A denture is a removable prosthetic device used to replace missing teeth and associated gum loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dentures should be replaced at least every five to seven years. Prosthetic teeth will wear down with daily use, affecting eating after this period of time.
Moreover, there can be changes to the gums, lips and cheeks over time (especially in women) and this becomes particularly noticeable after five years with the same denture.
We recommend that dentures be refitted and relined periodically throughout their life to counteract shrinkage of the gums, which will loosen their fit.
Caring for your dentures will need to become part of your daily routine – just like cleaning your natural teeth.
Patients should remove their dentures at night and store them in water or a denture cleaning agent. After overnight storage, clean your dentures each morning with a denture brush and denture cleaner. Specialty denture brushes and nightly cleaning agents can be bought at pharmacies and most supermarkets. Do not place the dentures in boiling water as this may cause permanent distortion of the acrylic material.
Some patients are prone to calculus build-up and should have an annual clean and polish of their dentures by the dentist – in the same way you would have your natural teeth cleaned and checked on a regular basis.
A partial denture can be made from one of three different materials: acrylic, metal or flexible resin.
- Acrylic is a rigid resin material. In dental prosthetics it is pink for the base and gums and tooth-coloured for the replacement teeth. The partial denture is often held in the mouth through the use of metal clasps that grip onto surrounding natural teeth. When in place, the metal clasps are partially or fully covered by your lips.
- Metal dentures are a premium product. They fit extremely well and are very comfortable to wear. The base of these dentures are made of a strong alloy containing cobalt and chrome, with pink acrylic used for the portion of the denture that replaces the gums. Metal clasps are attached to the metal base to assist in keeping the denture in place. A major advantage of using metal for the base is the ability to make it thin and therefore more comfortable against the soft tissues. Another design benefit over the acrylic variety is the provision of greater support by way of meticulous fit, which minimises impact on your existing teeth.
- Flexible resin dentures are pink in colour and are made using a flexible resin that makes them relatively easy to insert into the mouth. They come with clasps, which may be made out of the same pink flexible material. Flexible dentures usually do not last as long as acrylic or metal dentures but they may be a useful short-term option for patients requiring tooth replacement.
A full denture is a pink acrylic denture that replaces all of the teeth in one or both jaws. This means that the denture rests on your gums and does not use clasps. For some patients, full dentures may need to be held in place with adhesive. Full dentures can be made either to look like an ideal dentition or to mimic your natural teeth. A little time is usually required to get used to eating and speaking with them.
An over-denture is a device that is made to fit over existing teeth or roots, or over dental implants. An advantage of over-dentures over full dentures is that the teeth or implants act as a secure anchor.
An immediate denture is one that is prepared in advance of tooth extraction, then placed on the same day as the extraction procedure. This ensures that the patient does not spend any time without teeth. However, the immediate denture cannot fit as accurately as a denture made after teeth have been extracted. It can sometimes be made to fit well with with a reline, but in most cases it is used as a temporary denture, with a new one being made several months later.