- Bridges -
FULL & PARTIAL DENTURES
Dentures are removable devices that fit in the mouth in order to replace missing teeth. They are a very useful option, as they give the flexibility to replace one, many (partial denture), or all teeth (full denture) in an arch, with a single device. When fitted correctly they can be worn comfortably for a number of years whilst improving chewing, aiding speech, enhancing facial expressions and confidence. If you need to have a tooth removed, an “immediate” denture can often be made in advance; if it is a highly visible tooth, this can be a very good way to ensure continuity of appearance and function.
Dentures are prosthetic devices comprised of replacement artificial acrylic teeth, which are attached to a denture base designed to fit the contours of the mouth. They are used to replace missing or extracted teeth caused by genetic developmental irregularities, injury, malnutrition, tooth decay and gum disease.
The denture base can be made from acrylic, which will usually cover a good proportion of the palate. Alternatively, the denture base can be made from a cobalt-chrome (co-cr) metal framework; these have the advantage of being thinner on the palate, as well as often leaving much of it exposed. Palatal coverage results in a loss of temperature sensitivity in the mouth, so co-cr dentures tend to be more comfortable. Acrylic dentures are suitable for both partial and full designs, whilst co-cr dentures are more useful for replacing a few teeth rather than a full arch (although this is possible).
There are a number of ways in which dentures are designed and made by your dentist in conjunction with their laboratory, to ensure that they are both comfortable, and stable. We always incorporate features to help them stay in place and move as little as possible when talking and eating. Acrylic and co-cr dentures are both made to be well fitting so that they slot into place between adjacent natural teeth. The close fitting palatal coverage in acrylic dentures helps to create a suction which holds them in place - this is especially relevant in full dentures.
Co-cr dentures are usually held in place by small metal clasps which hold onto adjacent teeth, and can additionally incorporate little rest seats, which sit on the surface of natural teeth (without interfering with the way the teeth normally bite together); these rest seats helpfully spread the force of the bite from the denture to the natural teeth, rather than the gum upon which it is sitting. Clasps can also be incorporated into acrylic dentures, but rest seats cannot.
HOW IS IT DONE?
Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth which is then sent to a lab, together with a record of the colour of your natural teeth. There then follow a few short appointments, usually a week apart as each stage of the denture manufacture is advanced, resulting in dentures to fit your oral specifications.
HOW DO I LOOK AFTER MY DENTURES?
Your denture can last many years if it is looked after properly. It needs to be cleaned everyday, like normal teeth, to remove plaque, so that tartar build-up doesn’t cause gum disease in the mouth. It is preferable to remove them after a meal, and rinse out both the dentures and mouth to prevent accumulation of food particles, and they should not be worn at night; this helps reduce the risk of developing yeast infections (denture stomatitis) under them.
We also recommend using a cleaning tablet a couple of times a week - there are various brands available from pharmacies, although we sell Puradent tablets in the practice, as we find them to be very effective, yet gentle denture cleansers. When a patient receives their custom-made dentures, the dentist provides them with guidance on how best to care for their dentures for optimal wear.
ARE THERE RISKS TO HAVING DENTURES?
Wearing dentures can pose some challenges affecting oral function, aesthetics and comfort. The main concerns are denture stability, support and retention.
Mobile or poorly designed dentures may:
Cause friction and gum irritation.
Result in discomfort, gagging and increased salivation.
Allow food particles to get underneath the dentures.
Affect eating and speaking.
With time oral tissues may shrink and this will cause the dentures to start to move. Denture instability can be sometimes be improved by relining them; the discrepancy between the shape of the denture and that of the mouth is corrected so that the fit is more accurate. Addition of clasps can also help, but sometimes there is no solution other than to make a new set dentures!
Heathwood Dental Practice
1 Kings Road, Crowthorne,
Berkshire. RG45 7BF
Upper and lower Full Dentures in the mouth
The same Upper Partial Denture manufactured in both Cobalt-Chrome and Acrylic for comparison