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DENTURES

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’

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

Usually dentures can be fitted straight after your teeth have been removed. These are called ‘immediate dentures’. You will need to visit the dentist 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.

Replacing lost or missing teeth is very good for your health and appearance. A complete or full denture replaces your natural teeth and gives support to your cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person look older and they will find it harder to eat and speak properly.

Dentures can be made to closely match your natural teeth so that your appearance hardly changes. Modern dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face

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 from moving. As you become more used to your denture, add other foods until you get back to your normal healthy die

Pronouncing certain words may take practice. Reading out loud and repeating difficult words will help.

During the first few days, your dentist 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 dentist may advise that you 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

Regular dental check-ups and having your teeth professionally cleaned are vital for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Most dentists recommend a dental check up at least once a year. Regular visits allow your dentist to check the soft parts of your mouth, including the tongue and cheeks. These examinations are important so the dentist can spot any infections, mouth conditions or even mouth cancer at the earliest stages. Full-denture wearers should check with their dentist about how often they should visit.

With regular professional care, a positive attitude and persistence, you can become one of the millions of people who wear their dentures with a smile