Dentures, how can we ensure they fit? What are the options?

Experience Counts

In addition to general dental qualifications Dr Keith Doonan has a Masters in Prosthodontics which is the Speciality of making dentures. He has taught and lectured on this subject at University for several years. He provides an advanced service for patients who have difficulty in wearing dentures or wish to be treated with a high level of expertise.

What are dentures?

A denture is a removable acrylic plate or metal frame that replaces one or more missing teeth. If it replaces all the teeth it is called a Full Denture and if it replaces just some of the teeth it is called a Partial Denture.

Dentures have been around for many years, in fact one of George Washington’s dentures carved from hippopotamus ivory can be viewed at the Royal London Hospital Museum dated from around 1750.

Dentures have to be removed daily for cleaning and this represents one of their major disadvantages.

How are dentures made?

We don’t carve them from hippopotamus ivory or lead anymore. Today, we use a variety of techniques using high strength dental acrylics or medical grade metal frameworks. In many respects, making dentures is becoming a lost art due to the decreasing number of patients who require this service. Dr. Keith Doonan studied for a number of years to attain his Masters in Prosthodontics which is the area of expertise dealing with making dentures.

To a large extent, the success of a denture depends on the ability of the person wearing it to accommodate its inherent disadvantages such as; the requirement to remove and clean it daily, the possibility of small amounts of food becoming trapped under it, its movement during eating and speaking and the embarrassing risk of it falling out in public.

However, there are a number of ways to minimize all of these problems. People wearing an average denture often report a great improvement to their life when an improved denture is made.

The most important factor in making a good denture is allowing sufficient time to assess the unique problems faced by each individual and then to design the denture accordingly. Whilst it is possible to make a denture in one visit, if we want to achieve the best result it can often take 6 to 8 visits.

Secondly, many dentists typically pass the job of making the denture to a technician, who they may have never even met. By taking control of the technical side as well, your dentist is even more likely to create the best result possible. Keith Doonan usually performs the technical construction of the dentures for his patients himself to ensure the best result.

Why wear a denture?

The main advantages of a denture are that it:

  • can often be made to look more natural than other options does not involve invasive surgery
    • is relatively straight forward to make
    • is often less expensive than other options

The main dis-advantages of a denture are that:

  • it has to be removed daily for cleaning
    • some people cannot tolerate them in their mouth
    • it can cause pressure on the gums and teeth
    • it may increase the chance of gum disease and dental decay of remaining teeth
    • it is hard to eat some foods with full dentures, such as lettuce and peanuts.
Lower Full Dentures? Any hope for improvement?

Whilst a lot of people with dentures continue to lead normal lives there is one group of people who report to have more severe problems. The vast majority of people are not fully satisfied with their lower full denture even when it has been made to the highest standard. There are a number of reasons for this:
• the lower gums are more delicate and have less area to provide support for the denture
• the tongue is attached to the lower jaw and tends to move the lower denture during eating and speaking
• the lower jaw itself moves during eating and speaking
• the shape of the lower jaw usually has less undercut areas which can be used to make the denture stay in.
It has been shown through a number of research papers that people with lower full dentures can improve their lives considerably by placing 2 dental implants in their lower jaw onto which the denture can be clipped. The price of this has dropped considerably over the last few years and, whilst still significant, it can be done for a fraction of what it used to cost.

To see if dentures might be right for you or to see if your existing denture problems can be solved, please do feel free to contact us, Keith will be happy help you explore which options are best for you.

You may wish to consider Dental Implants as an alternative to dentures.

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