Removable and Fixed Dentures
Dentures are removable false teeth made of acrylic (plastic), nylon or metal. They fit snugly over the gums to replace missing teeth and eliminate potential problems caused by gaps. Dentures are a trusted and effective way to replace missing teeth.
Gaps left by missing teeth can cause problems with eating and speech, and teeth either side of the gap may grow into the space at an angle. Sometimes all the teeth need to be removed and replaced.
You may therefore need either :-
• Complete dentures (a full set) – which replace all your upper or lower teeth, or
• Partial dentures – which replace just 1 tooth or a few missing teeth
Dentures may help prevent problems with eating and speech and, if you need complete dentures, they may also improve the appearance of your smile and give you confidence.
If you choose to replace missing teeth with dentures, they will be custom made to fit the size and shape of your mouth, making them feel and look as natural as possible.
Eating with dentures
When you first start wearing dentures, you should eat soft foods cut into small pieces and chew slowly, using both sides of your mouth.
Avoid chewing gum and any food that’s sticky, hard or has sharp edges. You can gradually start to eat other types of food until you’re back to your old diet. Never use toothpicks.
Caring for your Dentures
Your dentures should last several years if you look after them. Follow these tips to keep your dentures fresh.
- Brush, soak, then brush again. Clean your dentures after every meal using a soft toothbrush and soap or toothpaste. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of your dentures, including the areas that sit against your gums and the roof of your mouth. You can soak them in a denture cleaning solution if you wish, as this may help to remove stains. Then brush your dentures again.
- Clean over a soft surface. Dentures might break if you drop them. It’s a good idea to clean your dentures over a soft surface or a bowl of water to ensure they don’t get broken.
- Use the correct products. Some dentures have a soft lining. Ask your dentist for advice before you use a denture cleaning solution on this type of denture. The linings are delicate and can be damaged by cleaning solutions.
- Don’t let them dry out. Leave dentures in a plastic box or glass of cold water overnight so they don’t dry out.
Filling placement is necessary to treat cavities and prolong the longevity of the natural teeth. With today’s technology continuously improving, new methods are developed to benefit the patients and ensure their positive oral health for a lifetime.
Soak and brush them with a soft-bristled brush and nonabrasive denture cleanser to remove food, plaque and other deposits. If you use denture adhesive, clean the grooves that fit against your gums to remove any remaining adhesive. Don’t use denture cleansers inside your mouth. Soak dentures overnight.
It’s important to have realistic expectations of dentures. Dentures are removable, they’re not a permanent, fixed solution to missing teeth. Getting used to them will take time, and they may feel a bit uncomfortable to start with. Your dentist may schedule a check-up appointment a week after fitting your new dentures to check the fit and make any necessary adjustments. Your dentures should start to feel more secure as you get used to them.
Generally, dentists advise against wearing dentures at night. But your dentist may suggest that you wear them night and day for the first week or two, to help you get used to them. You may find some words difficult to pronounce at first, but this usually improves with time. Try reading out loud to practice.
It can take a while to get used to eating with new dentures, so it’s best to start with soft food. Try to use both sides of your mouth at the same time. This will help to keep your dentures in place.
Alternatives to removable dentures include :-
Bridges – false teeth that are fixed onto existing natural teeth
Dental implants – false teeth fitted on top of a titanium implant that is fixed directly into your jawbone
What’s best for you depends on the number of teeth you have missing. It also depends on which teeth are missing and the condition of your remaining teeth and gums. Your dental experts will help you decide which option is best for you. Dentures and bridges are generally available on the NHS (although you do have to pay a set fee) but dental implants usually aren’t.