dental treatments > Dentures

Dentures

If you do want to replace the missing tooth, the first step is usually to have a denture fitted. This can be done straight after the tooth has been extracted.

When teeth are removed it takes several months for the bone and gums to form a stable shape. During this time, a plastic "temporary" or "immediate" denture is often made.

As the healing tissues shrink, the temporary denture will start to become loose and may need adjustment. After six months or so, when the tissues are stable, your dentist will be able to start making the long-term denture or bridge.

Partial Dentures

A partial denture can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. This type of denture must be removed for cleaning and should be taken out at night.

There are a variety of types, but they usually include a metal and/or plastic base carrying plastic or porcelain artificial teeth. Metal clasps are usually used to keep the denture in position. Where possible, these are hidden so that they can't be seen during smiling and talking.

Full Dentures

Full dentures are needed when there are no teeth left in the upper or lower jaw. Full dentures must be removed for cleaning and should be taken out at night.

Full upper dentures cover the roof of the mouth. A very thin layer of saliva between the roof of the mouth and the denture creates suction, which keeps it firmly in position.

Full lower dentures can be more difficult to keep in place. This is partly because the floor of the mouth is very muscular, and may push the denture out of place. However, over time the tongue and cheek muscles tend to get used to the shape of the denture and adapt to keep it in place.

Getting used to Dentures

It is very important to have realistic expectations of dentures. They should help you to eat, speak and smile confidently, but even the best dentures won't feel the same as natural teeth.

After having new dentures fitted, it's normal to produce more saliva than usual for a few hours, and for your mouth to feel a bit irritated for a few days.