What Are Dentures?
Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as your natural teeth, today's dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.
Types Of Dentures
Two Main Types Of Dentures : Full And Partial
With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums which holds in high quality artificial teeth. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.
At both Narberth and Herbrandston dentures are custom-made to your specific requirements either in our own dedicated and on site dental laboratory or in a partner local laboratory where we can retain full control of quality and manufacture.
Insisting on the very best of materials and techniques we ensure individual character within each denture so that they look realistic and feel great. These are not the mass produced and characterless dentures produced by so many dental practices today.
By definition a full denture replaces all teeth. Such dentures, if made well, can function for many years but should be examined regularly to ensure they are not causing, or hiding, unfelt damage to the mouth or hiding pathology such as pre cancerous conditions or indeed oral cancer - the 3rd most common cancer in the UK and one of the most deadliest!
A partial denture replaces some natural teeth. There are many types and offer a removable alternative to bridges.
In general, partial dentures fit into one of two categories, depending on the material of which they are made.
a) Plastic - These are dentures made of a plastic material termed acrylic. The plastic forms a plate which holds the new teeth in place. Such dentures may have metal clasps fitted to some of the remaining natural teeth to help hold in place or may simply stay in place due to suction.
These types of dentures have many disadvantages including that of being quite uncomfortable and unhygienic to wear. As a result, at Herbrandston, we view these common forms of denture as temporary at best.
b) Metal - The metal used in partial dentures is usually chrome cobalt. This is a very strong, light material which remains rigid even in quite thin sections. A metal denture usually only covers part of the gum area and can be quite complex in design.
Metal dentures consist of thin straps of metal and clasps which fit very precisely to the natural teeth to hold the denture firmly in place.They are far more comfortable and more stable than their plastic counterparts: their design enabling patients to maintain a better standard of oral hygiene. They are more expensive than plastic dentures but they are stronger and last longer.
When Can They Be Used?
Dentures, if constructed and designed well can provide for a very comfortable and good looking treatment option. Certainly if a patient has no teeth at all then full dentures can allow that person to eat, speak and look natural.
A well made set of dentures can be made to look totally natural. Some patients even have gold crowns or fillings placed in the denture teeth to make them resemble more their natural teeth before they were removed. We can even recreate twisted, crooked or spacings between teeth depending on your preference. Certainly by comparing old photographs we can make dentures very much like the original: something many of our patients greatly appreciate.
How Are They Made?
The planning of all types of dentures starts with an impression being taken of your mouth. This gives us a model copy of the mouth upon which we design our denture. In the case of a partial denture as shown opposite, we plan where we are to place clasps to hold the denture onto the natural teeth. We also determine the shape the denture should be in order for strength, comfort and to support the artificial teeth.
From this 'prescription' our dental laboratory staff makes the denture: the shape colour and position of the final teeth usually being approved by the patient before final construction.
Full dentures are more complex in that we have to determine how the 'bite' of the upper and lower jaws come together: there are no natural teeth left to guide us. To do this we use and mark up wax blocks. At the next appointment we have teeth fitted in the wax and the patient can once again look at the results of our work to give their approval before we finally 'finish' the denture.
We do all this in a relaxed and caring atmosphere so that our patients can have time to add their comments and views. It is a full team effort with the patient being an integral part of that team.
After all, if you do not like the final result we have failed and that is something we rarely do!
Note: All metal components are manufactured outside the Practice but within local laboratories to ensure quality control.
Why Have Dentures Made With Us?
There are good and there are bad dentures. Where care has not been taken to ensure comfortable fit and good function, the patient will not wear their dentures. You will find them uncomfortable.
For our elderly population in particular, this can severely affect their quality of life: they can only eat limited types of foods, they can lack good nutrition, it affects their speech and they become embarrassed and agitated by loose or 'clacking' teeth. This need not be necessary.
Often a patient will have an ancient set of dentures that they love and many sets they hate. At Herbrandston we have special techniques whereby we can copy exactly the good denture and gradually modify it so it fits and functions better without the patient feeling they have yet another 'new' denture. This facility alone makes us very popular.
We even have techniques for 'locking down' dentures with dental implants or suggesting small surgical procedures that might greatly improve the denture function.
We care for all our patients and our easy atmosphere usually relaxes the most agitated of our denture wearers. We are discrete, professional and our results speak for themselves. Come and talk to us: I am sure we can help.
Finally, uniquely and very importantly, we can liaise direct with the dental technician: locally, on site or in surgery thus ensuring the needs and wishes of our patients are directly understood by all parties. We will encourage you to tell the technician directly about any specific requests (such as teeth size, gaps in the teeth or even inclusions such as gold 'fillings'). If you want it, and we can do it, it would be our pleasure to give you, the patient, exactly what you wish.
Why Do I Need A Checkup If I Have No Teeth?
At both the Herbrandston and Narberth Dental Health Practices we are keen to see patients with full upper and lower dentures on a regular basis - in most cases once per year. It is important that patients in this category visit us regularly, not necessary for treatment, but to assess the health of the mouth and the continued suitability of the dentures.
Many diseases such as anaemia, blood disorders and saliva disorders can be detected early by careful examination of the mouth and we are pleased to be able to do this often with the aid of a powerful microscope or enhanced vision equipment (loupes or intra-oral photography).
It is important also to screen for oral cancer, the third most dangerous cancer after lung and breast cancer in the UK . (See our section entitled ‘Oral Cancer).
We would also be pleased to offer general denture hygiene advice where appropriate and recommend treatments for common denture ailments such as thrush, ulceration, ‘burning mouth' or other general denture discomforts.
Far from being a waste of time or money, such check ups can prevent progressive mouth problems and in extreme cases, even be life saving..
Content Written and Approved by Dr Mark Boulcott