What are dentures?

Dentures, often also called ‘plates’, are a removable appliance that is worn in the mouth to replace teeth that are missing or have been extracted (pulled out).

Full dentures are worn if you have no remaining teeth of your own, and they are made of acrylic (plastic).

Partial dentures are worn if you still have some remaining teeth of your own. The base (which usually cannot be seen) can be made of acrylic or metal. Thin metal clasps (clips) hold onto your remaining teeth to hold the denture in place.

Denture teeth can come in many different shades. Your dentist can choose a shade that will suit you and any remaining real teeth you have. Making a denture usually takes several appointments.

If I need to have some teeth taken out and a denture made, will I be without teeth for long?

Ideally you should wait 4-6 weeks after extractions before making dentures. This allows for proper healing and the associated bone shrinkage in this area. If waiting for healing is not an option for you, an immediate denture may be made which can be used as soon as the teeth are extracted. An immediate denture usually needs to be relined (at additional cost) 6-12 months after the extractions, to improve the fit and comfort of the appliance.

My lower full denture is loose, is this normal?

It is normal for well-fitting lower dentures to be loose, as they lack the suction that upper full dentures have. In most cases, people become accustom to this looseness over time and are able to function with their full dentures quite well. Denture adhesive can be used initially while you get used to your lower denture. Another option is to have implants placed in the lower jaw to support the lower full denture and prevent movement.

How should I clean my denture?

All surfaces of your dentures should be cleaned twice a day with a soft brush and liquid hand soap or dishwashing detergent. Toothpaste is designed to clean tooth enamel and is too abrasive for dentures. You may also soak the dentures in an antibacterial solution, such as Sterident a few times per week.

Should I leave my dentures out at night?

Yes. It is recommended that dentures are not worn at night to maintain the health of the soft tissue under the denture and prevent candidiasis (oral thrush).

Do I still need a yearly check-up with my dentist if I have full dentures?

Yes. A yearly check-up is still required to monitor the soft tissues (cheeks, tongue, gums, palate) and screen for pathology such as oral cancer. This also enables your dentist to check the fit of your dentures.

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