Dentures are artificial replacements for your natural teeth and gums. If an accident, oral disease or poor oral health has left you with only a few healthy teeth or none at all, your dentist or prosthodontist might suggest dentures to replace your missing teeth. There are 2 types of dentures: partial and complete. For both types of dentures your dentist or specialist makes a model of your teeth by taking impressions. The models are used to design and build your custom dentures.
Types of Dentures
Partial dentures are also called “removable partial denture prostheses” or “partials”. They may be used when nearby teeth are not strong enough to hold a bridge, or when more than just a few teeth are missing. Partial dentures are made up of one or more artificial teeth held in place by the teething surrounding tissues or additionally by clasps that fit onto nearby natural teeth. You can take the partial denture out yourself, for cleaning and at night. Partial dentures can be made from all acrylic, a light alloy metal/acrylic combination or the latest flexible acrylic like Valplast.
A partial denture
Complete dentures are what we most often refer to as “false teeth.” They are also called “full dentures” and are used when all your natural teeth are missing. Complete dentures are removable and are held in place by suction. They can feel uncomfortable at first and take some time to get used to. There are 2 types of complete dentures: immediate dentures and conventional dentures.
A full upper denture
Immediate dentures are made to replace a tooth as soon as it is extracted. Your dentist takes measurements and the impressions required to make models of your mouth during your first visit. Once the extraction is carried out, your dentist inserts the immediate dentures. The benefit of immediate dentures is that you are not without teeth during the healing period, which can take up to 6 months. This is particularly important in areas of aesthetics such as the front of the mouth and areas of function such as the large molar teeth at the back of the mouth. During the healing period, your bones and gums can naturally shrink and your immediate dentures may need to be relined by your dentist for a proper fit.
Conventional dentures are made and inserted into your mouth after your teeth have been extracted and the gums and jaw tissues have healed.
Light Alloy Dentures (Chrome)
You can have light alloy dentures (chrome dentures) when you have either partial dentures or full dentures. These light alloy partial dentures are an alternative to the usual pink plastic partial dentures and are made of a mix of pink plastic and light alloy metal.
The metal used to make light alloy dentures has been tested over many years to make sure it’s biocompatible with your mouth and the metal used is cobalt-chrome (Co-Cr).
The advantages of these light alloy dentures are:
- Reduced bulk.
- Better for overall oral hygiene.
- Lighter yet stronger.
- In many cases, less coverage of the roof of the mouth.
- Increased comfort.
Light alloy dentures partial, are designed to be hygienic and offer less tissue coverage, which increases oral sensitivity and taste. Your light alloy dentures will be retained with metal clasps or resin clasps that will match the colour of your natural teeth.
We can discuss with you on an individual basis as to whether light alloy dentures are suitable for you.
If you are having trouble with your complete dentures, your dentist may suggest overdentures. An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over the natural teeth left in your mouth or over dental implants. If you have some natural teeth left, they are reshaped to fit in or below the denture. If there are no natural teeth left, small implants are placed into the jawbone. The overdenture attaches to the implants or rests on the natural teeth.
Caring for your Dentures
Complete and partial dentures need to be cleaned every day just like natural teeth. Otherwise, plaque and tartar can build up on your dentures and cause stains, bad breath and gum problems. Plaque from your dentures can also spread to your natural teeth and gums, causing gum disease and cavities.
To clean your dentures, remove them from your mouth and run them under water to rinse off any loose food particles. Then wet a denture brush or a regular soft-bristle toothbrush and apply denture cleaner or a mild soap. Household cleaners and regular toothpaste are too abrasive and should not be used for cleaning dentures. Gently brush all surfaces of the dentures including under the clasps where bacteria collect. Be careful not to damage the plastic or bend the attachments. Rinse your dentures well in clean water before placing them back in your mouth.
While your dentures are removed, be sure to clean and massage your gums. If your toothbrush hurts your gums, run it under warm water to make it softer or try using a finger wrapped in a clean, damp cloth. If you have partial dentures, brush your natural teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss.
Light Alloy Dentures
Always remove your dentures overnight to give your mouth a chance to rest. Soak them in lukewarm water with or without denture cleanser. If your dentures have metal clasps, only use lukewarm water for soaking, as other soaking solutions can tarnish the metal. When you’re not wearing your dentures, keep them in water to stop them from drying out or warping. Never use hot water for soaking.
Dentures can break if dropped or squeezed too tightly. When you are handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or a sink of water just in case you accidentally drop them.
Look for cracks in your dentures. If you find any, take them to your dentist or specialist for repair. See your dentist regularly and at least once a year. Your mouth is always changing, so your dentures will need adjusting or relining from time to time to make sure they fit well. Poorly fitted dentures may cause denture sores that make the early signs of oral cancer more difficult to spot. At your dental exam, your dentist will also examine your gums for any signs of disease or oral cancer and any natural teeth you may have for signs of decay or infection.
If you are considering replacement of missing teeth, please feel free to ask your dentist who will be happy to advise and discuss different replacement options for you. To schedule an appointment, please email us or call us on 01642 308 764.
Other available treatments
Visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups is such an important part of your overall oral health. This is because prevention is key to prolonging the life of your teeth.
Tooth coloured fillings are becoming the preferred way of restoring teeth over metal / silver fillings due to their improved appearance. Discuss the choice of material for a filling with your dentist.