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Dentures… A reliable way to replace missing teeth
All you need to know about dentures and more!

When it comes to replacing lost and missing teeth, one of the most well-known options available are dentures.  Dentures actually date back to 2500BC.  Since then they have come a long way and thankfully are no longer made from wood, ivory, and the teeth and bone of other animals.

In this article, we are going to be exploring dentures in more detail.  We will be looking at the benefits of dentures and the different types of dentures.  We will also discuss what to expect when you first get dentures and, importantly, how best to care for a denture.   As at, Dentists at Pymble, we still routinely recommend and use dentures to replace lost and missing teeth.

However, before we go too far, let’s just clear up a few denture misconceptions…

All too often we hear patients say,

“I don’t want a denture; dentures are for old people…”

So, let’s start by saying that is untrue!

At Dentists at Pymble we do not think dentures should be associated with age.

Dentures can be a suitable tooth replacement option for everyone, regardless of age.  At, Dentists at Pymble, we have made dentures for people in their 20’s and they are extremely happy with them.  So, we want you to dispel that idea right now.

Secondly, it seems that dentures have a bad reputation sometimes.

For some people, the idea of wearing a denture conjures up all sorts of unpleasant memories.  It reminds them of the first time as a child that they saw their Grandparents without their teeth in.  Or it could be the time they saw someone with a denture struggling to eat their meal.  Or it is the story, which I am sure we have all heard, of someone who sneezed causing their denture to come flying out of their mouth!

Unfortunately, these unpleasant memories and stories have tarnished the reputation of dentures!  But again, they are just not an accurate representation or depiction of a well-fitting denture.

So, at Dentists at Pymble, we want you to forget those memories!

As what you may not have realised is that more people wear dentures
than you may know… and they are very happy with them!

Only they have never told you, you haven’t seen them without their dentures in or the denture is doing what it is designed to do and has been well made and fitted.  So, the idea of getting and wearing a denture should not be disregarded as a valid and suitable treatment option to replace lost or missing teeth.

So… as you read this article, we want you to forget what you have seen or heard about dentures.  Instead, we want you to read this article with an open mind about dentures.

 

What is a denture?

A denture is a custom-made dental appliance designed to replace missing and lost teeth.   This helps to restore appearance and function that may otherwise be lost when teeth are missing.

Dentures can be made as a permanent replacement option or may be used as a temporary option between dental procedures.

A denture should act to serve the same function and role as your natural teeth.

 

What are the types of dentures?

Dentures can be designed to replace one or multiple teeth in an arch.  This type of dentures is known as a partial denture.

If a denture has been designed to replace all the teeth in an arch, it is called a full or complete denture.

A denture can also be made and fitted to implants.  Implants can help improve the stability of a denture and is known as an implant retained denture.

Dentures can be made for the top arch (maxilla), or they can be made for the lower arch (mandible).  Some people actually wear dentures in both arches.

 

What are dentures made of?

Dentures can be made from a range of different materials.  It depends on where in the mouth the denture is being used and the number of teeth that are missing.

The materials most commonly used to construct a framework for a denture include acrylic resin, flexible nylon polymer or chrome cobalt.  And the teeth may be made using acrylic resin or porcelain.

Your dental professional will be able to advise you what is going to be best suited for you.


How are dentures made?

Getting a denture made can require a few appointments to help get the best fit and look.

It requires having a series of impressions taken.  These will be sent to a dental lab who will start making the denture.  During this time, you may need to come back to try the denture in to make sure that you are happy with the look, colour and feel.  The final denture is then made and inserted.

Sometimes we make what is known as an immediate denture.  An immediate denture means that the denture is made before the teeth are extracted and is then placed after they are removed.

Once you have your new denture you may need to return to your dental professional to have it adjusted.  As after wearing it for a bit you may notice areas where it may feel tight, this is not uncommon.

You may need to also return to your dental professional at various times to have the denture relined.  Your dental professional will advise you when this is needed.

 

What to expect with a denture?

Just like a new pair of shoes, it can take time to adjust to wearing a denture, especially if it is your first denture.

When patients first get their denture, often they tell us that it feels ‘weird’, ‘strange’ or ‘bulky’.  This is because often they are not used to having something like this in their mouth.

