Denture Story: The Journey
I thought only old people had
dentures, but I now know that
simply isn't true
So what exactly are dentures?
We can lose our natural teeth for a wide variety of reasons. It could be through injury, it could be through decay or it could be through a number of different oral health problems. If you’ve faced tooth loss, your dental professional will probably have talked to you about dentures. Dentures are an artificial replacement for natural teeth, made of acrylic and resin, special plastics and sometimes lightweight metal, which are designed to look just like the real thing.
If you and your dental professional agree that dentures are the best solution, your dental professional will first examine your mouth and from this create a model of your jaw. From this model your dental professional can begin the denture-making process.
Types of dentures
When people say ‘dentures’ they actually could mean a number of different things. There are three main types and we’ve described the main differences below, so that when you’re talking to your dental professional you’ve got a clearer picture. As your dental professional knows your needs, they will let you know which ones are right for you, but here’s a quick overview.
Full, upper and lower dentures
A set of full dentures are used when all natural teeth need replacing. Upper dentures replace the top row of teeth and lower dentures replace the lower row of teeth.
Partial dentures are used when just one or more of your teeth need replacing. They also help maintain the alignment of your remaining teeth and keep them from shifting. If you’d like to find out more about partials, visit our dedicated partials page.
Your guide to getting dentures
If you’ve reached a point where your dental professional has explained that dentures are your best option, it’s really good to know what happens next.
Reading other peoples’ stories and personal experiences can help you really focus on the end results, eating the foods you love, smiling, laughing, speaking with confidence and enjoying time with family and friends.
Tooth extraction and healing
Before anything can happen with dentures your dental professional will need to evaluate your current dental condition and decide the best course of treatment. If you have remaining teeth, your dental professional will advise you on the next steps and extractions. The time it will take for your gums to heal can vary; it really depends on how many teeth you’re having removed.
Immediate or same day dentures
Your dental professional may choose to make immediate dentures depending on your mouth. After teeth are extracted, the soft, sensitive parts of your mouth will be sore and they can take a little while to heal and settle down. Immediate or same day dentures can be worn while the healing takes place.
Having teeth extracted and dentures made to replace them can be upsetting, but it’s a very common procedure that millions of people undertake every year. So even though it can be a tough few days and takes some adjustment, this is a real turning point and a chance for you to look forward to the positives of new teeth.
Taking an impression of your mouth
In order to start the denture process, your dental professional will take a preliminary impression of your mouth. On subsequent visits, more impressions with finer details will be made. This gives your dental professional an exact copy of your mouth that he/she can build your new dentures from.
Time to choose your new teeth
Think of picking your dentures as like trying on new clothes. You’ll want them to look just like your natural teeth but some will suit you better than others. With help from your dental professional you can decide which tooth shapes, sizes and colours fit your mouth and look right for you. If there’s anything you really didn’t like about your natural teeth, you may be able to improve them by telling your dental professional at this stage.
It always helps if you can have a family member or friend to decide with you as a second opinion and a different view can be really useful. Once you and your dental professional are happy with the look of the teeth you’ve chosen, your final dentures can be completed.
The initial fitting
This is when your new dentures will first be tried in your mouth and you’ll then wear them until your next visit. Your dental professional will make any necessary adjustments to ensure they fit as well and as comfortably as they possibly can. You may be asked to come back for additional appointments so that any sore areas can be adjusted.
Regular dental exams
Once you’ve got your dentures and they start to become part of your everyday life it’s important to keep visiting your dental professional regularly so you can make sure your oral health is in the best possible shape.
Your dental professional can also make sure that you’re getting the very best out of your dentures and that they continue to fit you perfectly.
What do you want to know?
When it comes to dentures there are a lot of myths and stories so we’ll try to explain what really happens and what you can expect. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be.
You won’t be able to eat or speak like you used to.
This is naturally one of the big concerns for new denture wearers and will affect different people in different ways, but it’s not something to get stressed or worried about. Pronouncing certain words might take a bit of practice after you get your new dentures and it might be tricky eating certain foods (things like corn on the cob), but you will adjust over time.
Dentures are made from a standard mould.
No two dentures are alike; every set is different as they’re designed to mirror your own teeth. Dentures are custom-made using an impression of the jaw and mouth taken during a fitting session with your dental professional.
Once you’ve got your dentures they’ll last you forever.
Dentures are pretty tough, but they’re not indestructible and they are softer than natural teeth. If they’re not looked after properly it can affect how well they fit and how good they look. A proper denture care routine using specialty cleansers can keep them looking their best. By using Polident® cleansers as directed on the pack, you can help both reduce plaque build-up and maintain a bright smile.
Dentures will change the way you look.
Dentures that fit properly shouldn’t change the shape of your face but hopefully they’ll make you feel confident enough to show off your brand new smile. If you carry on visiting your dental professional after your initial fitting they can help to ensure that your denture fits properly.