Dentures are removable false teeth that come with a host of benefits, including helping to improve how you eat and speak, as well as boosting your confidence by restoring your smile. They can also enhance facial shape, especially around the lips and in the cheek area. You can either have ‘partial dentures’ for a few missing teeth or ‘complete dentures’ to replace a whole set of teeth on the upper or lower jaw.
Dentures are usually made from acrylic, or a combination of acrylic and metal. These materials mean that partial dentures will blend in beautifully with existing teeth and complete dentures can pass for the real thing.
What does treatment involve?
Making and fitting dentures can be quite an involved process so you may have to attend several appointments to ensure the final set of dentures are a secure and comfy fit.
- Following a comprehensive consultation, impressions of your mouth will be taken so a wax model can be produced and checked for fit, bite and comfort.
- A final set of dentures will be manufactured in a laboratory and, when ready, you will be invited in for a fitting.
- If you are having complete dentures, these will be fitted in the top or bottom of your mouth. This complete denture will consist of a gum coloured arch with a set of prosthetic teeth attached. Partial dentures will be used if you only have one or a few missing teeth and may be held in place with metal hooks attached to existing teeth.
- When you have tried out your dentures for a week or so, you will be invited back for a review appointment to check they still fit properly and remain fully functional.
Getting used to your dentures
It can take a little while to get used to your new dentures, especially if they are a complete set. They may feel odd at first and eating can be tricky, so it may be a good idea to start with softer foods and slowly introduce more challenging items. The amount of saliva in your mouth may increase, but this should soon improve as your mouth gets used to your replacement teeth.
Initially, speaking may be difficult but you can improve this by reading aloud and if you are experiencing any sore spots in your mouth, the denture surface may need some adjustment.
Looking after your dentures
Dentures are designed to be hard-wearing but they will last longer if you treat them with care. Dentures should be removed before you go to bed so your gums can have a rest, but they must be stored in water or denture fluid as they could lose their shape if allowed to dry out.
Clean your dentures with a toothbrush or a special denture brush and remember to keep your gums and any remaining teeth clean too. You will also need to attend regular check-ups so your dentist and hygienist can keep an eye on your oral health.