How Do I Get Dentures?
Over our lifetimes our bodies take a bit of wear and tear, not least of all our teeth! With this breakdown and subsequent loss of teeth, ‘gaps’ can start to emerge in the smile.
There are numerous options for restoring these gaps, and a popular one remains the use of dentures.
If you are wondering, ‘how do I get dentures?’ then this article will explain the process. It will also seek to compare this particular treatment option against all of the others available for closing gaps in the smile.
Book in an Assessment Visit
If you think you could benefit from dentures, then the first thing you should do is make an appointment for a ‘consult’ with your dentist. Discuss the reasons that you want to get dentures, which could be primarily aesthetic, or more to do with being able to chew and talk more easily.
Your dentist will check what condition your gums are in, and also the health of any remaining teeth that you have. From there they will suggest what your options are and give you what is known as a ‘treatment plan’.
Getting Your Mouth Ready For Dentures
Often there will be some preliminary work to be done to get your teeth and gums ready to support the dentures.
Your dentist will outline the rationale for this initial treatment, which could include fillings and crowns to strengthen remaining teeth, and potentially extraction of broken down teeth that are basically getting in the way of having a nice smile.
Different Materials and Different Types of Dentures
In terms of materials There are two main types of dentures; those with a plastic base and those with a metal base.
The plastic based dentures are also known as acrylic dentures. One sub-type are what are called ‘full’ or ‘complete’ dentures, which mean that they are replacing all of the teeth. If you have no teeth, then this will be what your dentist recommends.
The other sub-type of plastic/acrylic dentures you can get are called ‘partial’ dentures. They are used when there are a few small gaps in different areas of your smile.
The other main type of dentures are cobalt chrome dentures, and they are commonly known as ‘metal based’ dentures. They have an alloy material base, and metal clasps to help hold the denture in place. The plastic teeth and gums are fused over the top of this base. They are not used in ‘complete’ cases, but only to fill partial spaces.
So What’s the Difference Between Cast, Metal and Plastic Dentures?
Like every treatment option, there are different horses for different courses. Plastic partial dentures are significantly cheaper than metal ones and can often require less time from start to finish to make. Some people find them more comfortable because they have no metal in them.
The metal dentures are more expensive and take longer to make, but they are much stronger, less liable to fracture, and also tend to be more stable because they are held in place by the clasps. Sometimes though the clasps can show through in the smile, and they might not be quite as aesthetic.
Every case is different though so your dentist will go through the pros and cons of both options in your particular case.
Other Types of Dentures
The aforementioned two types, cast metal partial and acrylic partial/full dentures cover the majority of cases, but there are a few other types of dentures your dentist may recommend.
Thermoplastic dentures like Valplast offer the dual functionality of aesthetics and flexibility and are a good choice in select cases.
Sometimes old teeth will be ground down and used as support underneath a denture, and in this case they are called over dentures, but they are falling out of fashion.
Another fast growing area of dentures are implant retained dentures, whereby screws are placed in your jaw, and then the small protruding portion of the screw locks in to the underside of the denture. These are very stable dentures, but besides the lock in mechanism the style of the denture which goes over the top of the implants will be similar to those described above.
After the consult visit and completion of preliminary work, there are normally about 5 - 7 appointments needed to make the denture (which are spaced about a week apart).
At each stage the dentist will take increasingly more accurate impressions, and the penultimate visit allows you to see what the dentures will look and feel like in situ, but they are made out of wax with white plastic teeth embedded. This is like ‘trying before you buy’.
Once you are happy with these ‘try in’ dentures, the real dentures will be fashioned from them and given to you.
Maintenance and Follow Up
Your dentist will provide you with specific advice relating to the maintenance of your particular dentures, but in general terms denture hygiene is very important.
The most important thing is to take your dentures out at night and steep them in a cleaning solution. A popular one to use is Steradent.
Your dentures will also need cleaned separately from your remaining natural teeth, and there are specific tooth brushes for this, like these ones from Caredent.
Regular check ups will help make sure that your teeth and gums remain healthy, and your dentures are in good mechanical and aesthetic shape.
Initial difficulty with denture stability is to be expected and denture adhesives like Fixodent will help you. If however you are requiring constant support from adhesives to stop the dentures from dislodging, make a check up appointment with the dentist as the dentures may need adjusted.
Hopefully this article helps answer your question on how to get dentures. If you follow this simple advice, then restoring your smile will be a breeze:
- Attend your dentist for a Denture Consult
- Co-operate with the dentist to get the mouth ready for dentures
- Attend the dentist for a handful of short visits as they work through the process of making your denture
- Keep your denture clean with Caredent brushes and Steradent and keep your recall appointments
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