‘Dentures’ is a generic term used by dentists and patients to describe replacement teeth contained on a removable prosthesis.
Dentures have been used for hundreds of years, with famous denture wearers including George Washington and Winston Churchill. You will be glad to know that dentures have come a long way since then!
Full dentures are used when all of your teeth have been removed, partial dentures when you have some of your natural teeth remaining.
Full dentures are made in acrylic, your dentist will record both impressions of your mouth, and how your jaws seat in relation to one another. It is a difficult art and it is important that adequate time is allowed for these records to be made.
Successful dentures are more likely should your dentist be allowed adequate time to do their job correctly and an experienced technician is used to provide the laboratory work. All too often in NHS practice the dentist will rush the recording stage and a less experienced dental technician will make the denture.
Partial dentures can be made in acrylic or occasionally using a chrome based alloy. It is important for partial dentures to be designed correctly or there is very real risk of them causing damage to the remaining natural teeth. All too often, and again unfortunately within NHS provision, partial dentures are of a ‘gum stripper’ design, that is they sit only on the gums and hold in place by using spikes of acrylic to fit between the remaining natural teeth. A well designed and planned partial denture will use support from both the remaining teeth and the gums, and can even help the long term prognosis of the remaining teeth. It is important for both your dentist and experienced technician to be allowed the time and materials to provide you with a well fitting and constructed denture.
The standard of dentures available varies greatly. Modern, well designed dentures can be indistinguishable from natural teeth. You should ask your dentist about the various types available and give yourself the best chance of receiving a successful prosthesis.