Dentures are an artificial replacement for missing teeth. They are mostly worn by older people who have lost teeth as a result of the ageing process but they can be worn by people of all ages.

Most dentures are designed to be removed from the mouth (for cleaning) and then replaced but some versions can be fixed in place with dental implants or resin.

A denture consists of a plastic plate which is worn over the roof of the mouth and a set of plastic or porcelain teeth. These teeth are fixed to the plate.

Types of dentures

There are two types of dentures:

  • Full or complete dentures
  • Partial dentures

A full denture is worn by someone who has lost all of their teeth.

A partial denture is suitable for someone who has lost only a few teeth and requires a replacement. This is to stop the remaining teeth from drifting towards the gaps left by these missing teeth.

A dental bridge is an alternative to a partial bridge. It too acts as a replacement for a few missing teeth and is easy to wear.

Denture wear

A denture stays in place by means of the natural suction of your mouth and gums. Many people are concerned about them shifting around their mouths but the newer versions are less likely to do this. Plus they can be secured in position by means of a fixative such as a dental cream or a dental implant.

They can take a bit of getting used to: you may find it difficult to eat or to speak certain words but this is quickly overcome. Your mouth may feel sore to start with but this eases off once the dentures have bedded into place.

Dentures procedure

How are dentures made? The process starts with an impression of your teeth (which includes the gaps) which is used to fabricate the dentures.

Your dentist will use a mould filled with soft putty which you bite down into. This leaves an impression which is then used by the laboratory in the production of your new dentures.

Your dentist may fit a temporary denture in the meantime. Expect to wear this for a set period of time whilst your teeth and gums heal. In some cases this can take several months.

Once your teeth and gums have healed then your dentist will remove the temporary denture and replace it with your new set of dentures.

Looking after dentures

If you have the removable type of denture then you will have to care for these on a daily basis. This care should form part of your normal dental routine which includes using a toothbrush and dental floss.

Clean your dentures after every meal and leave them to soak overnight in a dental cleaning solution.

Your dentist will show you the best way of cleaning and caring for your dentures.

If dentures don�t appeal to you then your other options are a dental bridge or dental implants.