What is a denture?
People wear dentures to replace lost or missing teeth so they can enjoy a healthy diet and smile with confidence. Dentures are made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal.
A ‘complete’ or ‘full’ denture is one which replaces all the natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.
A ‘partial’ denture fills in the spaces left by lost or missing teeth. It may be fastened to your natural teeth with metal clasps or ‘precision attachments’.
Why should I wear dentures?
Full dentures, to replace all your own teeth, fit snugly over your gums. They will help you to eat comfortably and speak clearly, and will improve your confidence and self-esteem.
Partial dentures replace teeth that are missing, and can sometimes be supported by the teeth you have left. If you have gaps between your teeth, then your other teeth may move to take up some of the space, so you could end up with crooked or tilted teeth. This could affect the way you bite and could damage your other teeth.
How soon can I have a denture after my teeth are taken out?
Usually dentures can be fitted straight after your teeth have been removed. These are called ‘immediate dentures’. You will need to visit the dental team beforehand for them to take measurements and impressions of your mouth.
With immediate dentures you don’t have to be without teeth while your gums are healing. However, bone and gums can shrink over time, especially during the first six months after your teeth have been taken out. If your gums shrink, your immediate dentures may need relining, adjusting or even replacing. Your dental team will be able to talk to you about this.
Sometimes your dental team may advise you to wait until your gums are healed before having your dentures, as this can sometimes mean a better fit. Healing may take several months.
Will I be able to eat with dentures?
Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly, using both sides of your mouth at the same time to stop the denture moving. As you become more used to your denture, add other foods until you get back to your normal healthy diet.
How long should I wear my dentures?
During the first few days, your dental team may advise you to wear them for most of the time, including while you are asleep. After your mouth gets used to your dentures, your dental team may advise you to take them out before going to bed. This allows your gums to rest and helps keep your mouth healthy. When you remove your dentures at night, it is best to store them in a small amount of water to stop them warping.
Do I need to do anything special to care for my mouth?
Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning and evening, brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a soft brush. This removes plaque and helps the blood circulation in your mouth. If you wear partial dentures, it is even more important that you brush your teeth thoroughly every day. This will help stop tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to you losing more of your teeth. Your dentist may refer you to the hygienist to have your remaining natural teeth cleaned regularly.