To many people, perhaps yourself included, the mention of the word ‘dentures’ can often conjure up the image of two bright pink crescents complete with full rows of teeth. Sometimes it is difficult to get away from the use of the expression ‘false teeth’ and all that is associated with it. The simple truth is, there is more to dentures than meets the eye, or the smile for that matter, and here at Elmsleigh House, we’d like to put your mind at rest over a number of points relating to dentures. First, it is worth looking at why there may be a need for you to wear dentures. It could be that you have lost teeth in an accident or as a result of a sporting injury. Another two reasons for loss of teeth is gum disease or decay. It may also be as a result of malnutrition or genetics, which has resulted in severely crooked or malformed teeth. If you thought that dentures are just for ‘old people’, then you would be wrong. Of the approximately 11 million denture wearers in the UK, over a million of these are aged 16 – 44.
So what exactly are dentures?
There are generally three types of denture – conventional full denture, immediate full denture, and partial denture. All three comprise natural-looking teeth that are inserted into an acrylic flesh-coloured base, which fits over your gums. As it can take several months for the gums to heal after the extraction of several teeth, if you require full dentures then a set of immediate full dentures can be worn to avoid being without teeth for any length of time. During the healing process your gums will alter their shape, so immediate full dentures will have to be relined. The alternative is to wait until your gums are fully healed and then have conventional full dentures fitted.
Partial dentures are an alternative to dental implants and are usually attached to existing teeth by a metal framework. At this stage it is worth suggesting you download our free Guide to Dentures, which will answer many of the questions you may currently have.
There are many advantages to wearing dentures, from the cosmetic to the practical. For those of you who have any missing teeth, self-consciousness can be an everyday experience and will often stop you from smiling and laughing at ease. The more self-conscious you become, often your self-confidence diminishes. Additionally, missing teeth can make it difficult to eat certain foods, and can also lead to a build-up of plaque deposits in the spaces where teeth would normally be, leading to (further) gum disease. Finally, missing teeth can often lead to minor speech impediments, which again can affect self-confidence. Dentures can help you avoid all these problems.
There can be downsides to wearing dentures. To begin with, they will never feel like natural teeth. Initially they can feel uncomfortable, and certain food types may have to be avoided. The removal of all your teeth can lead to a change in facial features, which dentures may not be able to avoid. Once fitted, the shape of your gums and mouth can still alter, causing your dentures to become ill fitting. If not attended to, this can lead to considerable discomfort as well as mouth sores, problems eating, problems talking, and infections.
We should mention that if you have any questions about dentures, these can also be answered by Frank Johnson, our highly experienced clinical dental technician here at Elmsleigh House. You are welcome to give Frank a call and book yourself in for a free dental consultation.
When first fitted, you are advised to only eat soft food that is already cut up into small pieces. Over time, and as your gums settle down and you become more accustomed to the feel of wearing dentures, you can slowly revert back to eating as you used to. There are certain foods you may have to avoid, or certain ways of eating. Chewy steak is not ideal, and biting into a crusty roll that you have to chew and tear with your teeth can be more of a challenge. Soft fruit with pips can also lead to discomfort if a stray pip makes its way under the dental plate.
Like your natural teeth, dentures should be cleaned regularly, both from an oral hygiene point of view and also to protect your dentures. Dentures should never be allowed to dry out or they can become misshapen, so when not in use they can be soaked in water or in a cleaning solution. Your dentures should still be removed and brushed twice a day with a toothbrush, but not using an abrasive dental cream as this will damage them. Plaque, which can cause further gum disease, can still build up on dentures, so a non-abrasive toothpaste is ideal, as well as soaking them in a dental cleaning solution. Don’t forget to clean your own teeth while you are at it!
It may be that you are still unsure about whether dentures or implants are best for you. Implants differ in that they are permanently fixed by means of inserting a titanium screw into your jawbone, and thereafter should be treated the way you do your natural teeth.
For further information on dental implants and dentures, and to help you determine which will be the best solution for you, contact us here at Elmsleigh House and book a free initial consultation with Frank Johnson, our Clinical Dental Technician.