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Dentures

   

What is a denture?

 

Dentures are removable replacements for your own natural teeth, designed to look and function like your teeth and surrounding gum tissues. 

 
A complete or full denture is one that replaces all of the natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaw. A partial denture fills in the spaces created by lost or missing teeth and can be attached to your natural teeth with metal clasps or attachments.
 
 
 

When might I need dentures?

Teeth can be lost due to decay, gum disease or an accident.  This can reduce your self-confidence, and affect your ability to eat and talk. Since teeth provide support to cheeks and lips, their loss can lead to sagging of the facial muscles and this will have an aging effect on your appearance. If there are gaps then the remaining teeth may move to take up the space, ending up crooked or tilted. This can then lead to gum and bite problems. 
Replacing lost or missing teeth can have substantial benefits for your health as well as appearance. 
 

Is a denture always the best option?

In some cases a fixed replacement (such as a dental bridge or a dental implant) may be a better option than a removable denture. (See The Good Dentist Guide to Missing Teeth).
Dentures (particularly partial dentures) require the wearer to maintain a very high standard of oral hygiene otherwise the remaining teeth can be compromised.
 
  • For individual missing teeth, a dental implant would be an alternative, providing that the amount and condition of the bone in your jaw is suitable. For larger numbers of missing teeth, while it is perfectly possible to replace them individually with implants, the cost will be significantly higher.
  • Larger gaps can be replaced by a dental bridge; however the teeth on either side of the gap need to be prepared and healthy tooth structure is removed to accommodate the bridge fitting on top. If one of the supporting teeth is subsequently damaged or develops a problem, the entire bridge restoration will also be affected.
 
Your dentist will be able to advise on the options available for your particular requirements.
 

What is the procedure for making and fitting dentures?

This varies according to the precise requirements of the patient, since some teeth may need to be repaired or extracted and gums may need treatment before the dentures are made.
 
Your dentist will take impressions and measurements so that a dental technician can make your dentures to fit your mouth exactly; if you have had teeth extracted you may find that your gums and bone can shrink over the first six months and the dentures may need adjusting or replacing for a perfect fit.
 
Your dentures may feel strange at first and eating and speaking may take a little practice.
 

How are dentures held in place?

Your dentures are custom-made to fit your mouth exactly and should be held in place by their natural suction to your gums. You should not need to use a denture fixative.  However over time as gums and bone shrinks, dentures may become loose and cause difficulties with eating and speaking; this is especially likely in the lower jaw, as there is much less gum support and the denture can be dislodged by the action of the tongue. If this happens the poorly-fitting denture can cause soreness and irritation and you should discuss with your dentist the possibility of having it adjusted or replaced.
 
Dentures can be fixed securely in place by dental implants or mini implants, provided the amount and condition of the bone in your jaw is suitable.
 

How much do dentures cost?

The cost will vary considerably depending upon the number of teeth to be replaced, the material used and the complexity of the case, from £300 to £3000. It is advisable to get a written estimate and treatment plan before beginning any dental treatment.
 

How do I look after my dentures?

You should remove your dentures at night to allow your gums respite and the chance to be exposed to your natural saliva, which will keep them healthy. 
 
Brush your dentures and soak them in a glass of cold water (with special cleaning tablets added if you wish) when you aren't wearing them. Always brush your dentures before putting them back into your mouth.
Plastic dentures may break if you drop them, so always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel. If your dentures begin to collect debris or stains that you cannot remove by normal brushing, your dentist or hygienist will be able to professionally clean them for you.
 
Brush your remaining teeth, gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth morning and evening with a soft brush. This removes plaque and helps the blood circulation in your mouth.
 
It is important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your dentures are in good condition and continue to fit your gums, as the shape of your gums and underlying bone can change with time. 
 

How long will my dentures last?

This depends upon how well you take care of them and how much general wear and tear they undergo. However the problem is generally not physical deterioration of the denture itself, but rather that dentures can become loose as your gums shrink and your bite changes. When this happens, your dentures may need to be relined or re-made. It is important to replace worn or badly fitting dentures before they cause problems.
 






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