You may need either:
- complete dentures (a full set) – which replace all your upper or lower teeth, or
- partial dentures – which replace just 1 tooth or a few missing teeth
How dentures are fitted
A full denture will be fitted if all your upper or lower teeth need to be removed or you’re having an old complete denture replaced. The denture will usually be fitted as soon as your teeth are removed, which means you won’t be without teeth. The denture will fit snugly over your gums and jawbone. First, a trial denture will be created from the impressions taken of your mouth. The dentist will try this in your mouth to assess the fit and for you to assess the appearance. The shape and colour may be adjusted before the final denture is produced. Complete dentures use the shape of your gum to stay held in your mouth, whereas partial dentures can often utilise metal clips which can attach the the remaining teeth. The dentists will discuss the design of the denture with you before it is constructed.
Other methods of replacing missing teeth include dental bridges and implants, which you can find out more about on our website.
Looking after your dentures
Dentures may feel a bit strange to begin with, but you’ll soon get used to wearing them. Dentures will usually need to be removed at night and placed in water, although your dentist will give you further advice at the ‘fit’ appointment. If you remove your dentures, they should be kept moist – for example, in water or a polythene bag with some dampened cotton wool in it, or in a suitable overnight denture-cleaning solution. This will stop the denture material drying out and changing shape.
Keeping your mouth clean is just as important when you wear dentures. You should brush your remaining teeth, gums and tongue every morning and evening with fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It’s important to regularly remove plaque and food deposits from your dentures. You should clean your dentures as often as you would normal teeth (at least twice a day: every morning and night). As toothpaste is designed to be used on enamel, not plastic, we advise either water or soap to clean your dentures. Special denture cleaning solutions can also be used, and these are widely available.
Dentures may break if you drop them, so you should clean them over a bowl or sink filled with water, or something soft like a folded towel.
Eating with dentures
When you first start wearing dentures, you should eat soft foods cut into small pieces and chew slowly, using both sides of your mouth. Avoid chewing gum and any food that’s sticky, hard or has sharp edges. You can gradually start to eat other types of food until you’re back to your old diet. Never use toothpicks.