denture.
Care of Dentures
- Clean your dentures twice a day with a toothbrush specifically designed for denture cleaning. These can be bought at chemists. Toothpaste is not required.
- Remove your dentures every night when you go to sleep. This not only eliminates bacteria in the denture, but allows the tissues in your mouth to breathe and prevents fungal infections.
- Soak your dentures once a week in dilute bleach for half an hour only. This will help reduce fungal growths.
- Rinse your mouth with mouthwash (without the denture) at least once a day to keep your mouth clean. This helps cut down on the amount of bacteria and fungus in the mouth which can lead to bad breath, denture sores, and infections. If you have remaining teeth and are using a partial denture, ensure you clean them thoroughly. The further loss of teeth often means needing an entirely new denture.
- Make an appointment as soon as you develop any sores, change in fit, or any other problem you would like us to address.
Denture Follow Up
Regular check ups for your dentures is a necessity, dentures do not last forever and need to be maintained and serviced. Maintenance of soft tissues, gums and any remaining teeth where applicable is vital to maintaining the stability of dentures. If the denture requires any ultrasonic cleaning this can also be done at regular check up. Older dentures will often require a reline. The bone in your mouth is constantly changing and can cause your denture to not fit as well over time. When this happens, a simple reline can once again improve the fit. Discuss with your dentist if you are noticing excessive amounts of food getting trapped under the denture, or if your denture feels loose.