Dentures


Whilst we all hope that our adult teeth, also known as permanent teeth, are in fact permanent and we can keep them for life, unfortunately that is not always the case. Even with a good oral hygiene routine, it may sometimes be necessary to remove a damaged tooth which cannot be saved. Occasionally a tooth may also be lost due to physical trauma. Dentures are one dental treatment option that can be used to effectively replace the missing tooth or teeth.

Dentures, also known as 'false teeth', are teeth that can be fitted to your mouth, however, that are not in there permanently. They can be removed, for example overnight, and then placed back in during the day. This method can be used for both upper or lower jaw teeth.

What types of dentures are available?

In general there are two main types of dentures. Partial dentures and full dentures.

Partial dentures, as the name suggests, are dentures that are used to replace one or more teeth on the upper or lower jaw. These dentures can be made from plastic, metal or both depending on the specific dental case. The denture itself will be attached to the teeth on either side of the missing teeth. This can be done via small metal clasps or via 'precision denture attachments'. The latter of these options can be preferred in some instances as they are nearly invisible, however, given the way they are constructed and fitted they tend to be the more expensive option. Our team will of course provide you with options for you to consider and advice for your particular dental needs.

An important aspect to remember with partial dentures, is that the teeth to which the dentures will be fitted, those on either side, must themselves be strong and healthy teeth for dentures to fit and hold in place. Given this, partial dentures may not be viable in some instances and other treatment may be required first. For example, a dental crown on the natural teeth on either side to improve the fit of the dentures.

Given the requirement of healthy teeth on either side for partial dentures to be fitted, the treatment or fitting of your new dentures may take a few weeks. For example, you may come in for an assessment and treatment plan consultation where it is determined that crowns will need to be fitted which may take two weeks. Following this, our team can then measure and fit the space for your new dentures, which will take a few days to be made, before they can be fitted.

The second main type of denture that is available is the full denture, which as the name implies, is a total replacement of all of your teeth on either the upper or lower jaw, or in some instances both. Generally these are made from a plastic or acrylic base and sit on the gum ridges. This full denture will provide support to your cheeks and lips and also help to maintain the distance or spacing between your chin, mouth and nose. Without replacement for missing teeth, the space between these areas can decrease over time, or in other words, change the appearance of your facial structure.

Depending on how many teeth remain, it may take several months for a full set of dentures to be fitted. For instance, if only a few teeth remain, it may be determined that they are not viable for use for partial dentures and therefore, for a full denture to be fitted, must be removed. Naturally, after this removal the tissues surrounding the removed teeth will need time to heal. This time to heal will vary from person to person, however, may take several months, during which time you will be without any teeth. Naturally, you may not want to be without teeth for this period of time, therefore, options such as 'immediate' full dentures may be of interest to you. Whilst these can be fitted almost immediately after the remaining teeth are removed, in some cases the same day, they will need to be relined and adjusted periodically as the area heals and reshapes underneath the dentures. If you choose to wait, then measurements will be taken after approximately 2-3 months, allowing sufficient time for the area to heal and no longer change in shape causing a misfit of the dentures.

Given that everyone's dental health and treatment will be unique, our team will naturally discuss all of the above options with you to advise you on the best option for you particular case. In some cases, other options such as dental bridges or implants may be more effective for your dental needs. Rest assured we will go through all the options with you and help you make the most informed decision.

How do dentures feel?

Whilst they will never feel like your natural teeth, with modern technology and an experienced team, your new dentures will be more comfortable than ever. It will take some time for you to get used to eating and drinking with your new dentures. We recommend that for the first few days at a minimum you start by eating softer foods, chewing slowly and even cutting them into very small pieces first. Be sure to carefully test the temperature of the food as well, as dentures can have an insulating quality, therefore, you may burn other parts of your mouth despite not feeling it where the dentures are placed. Over time, you can slowly start to eat hard foods again, as you become more comfortable with your dentures, however, you may want to stay away from the really tough red meats, overly crusty bread and chewing gum.

Talking 'naturally' may also take some time to get used to, because the sound of how you pronounce things may change slightly due to the alignment of your new dentures. It might take weeks or even months for you to adjust to this.

Generally speaking, your tongue may also feel squashed with a new set of dentures, particularly a full denture. It will take some getting used to for your muscles in your cheeks and even your tongue to hold the dentures or adjust to them taking up the room that was empty beforehand. This may cause more saliva flow as well, something that is totally normal in the circumstances.

We should point out that there are a few instances where you should come in to see us after getting the new dentures fitted. These include:

  • When eating, if the dentures are pressing on a particular area of the gums causing 'sore spots', they may need a slight adjustment.
  • If you hear a clicking noise continuously when talking it is an indication that the dentures may need a small adjustment or tightening.
  • If you feel the dentures are 'loose' after a period of time, possibly because the unlaying structure of your gums has changed, which will occur naturally as you age.

At a minimum, you should also come in and see us once a year for a check-up of the dentures. Usually, for convenience, we can simply do this check-up during your routine dental examination visit.

How do I look after my dentures?

Just like natural teeth, your new denture teeth will need to be cleaned twice a day. It is important to maintain a good oral hygiene regime to ensure your dentures last. Some tips include:

  • Brush your dentures at least twice per day in the morning and before bed. Take the dentures out when brushing and use a denture safe toothpaste, not a general toothpaste, to avoid scratching the dentures.
  • Do not grip the dentures to tightly as this may cause them to bend or even snap. Try to avoid holding them at the ends, instead gently grip the middle section.
  • Try to clean the dentures over a basin which is either half filled with water or has a towel in it. That way, if you drop them, they hopefully won't break.
  • Don't forget to clean the rest of your mouth when the dentures are out, including the gums where the dentures are positioned and the roof of your mouth. Food can build up between the gum and the denture.
  • Make sure you remove the dentures overnight to help prevent fungal infections.
  • Store dentures in a fresh glass of cold water or a disinfection solution. Alternatively a cool dry container can also be used for overnight storage. Make sure you rinse them off under cold water before putting them back in. Do not use hot water, as this may cause them to change shape and warp.

Are there any risks of dentures?

Issue with dentures generally revolve around them not fitting properly and therefore, causing discomfort, possible bleeding of the gums, swelling, sores or ulcers, or they may even simply just feel awkward as they are loose. All of these issues can be addressed, however, usually just through minor adjustments in the denture. Rest assured, if our team feels that dentures are not a good fit for your dental needs, we will inform you of an alternative course of treatment better suited to your needs.

Preferred Providers

Here at CoastWide Smiles Dentalcare, we are affiliated with and are the Preferred Providers for most Major Health Funds.

Being a Preferred Health Fund Provider ensures that you receive your maximum allowable dental benefit making treatment very affordable and this means less out of pocket expenses to you than at non-preferred provider practices.

CoastWide Smiles Dentalcare are also Partners with Smile.com.au which can save you up to 40% off your dental treatment and can be used in conjunction with Health funds. Please visit Smile.com.au for further details on savings, or call our friendly reception team to enquire about this.

We also understand the everyday financial commitments of people and offer interest free treatment payment plans to best suit individual needs and so that the cost of treatment can be budgeted and spread over a period of time, which is convenient and a preferred option for many people.

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