What is a denture?
People wear dentures to replace lost or missing teeth so they can enjoy a healthy diet and smile with confidence. Dentures are made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal.
A 'complete' or 'full' denture is one which replaces all the natural teeth in either the upper or lower jaws.
A 'partial' denture fills in the spaces left by lost or missing teeth. It may be fastened to your natural teeth with metal clasps or 'precision attachments'.
What are dentures made of?
The base of a denture is called a plate and can be made of either acrylic (plastic) or metal. The teeth are normally made of acrylic and can be made to match your natural teeth. This is especially important in the case of partial dentures.
Will dentures make me feel different?
Replacing lost or missing teeth is very good for your health and appearance. A complete or full denture replaces your natural teeth and gives support to your cheeks and lips. Without this support, sagging facial muscles can make a person look older and they will find it harder to eat and speak properly. Dentures can be made to closely match your natural teeth so that your appearance hardly changes. Modern dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face.
Will I be able to eat with dentures?
Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the denture from moving. As you become more used to your denture, add other foods until you return to your normal healthy diet.
How soon can I have a denture after my teeth are taken out?
Usually dentures can be fitted straight after your teeth have been removed. These are called ‘immediate dentures’. You visit the dentist beforehand for them to take measurements and impressions of your mouth. With immediate dentures you don’t have to be without teeth while your gums are healing. However, bone and gums can shrink over time, especially during the first six months after your teeth have been taken out. If your gums shrink, your immediate dentures may need relining, adjusting or even replacing. Your dentist will be able to discuss this with you. Sometimes your dentist may advise you to wait until your gums are healed before having your dentures, as this can sometimes provide a better fit. Healing may take several months.
Are dentures my only option?
No. Implants are another option to consider. Ask your dentist for more information on this. You will find more information in our "Dental Implant" page or ask a member of our team.
The above information has been provided under licence by the British Dental Health Foundation and is copyrighted.