dentures lying next to a toothbrush

What is a denture?

People wear dentures to replace lost or missing teeth so they can chew efficiently and smile with
confidence. Dentures are made from (plastic) or metal.

A 'full' denture is one that 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 all plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. Both types may have clips (clasps), to help keep the denture in place in the mouth. Depending on where they are, some of these clips may show when you smile or open your mouth.

Plastic partial dentures are less expensive to make and can be added to in the future.

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 gum­coloured plastic and natural-looking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than plastic ones, but also stronger. Your dentist will advise which your best option is.

Once you remove your dentures, it is important to leave them in clean plain water to prevent any warping or cracking.

How soon can I have a denture after my teeth are taken out?

Dentures can be fitted straight after your teeth have been removed. These are called 'immediate dentures'. Impressions of your mouth are taken before the extractions are done.

With immediate dentures, you don't have to be without teeth while your gums are healing. However, bone and gums shrink over time, especially during the first six months after your teeth have been removed. If your gums shrink, your immediate dentures will need relining or adjusting initially and remaking after 6 months.

Sometimes your dentist may advise you to wait until your gums are healed before having your dentures, we advise waiting a minimum of 3-6 months before having a denture made (after your extraction/s).

Will dentures make me feel different?

The denture replaces your natural teeth and gives support to your cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person look older and you will find it harder to eat and speak properly.

Dentures can be made to closely match your existing natural teeth. Your dentist will help you choose the right shade. Dentures can even improve your smile.

Will I be able to eat with dentures?

Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods and cut food into small pieces. Chew slowly until you get used to the dentures.

Will dentures change how I speak?

Pronouncing certain words may be tricky at first. Reading out loud and singing out loud will help you to get used to your dentures quicker.

How long should I wear my dentures?

Initially wear your dentures for a few hours, increasing the time you wear them for, every day. Do not sleep with your dentures at night time. This allows your gums to rest and helps keep your mouth healthy.

Must I do anything special to care for my mouth?

Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning and evening, brush or rub (with gauze) your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a soft-bristled brush. This removes plaque and helps the circulation in your mouth.

If you wear partial dentures, it is even more important that you brush your teeth thoroughly every day after each meal and last thing at night. This will help stop tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to you losing more teeth. We recommend regular hygienist visits.

How do I take care of my dentures?

Dentures are very delicate and may break if you drop them. Always clean them over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them.

Brush your dentures with dishwashing liquid before soaking, to help remove any food debris. Use an effervescent (fizzy) denture cleaner to help remove stubborn stains and leave your dentures feeling fresher - always follow the manufacturers' instructions. Then brush the dentures again, rinse thoroughly. Do not use toothpaste to clean your dentures as toothpaste is abrasive and will scratch your dentures.

Use a small- to a medium-headed toothbrush. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which fits on your gums. This is especially important if you use any kind of denture fixative.

Once you remove your dentures, it is important to leave them in clean plain water to prevent any warping or cracking.

Will my dentures need to be replaced?

Over time, your dentures will need to be relined or re-made due to normal wear or a change in the shape of your mouth. Bone and gum can shrink, causing your jaws to meet differently. Loose dentures can cause sore spots and discomfort. A loose or ill-fitting denture can also make eating and talking more difficult. It is important to replace worn or poorly fitting dentures before they cause problems.

How often should I see my dentist?

Regular dental check-ups and having your teeth professionally cleaned are vital for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Regular visits allow your dentist to check the soft parts of your mouth, including the tongue and cheeks. These examinations are important so the dentist can spot any infections, mouth conditions or even mouth cancer at the earliest stages. Full denture wearers should check with their dentist about how often they should visit.

Are dentures my only option?

No. Implants are another option to consider. Ask your dentist for more information on this.

Contact us to arrange an appointment