Other things which you can expect from your new denture or dentures can include:

  • Changes to Speech:

During the initial few days, you may find that your speech is different or that it is difficult to make some sounds.  This is due to a denture changing the way in which you move your mouth and tongue.  Once your mouth, lips and tongue become accustomed and familiar with the denture your speech should return to normal again.

At Dentists at Pymble, we often recommend that once you get your new denture/s that you go home and practice reading out loud in front of the mirror.  This will give you an opportunity to practice sounds before talking to other people.

  • Difficulty Eating:

When you first eat with your denture/s in, you may find it to be a little trickier.  Your mouth is adjusting to the texture of the denture and learning to control the movement of the denture.  Plus, you are learning to chew with extra teeth now!  With practice and as your mouth becomes familiar with the denture/s it becomes smoother and easier.

At Dentists at Pymble, we suggest that to begin with you try to cut your food into smaller and more manageable sizes.  Take your time, chew slowly and carefully.  Initially avoid chewy, sticky or crunchy foods. Once you have mastered simple foods, then slowly start introducing other foods and gradually increase your bite sizes.

If your denture/s are replacing your front teeth, then we often recommend that you avoid biting into foods straight away, such as apples.  Instead, get used to the denture and how it works, before you try.

  • Taste:

Some people comment that their taste is different when they first start eating with their denture in.  However, this is usually transient and before long, it returns to normal.

  • Your Appearance:

Your dental professional makes every effort to make your new denture/s look natural.  They are designed to match the colour and shape of your other teeth.  This helps to make the denture/s less noticeable and more realistic.

Depending on how many teeth or the size of the denture/s, you may notice that your teeth feel more prominent, or that your lips and cheeks appear fuller when you are wearing your denture/s.  You may feel like they change your appearance slightly.

However, as the muscles in your face and mouth begin to relax and the denture settles, you will find that this becomes less noticeable.  Some people really love the way it makes their face look and feel!

  • Nausea:

When you first put your new denture/s in, or if it is your first time wearing dentures, initially they make you feel nauseous.  This is more common with full dentures.  The feeling however will often pass, as you learn to tolerate them.

At Dentists at Pymble, we suggest that if you get this feeling that you try to remain calm and relax, take deep breaths through your nose and wait for the feeling to pass.

Remember… when it comes to new denture/s it can take time for your mouth
to adjust and become familiar with them… this is completely normal! 
So, try to persevere and avoid taking them out. 
The more you practice wearing them, the faster you will get used to them!

But, if you are having ongoing issues or concerns with a denture, then it is best to return to your dental professional to have it reviewed.  Sometimes just a simple minor adjustment is all it takes to see you eating, smiling and laughing again!

 

Do dentures hurt?

A denture should not hurt.

If a denture is hurting, rubbing or causing sore spots, then it can be a sign that the denture is not fitting as well as it should be.

Sometimes though it is because the denture has become distorted or it has broken.  And as our mouths are constantly changing, sometimes it can be related to minor changes in the mouth which has caused it to become ill-fitting.

A denture should be comfortable to wear.  So, remember if they are hurting, or if you notice changes that are concerning you, then see your dental professional to have it checked before it becomes a bigger problem.

 

How much does a denture cost?

It is hard to give an estimate of the price of a denture.  This is because the cost varies depending on how many teeth are being replaced and on the style of the denture.

Your dentist is the best person to give you an accurate quote for this type of treatment.

However, in comparison to other tooth replacement options, a denture is often considered to be a more cost-effective option.


Do you still have to see a dentist if you have dentures?

Yes!  Even if you have no teeth, and just dentures, you should still be seeing a dentist routinely.

Seeing a dentist allows us the opportunity to check how the denture is fitting.  It is an opportunity to check your soft tissues and makes sure they are healthy.  And we can do an oral cancer screening.

And if you are wearing a partial denture, it is important to have your other teeth checked.  This is because a denture is a great place for dental plaque and bacteria to hide and accumulate.  Which if not removed can cause gum disease and tooth decay.

So, yes… seeing your dentist is still recommended.

 

How to care for dentures?

