It’s safe to say that the vast majority of people would prefer to keep their natural teeth than to have dentures. However, tooth loss can happen for all sorts of reasons, including decay, trauma or the general ageing process. If you have lost some or most of your teeth, dentures can give you back your smile and your quality of life.
You may opt for a complete set of dentures which can restore an entire arch of missing teeth – either on the bottom or the top of your jaw, or both. Or, partial dentures could be enough to fill in one or more individual gaps in your mouth. Either way, dentures can soon become a routine part of your everyday life so that you can smile, eat and speak with confidence.
The type of dentures you need will depend on how many missing teeth you have, as well as your overall oral health. A complete denture is a full arch of prosthetic teeth which are seated on an acrylic base, designed to mimic gum tissue so that you get a natural appearance. Your dentist may advise that you have a set of complete dentures if you have lost almost all of your natural teeth from one or both arches.
It may be that a partial denture is the best option for you if you still have many of your natural teeth in place. Partial dentures involve the replacement of one or more teeth, using prosthetic teeth affixed to a gum-coloured plate, in the same way as full dentures. However, your partial dentures will use a clasp attachment to clip on to your natural teeth, securing your new set of teeth into the correct place.
While once dentures were made from porcelain or plastic, it’s now more common for dentures to be created using composite resin as they are less likely to break and are lighter in weight.
During a consultation and assessment, your dentist will make sure that dentures will work for you, as well as taking moulds of your gums and a 3D picture inside your mouth. This information will then be sent to our in-house dental lab so they can create bespoke dentures to fit your mouth. If you need to have some teeth extracted before your dentures are fitted, this will also be carried out.
Depending on whether you have chosen an immediate denture or traditional dentures, a temporary denture may be fitted to assess shape and size in your mouth, as well as giving you the chance to get used to the feeling of dentures. You will then return for another fitting to make sure your custom-made dentures fit as they should.
Unlike some other solutions for tooth loss, your dentures don’t stay permanently in your mouth. You will need to remove them at least once a day for cleaning – ideally after every meal. You will also need to remove them at night to prevent bacteria from building up in your mouth. You can clean your dentures with a cleaning solution and soft-bristle brush before soaking them in a cleaning solution overnight to sterilize them.
With proper oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups, you should be able to use your dentures for many years without the need for replacement. While it is natural for it to take a little time to get used to wearing your new dentures, they will soon become a routine part of your day-to-day life, supporting your facial muscles, giving you back your smile, and ensuring you can eat the foods you like.