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Dental treatments: Dentures

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What are dentures?

Do you have several missing teeth or a number of decayed or rotting teeth that need to be replaced? Do you struggle to eat certain foods or avoid smiling and talking to people because you are ashamed and embarrassed by your smile?

If so, a denture (otherwise known as false teeth) could offer you a solution to restore look and function to your mouth. It will enable you to eat, talk and smile easily and with increased confidence.

A denture can also help to return structure to your face - particularly in the cheeks and lips, resulting in a dramatically healthier and more youthful look. Dentures are removable but can also be fixed more securely with denture implants.

In the past, dentures have sometimes been considered unattractive and uncomfortable. However, modern dentures are now more natural looking and comfortable. Fixing adhesives are rarely required and it is often difficult to tell if someone even has dentures - because they look so realistic.

What type of denture will I need?

Full dentures: are used in the event that all of your teeth need to be replaced. They can be fitted in the top and bottom of the mouth. A full denture incorporates a plastic gum coloured arch with a set of crowns attached.

Partial dentures: are used to replace one or more teeth. A plastic or metal plate will be used with crowns attached where required. The plate will be held in place with metal hooks which will anchor to your existing teeth.

Both full and partial dentures are easily removed for cleaning.

Fitting a denture following extraction of the teeth:

If all of your existing teeth need to be removed it is normally possible to fit your removable denture straight away - although sometimes a recovery period is required.

If your dentures are fitted immediately it is likely you will need to return for a re-adjustment or replacement around six months later. This is because the bone and gums tend to shrink slightly after the teeth have been extracted.

How will my dentures be made?

Length of treatment differs on a case-by-case basis. The manufacture of a set of dentures is an involved process which takes time and skill. You will need to attend several appointments whilst you are being measured for and fitted with your dentures so that we can ensure they are as secure, comfortable and natural looking as possible.

Following an initial consultation a treatment plan will be produced. Impressions of your mouth will be taken and used to make a wax model of your dentures. Once this model has been checked for fit, bite and comfort, a final set of dentures will be produced and you will be invited for a fitting appointment. There will be a time period of around 1-2 weeks between each appointment. You will need to return for a check-up around 1 week after your dentures are fitted so that we can make sure you are happy with your new dentures.

A number of factors will be considered in the manufacture of your denture - from the height of your teeth, the muscles in your mouth, your centre bite and the support required for certain facial features (such as the lips and cheeks). The size, shape and colour of the false teeth will also need to be well thought out.

Many people are keen for features in their previous teeth to be kept in their new dentures - giving a highly natural look.

What to expect when your dentures are first fitted

It can take some time to get used to your new dentures - particularly if they are a full set. However, the transformation will be quite dramatic and you are sure to be delighted with your new look.

You may find it strange when eating at first - if so, start with softer foods and introduce new items gradually. You may also notice a slight increase in salivary flow which should improve after a couple of weeks. Speech can be slightly affected at first - until you get used to your new dentures. If this is the case, try reading aloud to yourself and practice more difficult words when you are alone!

Occasionally, your dentures may cause sore sports because they are exerting pressure on certain parts of your gum. If this happens we may need to adjust the denture surface. Please contact us for an appointment.

Looking after your dentures

On the whole, dentures are strong and hard-wearing and should last for many years.

  • It is important to ensure you visit us for regular check-ups once a year (even when you have a full denture) so that we can check the health of your gums
  • Dentures should be removed at night (unless otherwise directed) to give your gums a chance to rest
  • Always clean your dentures with a toothbrush or a special denture brush (don't use toothpaste, denture cream is available)
  • Store them in water or denture fluid - never let them dry out or they may go hard and lose their shape. You should aim to clean your dentures after every meal if possible
  • Remember to rinse them thoroughly before you put them back in
  • Remember to also brush your gums, tongue and any remaining teeth when you remove your dentures at night - to ensure they stay healthy too

Are you having problems with your dentures?

It is important to look after your dentures and deal with any problems early to avoid potential sores and infection. If you notice any of the following please return for a check-up immediately.

  • If your dentures click when you talk or eat
  • They don't feel like they fit properly or start to feel uncomfortable
  • They start to look worn
  • You notice any bleeding or bad breath which could indicate gum disease

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