It is important to clean your dentures.  Cleaning your dentures helps to remove food, plaque and bacteria.

At Dentists at Pymble we follow the cleaning guidelines set by the Therapeutic Guidelines of Australia.

Dentures should be cleaned at least twice a day and removed from the mouth to clean them.  Use warm water with a mild soap and either a denture brush or a soft nail brush.  Denture brushes can be found at your local chemist or supermarkets.

At Dentists at Pymble, we also recommend that when you clean your dentures that you do it over a towel in the sink or in a shallow bowl.  This is because they can become very slippery and there is nothing worse than when they slip out of your hand, landing on the ground causing them to break.

After cleaning your denture and when you are not wearing them, it is advised to store them somewhere dry.  This helps to reduce yeast colonisation and plaque accumulation.  It is no longer recommended that they be placed in water to soak.

When going to bed at night we encourage you to remove your denture.  That means not sleeping with it in.  By taking the denture out it helps to give your gums a chance to rest and breath.  An analogy we quite often use at Dentists at Pymble, is to imagine sleeping with your shoes on every night and how your feet would feel all day being cooped up inside them permanently.

Oh, and don’t forget after you have cleaned your denture, to clean your teeth and mouth!  Even if you don’t have any teeth you should still brush or wipe your gums to help keep them healthy.


Dentures cleansers:

You may have heard of denture cleansing tablets and whether you use them is up to you.  If you are cleaning well, they may not be necessary.  So, speak to your dental professional to see if they are recommended for you.

They are often used by dropping the tablet in a glass of warm water and leaving the denture in it to soak for 2-3minutes, then removing the denture and thoroughly rinsing with water afterwards.  Before using, check the manufacturer’s instructions though.


What is a denture adhesive?

A denture adhesive is a product which helps to hold or stabilise your denture.  Denture adhesives can be used for full and partial dentures.

When using a denture adhesive, apply it after you have cleaned your denture, only use a small strip on the inside of the denture.  Do not overfill or use too much, as it may cause it to ooze out once you put it in.

At the end of the day, rinse your mouth with warm water and gently ease the denture out of your mouth by using a rocking motion.  Once removed wash under warm water with your denture brush to remove the adhesive.

If you are needing to apply adhesive more than once a day you should speak to your dental professional.


What NOT to use to clean dentures:

You should avoid cleaning your denture under hot water.  You should also avoid using toothpaste, kitchen detergents, bleach, methylated spirits and antiseptics.

Also, it is advisable to avoid using anything abrasive to brush your denture with.  This may accidentally cause microscopic scratches.


How do you remove tartar or hardened plaque build-up from dentures?

Just like our teeth, plaque can calcify and harden onto dentures.  People sometimes call this tartar, scale or calculus.  If this happens you will be unable to remove it with a toothbrush.

You can try soaking the denture overnight in a solution of white vinegar and water (diluted at 1:4).

If it is not coming off, then it is recommended that you see your dental professional, to have it removed.  Do not try to scratch it off yourself, as you inadvertently scratch or damage the denture.

 

Who can make a denture?

A denture can be made by your general dentist or by a dental prosthodontist.

At Dentists at Pymble, we routinely make dentures for our patients.  However, we like to evaluate your mouth and oral health first before deciding whether it is something that we can make for you.  If it is outside our scope though we may need to refer you to see a prosthodontist to have it made.

 

How long do dentures last?

Eventually, your denture will need to be replaced.  The lifespan varies depending on a few factors… such as how you used your denture to how well you cared for them.  However, they should generally last you at least a few years.

It also depends on your mouth.  Sometimes our mouths change altering the fit or comfort of the denture, causing it to become ill-fitting.   This may require the denture to be relined.  Meaning a new lining is placed to help resecure it.

At Dentists at Pymble, we have had patients who have had their denture for over 10 years!!

Hopefully by now, after reading this article, you will have a greater understanding on why dentures are still commonly recommended and used as a valid and reliable way to replace missing teeth.

If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss further, then we invite you to contact the clinic on 02 9488 7555 to arrange an appointment with one of our dentists.  They will be able to discuss if a denture is the right treatment option for you. From everyone at Dentists at Pymble, we thank you for reading this article!

 

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