Dentures are plastic or false teeth which are glued to an acrylic plastic or a metal base. They are a removable device used to replace missing teeth. The device sits on the gum either partially or entirely.
Dentures improve appearance, make chewing more comfortable and improve speech. To maintain good oral health, you need to remove and clean your dentures daily.
The most common causes of tooth loss and removal are gum disease and tooth decay. Other reasons include accidents and pathological conditions in the mouth resulting in extractions.
There are many ways we can replace the missing tooth or teeth including:
- Dental bridges
- Dental implants.
Types of dentures:
1. Metal partial dentures:
We make the frame or base from metal. Plastic teeth are attached to this frame. The metal base has clips which hook on the teeth. The clasps provide the most stability, retention and comfort and can be metal or tooth coloured. We will design the metal frame and clips so that minimal metal will be visible when the mouth is open.
- The metal base is robust and durable because a high-grade metal is used to make the frame. In most cases, a cobalt chromium alloy is used to make the frame.
- These are much thinner than plastic dentures. Therefore they are more comfortable and provide very good retention and stability.
- After the denture is made, if you lose more teeth, it may be not possible to add teeth on.
- You can’t make immediate partial dentures using a metal frame. These can only be made with acrylic.
2. Acrylic partial dentures:
We make the base using a special plastic called acrylic. We attach artificial teeth to this base. You will need to remove this daily to clean it. This type is a little bulkier than the metal option because the acrylic has to cover a large area to give strength to the base and for good retention.
Because of the large area of coverage, more food will get trapped underneath this type of denture. You’ll need to check it often to ensure that it is clean. If it is not clean, you may get holes in the teeth and gum disease where the plastic base meets the teeth area. You may also develop a fungal infection underneath the denture.
Acrylic dentures are more likely to fracture than metal ones.
- If you lose another tooth after the denture has been made, we can add another tooth at any time.
- This option is cheaper than metal.
3. Full dentures:
- We make these if there are no teeth in the upper or lower jaw or both.
- Full false teeth plates can be made only of acrylic or plastic.
- In most cases, the upper denture will have much better retention than the lower one because it covers a larger area.
- Some people experience retention and stability problems with the lower denture.
- Some people find the lower one to be loose or wobbly due to the position of the tongue.
- Because of this, some people choose not to wear their lower one after getting it made.
Due to retention and stability problems, our dentists at Bendigo Dental advise patients to keep their own lower teeth as long as possible.
People may lose teeth and need dentures for many reasons. Gum disease and tooth decay are the most common causes of teeth loss. As we age our gum shrinks, which creates space in between teeth. Food gets caught between these spaces, increasing the chances of tooth decay and root cavities.
To ensure the optimal oral health and that you are keeping your lower teeth as long as you can, our dentists recommend regular dental check-ups. Regular dental cleaning by the dentist will also ensure healthier gums and teeth and can minimise the chances of root cavities and tooth loss.
4. Immediate partial or Immediate full dentures:
We make the denture before the tooth or teeth get extracted and insert in the mouth immediately after the extraction.
After the extraction, while the gum heals, it will start to shrink. This means the denture will become loose in about 3-6 months. You need to visit the dentist or the dental prosthetist after 3- 6 months to have the denture relined. Relining is a process where the lab technician adds some more acrylic to the denture to fill the shrunken area of the gum. Relining makes the denture fit better and prevents the plastic plate becoming loose.
- The advantage: The plastic teeth will be inserted immediately after extractions so you will always have teeth in your mouth. You don’t have to manage without teeth.
- The disadvantage: As mentioned above the gum will shrink, and the denture will become loose. You need to have it relined after 3-6 months. This procedure is an additional cost for you.
5. Standard denture:
o The other method is where the dentist extracts the tooth or teeth, and you wait approximately 3 months for the gum to heal and shrink.
o We make the denture after the gum heals so that it will fit well.
- The main disadvantage of this method is that you need to manage without teeth until we make the denture.
- Most people prefer immediate dentures when they take out the front teeth. If they choose the alternative option, they’ll need to wait for 3 months without teeth.
How to look after dentures?
- Cleaning dentures using a soft bristled toothbrush is important. You can also use a special denture cleaning brush that is available from the pharmacy or supermarket. If you do use a special brush, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- You can use a mild soap solution to brush and clean your denture. You can also buy special cleaning products from the pharmacy or supermarket. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these cleaning products.
- It is important to clean the gum area where the dentures sit in the mouth using a soft bristled toothbrush.
- Never use hot or boiling water as it may change the shape.
- Dr Mohan and Dr Turk advise that you stand close to the sink when you are cleaning your dentures. This is because they see a lot of patients who accidentally drop their dentures and break them while cleaning.
Denture care and advice
- Never sleep with your denture in your mouth. Saliva in the mouthwashes away a lot of the bacteria in the mouth and neutralises the bacteria’s toxins. At night the salivary flow is decreased so the gum will become dry. Additionally, dentures prevent or reduce the salivary flow underneath the plastic plate. If you sleep with them them in your mouth, over time, you may develop a fungal infection. In some instances, the fungal infection may be difficult to treat.
- Dentures may become loose after time due to gum shrinkage. Relining will make it fit well. Relining involves the dentist taking an impression of your mouth, and sending it to the lab. The lab technician will add a thin layer of acrylic to the denture. It usually takes a day for a technician to do the relining. You may need relining every 3-5 years to get the most comfort and benefit.
- We advise against trying to modify the fit of your denture by yourself as you may damage it beyond repair.
- If your denture cracks or breaks, please don’t use super glue to glue it back together. This won’t be effective, and you may damage it beyond repair.
- Keep your denture away from pets especially pet dogs. It can become a chewing toy for your dog.
Alternative options to dentures:
Implant – see the dental implant section for more information on dental implants.
Implant supported denture – we place implants in the ridge area and clip the denture on the implants. See the dental implant section for more information on dental implants.
Dental bridges – see the dental bridge section for more information on dental bridges.