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Dentures - What You Need To Know

2016 10 10
We hope you may never need them, but dentures can become a necessity for some and for a wide variety of reasons. Here we take a closer look at this essential aspect of dentistry….

Why do people need dentures?

People can need dentures for a number of reasons. It’s not just helping people to eat. Gaps in teeth can impair speech, so dentures can assist people to speak normally. And they help with appearance, giving the person back the ability to smile confidently. (Source: NHS Choices).

What are dentures and what are they made of? And what types of dentures are there?

Dentures are artificial replacement teeth, typically made from plastic, nylon or even metal materials. They are designed to fit snugly on top of gums, either next to existing teeth (partial dentures) or as a complete set (complete dentures) (Source: NHS Choices).

How are complete dentures fitted?

Complete dentures are fitted to the upper or lower set of teeth either after some have been removed, or when a replacement set is required. If teeth have been removed, the new dentures can be fitted right away. These are known as ‘immediate dentures’.

Dentures can be fitted by a dentist or dental clinician, and are made from moulds and measurements that are taken from your mouth. They may cause your gums to shrink, which can require adjustment or replacement of your dentures, months later (Source: OHF). Once fitted, the gums and underlying bones can also alter in shape over time, as they adjust to the denture’s shape. (Source: NHS Choices).

Will dentures change my appearance?

Dentures can be made to closely match your existing teeth, so as well as returning your smile, they may even improve it. They can also return shape to your cheeks and mouth, which can sag after teeth have been lost, causing the face to appear prematurely older.

(Source: OHF).

Will dentures affect my ability to eat?

It takes some adjustment to learn how to eat with dentures. Start chewing slowly (cutting food into small pieces may help) with both sides of the mouth to avoid the dentures moving position. Over time, you should be able to eat normally again. (Source: OHF).

How can I maintain my dentures?

Dentures can break if dropped, so handle them with care. They should be brushed, before being soaked in water. Using a dental cleaner (which often comes in tablet form), can help remove stains. After this, they should be brushed again in the same way as normal teeth, taking care not to brush too harshly. (Source OHF).

Do I have to have dentures or is there an alternative?

You may be able to have a dental bridge or dental implants fitted. You can check out our blogposts on these, and consult your dentist for more details (Source OHF).