What are they?
People wear dentures to replace lost or missing teeth so they can enjoy a healthy diet and smile with confidence.
A ‘partial’ denture fills in the spaces left by lost or missing teeth. This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it that fits into your mouth amongst your remaining natural teeth. There are different types of partial dentures, but they commonly include a metal and/or plastic plate with plastic or porcelain false teeth. Both types may have metal clips (clasps), which fit around the natural teeth. Where possible, these clasps are hidden so that they can’t be seen when you smile or talk.
What will the NHS Dentist do?
The process of making dentures will usually require 4-6 visits to the practice over 4-6 weeks.
- 1st appointment: first impression (mould) of patient’s teeth will be taken;
- 2nd appointment: a highly accurate impression is taken using custom made impression tray and the bite is registered;
- 3rd appointment: try-in of the false teeth fitted in a wax plate which will allow any minor adjustments if they are required (please note we often have an additional re-try appointment as it can be difficult to get the correct bite at the first attempt);
- 4th appointment: fitting of the denture.
Other short visits will probably be made for making minor adjustments over a period of time. There is no extra cost for these visits.
What are the problems with dentures?
You must understand that although dentures may look like your natural teeth, they cannot work like them. Simple actions such as speaking and eating may feel different. You will have to learn how to use and adjust to get comfortable with your dentures. For some people, this can take up to several months.
Speaking – At first you will have some difficulty with speaking and this is to be expected. Be patient; you will quickly adapt with practice and soon you will find you cannot speak properly without your denture. There is no way to predict how long this will take, each patient adapts at a different rate.
Eating – Eating takes practice as well. The important thing to remember is that you do not chew with your denture as you did when you had teeth. Natural teeth chew in an up and down motion. Denture teeth, on the other hand, use a side to side motion to mash down the food. Always cut your food into small pieces for more effective denture chewing. It is unpredictable how well you will adapt to eating. Some patients can chew just about anything whereas others find they are limited in how well they can chew. All patients however do improve with practice, time, and a bit of patience.
What can your do?
- Keep your denture clean by brushing it at least twice a day. Do this over a sink filled with water to prevent breakage in case you drop the denture.
- Take your denture out every night when you go to sleep to give your gums a rest. Place it in some water in a cup. Letting your denture dry out may slightly change its shape
- It is important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your dentures are in good condition and continue to fit your gums, as the shape of your gums and underlying bone can change with time. Loose fitting dentures can cause irritation and inflammation of your gums and problems with eating and speech.
If you already have a denture and you want to replace it be aware it will be not identical to the previous one and it will take time to you to get used to it.