Considering Dentures?

This page provides some useful information if you are considering dentures as a tooth replacement solution to replace missing teeth, and some tips for people who already wear removable dentures.

Although we only offer our Smile in a Day dental implant solution at Total Dentalcare (TDC) Implant Centres, we provide this information as we advise anyone considering tooth replacement to carefully research all their treatment options. As every patient has different dental needs and preferences, this will help you choose the right solution and dental team for you.

What are dentures/false teeth?

Dentures, or false teeth, are artificial teeth that fill the gaps left by missing teeth. Most are made from plastic (acrylic), nylon or metal and are manufactured to look like natural teeth. Complete dentures replace all your upper or lower teeth; a partial denture replaces a single tooth or a few missing teeth.

Advances in technology mean that there are many types of dentures, so it’s best to discuss which is most suitable with your dentist.

Why might you need dentures?

Removable dentures are a familiar treatment option and may be one of the solutions you consider – or may have been suggested to you by your dentist – to help improve the problems caused by your loose or missing teeth.  These issues can include:

  • on-going oral health issues such as dental pain, tooth decay and gum disease
  • difficulty eating foods that others can easily eat – such as crunchy fruit and vegetables.  This can impact upon your ability to have a balanced diet, and reduce your enjoyment of food
  • being limited in your social life e.g. only being able to order soft foods when you eat out, or even avoiding social situations altogether
  • low self-confidence if you don’t like the way your teeth look.

Widely available, dentures can improve your ability to eat foods that you currently avoid, and enhance your smile by replacing unsightly loose and missing teeth. For people happy with a removable solution, dentures can be the right choice.

How are they held in place?

Dentures are designed to fit snugly over your gums and can be removed by the wearer. Full or complete dentures (where there are no natural teeth remaining ) are normally held by suction to your gums. When they fit well, this can keep them firmly in your mouth. Over time, all dentures will loosen and require a new lining (reline), additional denture adhesive or a total remake.

Denture adhesive can be used to help hold them more securely as it can give better grip. Most readily available adhesives last between eight and ten hours before needing to be reapplied. Partial dentures can be clipped onto existing teeth and released using tooth-coloured or metal clasps.

Some dentures, called denture implants, can be attached to dental implants but unlike fixed bridge dental implants, such as All on 4 and Smile in a Day, which remain permanently fixed in your mouth, they need to be maintained like other removable dentures.

Getting used to wearing dentures

One of the biggest concerns people have when considering dentures is how comfortable they’ll be.

It’s likely to feel strange when your new dentures are fitted as you’ll have something unfamiliar in your mouth. Your gums may become sore and irritated if they rub.

Dentures shouldn’t be worn overnight and are best stored in a damp container or a glass of water.

You may find that your speech is affected and that eating certain foods is difficult; start with soft foods and gradually experiment with harder ones. Your tongue and cheek muscles usually get used to accommodating your false teeth over time, helping to make speech and eating easier.

Your ability to taste may be diminished if the denture covers your palate, and you may produce more saliva than usual. Swallowing more frequently or chewing gum may help.

Dental professionals usually advise patience as problems usually reduce over time. But do consult your dentist if they persist or if you have concerns over the fit. If you have painful dentures, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed urgently.

Why cleaning your dentures is so important

Saliva plays a vital role in keeping mouths healthy. It has antibacterial properties and, by washing away food particles, helps to keep your teeth clean and infection free.

When you wear dentures, saliva may not be able to reach certain parts of your mouth and gums.

Food can become caught under the plate and start to decompose, which can cause bad breath.

This is why it’s important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and to clean your dentures regularly. The NHS recommends cleaning dentures as often as you would natural teeth (see below).

You should also brush your gums, tongue and any remaining teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to keep your mouth clean and avoid infections including oral thrush and gum disease. And of course, make sure you have regular check-ups with your dentist or dental technician.

Caring for dentures

Dentures need to be taken out and thoroughly cleaned with a toothbrush twice daily to ensure that any food residue is removed. Rinsing them with water after every meal also helps keep them clean.

They should be disinfected daily according to the instructions given by the denture-cleaning product manufacturer.

This helps protect against infection and soreness and gives your gum tissue a break.

Handle dentures with care. Avoid cleaning them over a hard surface to guard against them breaking if dropped. Fill the basin with water to protect them if they fall.

Your dentist can deep-clean your dentures to help remove stubborn stains and keep them looking clean.

How long do dentures last?

