People wear dentures to replace lost or missing teeth so they can enjoy a healthy diet and smile with confidence. Dentures are made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal. A ‘complete’ or ‘full’ denture is one which replaces all the natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaws. A ‘partial’ denture fills in the spaces left by lost or missing teeth. It may be fastened to your natural teeth with metal clasps or ‘precision attachments’.
Usually dentures can be fitted straight after your teeth have been removed. These are called ‘immediate dentures’. You will need to visit the dentist beforehand for them to take measurements and impressions of your mouth. With immediate dentures you don’t have to be without teeth while your gums are healing. However, bone and gums can shrink over time, especially during the first six months after your teeth have been taken out. If your gums shrink, your immediate dentures may need relining, adjusting or even replacing. Your dentist will be able to discuss this with you. Sometimes your dentist may advise you to wait until your gums are healed before having your dentures, as this can sometimes provide a better fit. Healing may take several months.
The upper denture usually has much more suction to hold it in place. The gum support in the lower jaw is much less and the lower denture may feel more wobbly as it has to be balanced between your cheeks and your tongue. After a while you will learn the shape of your new denture and how to keep in place even when you open your mouth wide. In some cases, patients cannot tolerate its effects and can even be detrimental .in those situations; you may be suitable for dental implants. Dr Lee kin now provides implants for our edentulous patients.
Dentures may break if you drop them. Always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them. To clean your dentures, the general rule is: brush, soak, brush. Brush your dentures before soaking, to help remove any food debris. Using an effervescent (fizzy) denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Then brush the dentures again, as you would your own teeth, being careful not to scrub too hard as this may cause grooves in the surface.
Most dentists advise using toothpaste and a small- to medium-headed toothbrush. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which touches your gums. This is especially important if you use any kind of denture fixative.
Plastic partial dentures are less expensive to make. But unless they are designed very carefully they can damage the teeth they fit against. Metal partial dentures are usually from an alloy of cobalt and chromium and they are much stronger. They are lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth. Although the base is metal, they have gum-coloured plastic and natural-looking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than the plastic ones.