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Dentures, also known as false teeth, are a type of dental prosthesis for people missing one, some, or all of their teeth. Fitting a denture to replace missing teeth usually helps patients with their eating and speech. It can also protect the remaining teeth, prevent the face from sagging and improve the patient’s self-confidence.
You might imagine a set of teeth in a glass of water on the bedside table, but there’s a lot more to them than that!
There are many different types of denture, classed according to:
- How many teeth they are replacing (full or partial)
- Whether they are fixed in place or removable
- Whether they are supported by the gum or by implants inserted into the jaw bone
- The material they are made from
Type of dentures
It could be anything from one single replacement tooth hooked around neighbouring teeth, to a full set of teeth on an acrylic base.
Complete vs. partial dentures
If you are missing all your teeth, artificial teeth are fixed to a plate which sits snugly over your gums. This plate is usually made from gum-coloured acrylic material, but the inner part can be made from metal. The ‘gum’ extends far enough away from the teeth that the edge shouldn’t be visible when you smile. When the base fits well, natural suction keeps it in place.
Partial dentures are used when some healthy, natural teeth are still present. They are carefully shaped by a dental technician to fit around and clip onto any remaining teeth. Both the artificial teeth and gum are coloured to be a good match with your natural teeth and gums.
Fixed dentures are held securely in place by dental implants inserted into the jaw. This eliminates one of the big concerns many people have about conventional full dentures – that they will slip out of place, particularly on the lower jaw where there is not much for them to hold onto.
Patients who are missing a tooth in a prominent position may not want to walk around with a gappy smile for all this time. It’s therefore possible to get temporary false teeth which are fitted straight after extraction – known as ‘immediate dentures’.
One popular alternative to conventional false teeth is flexible dentures such as Valplast flexible partials. These don’t have the rigidity of acrylic and are also less bulky. This means they are more comfortable to wear and are less likely to cause difficulties with speech.
Benefits of Valplast flexible dentures include:
- Extremely durable material
- Soft material which is gentler to gums
- No unsightly metal clasps
- No adhesive needed
- Translucent resin material blends with natural gum colour
- Thin and lightweight, less effect on speech
Valplast dentures cost more than those that use traditional materials.
However, they are still a cheap alternative to implants and don’t involve any surgery.
Note that these can only be used for partial teeth replacement – they are not available as a full set.
Ultaire™ AKP Partials
Custom-formulated polymer has been engineered to replace metal as the material of choice for removable partial denture frames.
For patients who can’t bear the thought of visible metal clasps or a metallic taste, Ultaire™ AKP frames deliver a high degree of satisfaction:
- Taste free
- Pleasing aesthetics
- Pleasing aesthetics
- Bone-like and tooth-supported
- May minimize bone loss
- Customized to you
Removable partial dentures made with Ultaire™ AKP are digitally designed to provide a custom fit that requires minimal adjusting. This means less visits to the dentist to adjust the fit of your partial denture. You can be confident in the feel and functionality, knowing that this comfortable and custom designed frame was made just for you.
Metal (chrome cobalt) denture has the following advantages over traditional acrylic dentures:
- Stronger and therefore generally longer life
- Lighter and therefore it normally feels less “bulky”
- Gentler on the teeth and gums
The general result therefore is that the denture normally feels much more comfortable than an acrylic denture.
Precision Attached Dentures
In situations when we have many back teeth missing on both sides it can still be difficult for a denture to stay in place. If the remaining teeth are strong it is possible to place crowns on some of the teeth, which the denture will attach into. A special lock is made into the crown, which the denture clicks into.
This provides a precision attachment for the denture and a very strong fit. This will give a tight fit similar to what we might expect from an implant retained denture.
What are denture’s false teeth made from?
The teeth themselves can be made from acrylic resin, metal covered in acrylic, or porcelain. Acrylic is most commonly used these days because of its durability. Porcelain can look more natural but it’s more expensive and not as lightweight as acrylic.
Cleaning and maintenance
Many people remove their false teeth overnight for comfort, and if not kept moist they can lose their shape.
You may simply place them in water or you can add a cleaning solution – but make sure you use one that’s compatible with your type of denture.
Your dentist may advise you to wear your teeth as much as possible or to remove them every night. Follow whatever directions they give you on this matter.
Regardless of how long you wear them for, your artificial teeth need to be cleaned every day. Again, your dentist will show you how to do this properly and may provide a special brush or other tool. You might not have to remove them every time you brush your teeth, but it’s easier to remove all traces of food if you can see what you’re doing.
If you don’t clean your dental appliance properly, not only are you increasing your chances of gum disease and tooth decay but you’ll probably develop bad breath because of all the bacteria sticking to it. Cleaning also helps to reduce the chances of staining.