Well looked after  dentures can last for five to ten years before needing to be relined with acrylic resin to help them fit better, or replaced.

The most important thing is how well they fit. Gums naturally recede as you age and, while dentures are moulded to fit your gums exactly, your jaw bone will gradually shrink and deteriorate (a natural process known as resorption). This can be made worse by wearing dentures, especially when they don’t fit well or grind against remaining teeth.

This means your dentures may no longer fit properly and may start to become progressively looser, leading to slipping, discomfort or lisping.

The dentures may need to be replaced to address these problems. See your dentist as soon as possible for advice.

Dentures:
Advantages

  • Dentures are a familiar tooth replacement option – whether a partial denture for single or multiple teeth or full dentures for a full set of upper and lower teeth
  • Modern-day options are more varied – new materials can make them more comfortable than traditional dentures
  • They can help to improve the appearance of your teeth and gums and smile
  • You’ll be able to eat certain foods more easily than if you have loose and missing teeth
  • Removable dentures cost less than fixed solutions
  • They’re available on the NHS
  • Dentures can enhance your facial features which may have sagged due to tooth loss
  • Dentures can improve your speech by preventing the slurring that can occur due to missing teeth
  • Well-fitting dentures can be held with suction alone, but denture fixative can give added grip
  • Partial dentures can be secured with metal clasps

Dentures:
Disadvantages

  • Dentures are removable, so they’re less convenient than fixed solutions such as dental implants that stay in place like natural teeth
  • False teeth can feel unnatural and uncomfortable, sometimes leading to a gag reflex
  • They require a time-consuming daily cleaning routine that necessitates frequent removal
  • When they are removed, denture wearers are left with missing teeth and gaps
  • If they don’t fit properly, dentures can slip, causing irritation, mouth sores and social embarrassment
  • Ill-fitting dentures can impair speech, causing you to slur or lisp
  • Wearing dentures results in accelerated jawbone loss; this can alter face shape, and lead to sagging and wrinkles
  • Food particles can become trapped underneath dentures and start to decay, leading to bad breath
  • Dentures are less durable than natural teeth and permanent solutions such as dental implants
  • Because your gum and jaw bone change shape with age, your dentures will loosen – they will need to be replaced every five to ten years

Over time, dentures can become stained by drinking tea, coffee and red wine, and from smoking – something made worse by abrasions in the acrylic caused by cleaning with abrasive toothpaste. Your dentist can remove these stains – a short, simple process.

If your removable denture moves in your mouth, your dentist can use acrylic resin to improve the fit. This can be done in the dentist surgery (a soft reline) or your dentist might send them to a lab (a hard reline). While relining can help short-term, your dentures may eventually need to be replaced.

The NHS advises that if dentures are removed, they should be placed in water, a suitable overnight denture cleaning solution, or a polythene bag with some dampened cotton wool to stop the denture material from drying out and changing shape, which can lead to poor fit and discomfort.

It’s a good idea to rinse them with water after each meal to help remove food particles that may otherwise get trapped. Rinsing helps keep your mouth clean and feeling fresh, and helps avoid worries about bad breath.

Some people find it hard to get used to the feeling of having dentures in their mouth, especially when new. If your false teeth make you gag, try applying toothpaste to the surface of the denture that’ll be in contact with your gums. This can help prevent gagging.

If you’re experiencing persistent discomfort or irritation, see your dentist
so they can assess if it’s your removable denture causing problems. Your dentures may need adjustment or tooth roots in your gums may be pushing against the dentures.

Choosing the right treatment to replace missing teeth is a very personal decision, and there are now more options than ever. For people preferring a permanent fixed teeth solution, dental implants such as Smile in a Day (also known as All on 4) offer a proven, safe alternative – even for patients told that their bone loss is too severe for implants.

The main difference between dentures and implants is that implants are fixed permanently in place. They are titanium screws inserted into your jawbone to replace natural tooth roots, and artificial teeth are secured on top. These can restore single teeth or multiple teeth, or a full set of upper and lower teeth. Unlike dentures, they remain in place night and day.

One of the key benefits of implants is that your new teeth do not move. As there is no movement, implants eliminate concerns about slipping teeth or a denture rubbing against your gums, and allow you to confidently eat all types of food.

The cost of dental implant procedures is usually higher than the cost of removable options. However, they are the closest thing to natural teeth in terms of bite function and the appearance of your smile, and can last a lifetime if well cared for.