An informative insight into how we manage and plan your denture treatment with Q & A Scenarios
If your questions are not answered here in the denture Q & A guide please email and ask us direct so it can be added to the list, or book a free consultation with Andy Dougan.
How do I choose where to go to for new denture treatment?
When denture patients are deciding where to go to get new dentures they should consider several important factors. Most people do not realise that they can now go direct to a clinical dental technician in the UK instead of a dentist. The difference being that unlike clinical dental technicians, dentists cannot do the laboratory work themselves, they instead send the moulds and fitting stages away to be mass produced in a commercial laboratory by someone you will never meet. Clinical dental technicians however are far more extensively trained for dentures and should be doing all of the denture manufacturing themselves for every patient they treat, often affording them advantages over dentists with the technical experience, speed and accuracy to bridge the gap from laboratory to patient.
How much should dentures cost?
Our services are private and not covered by the NHS. There are no set guidelines for the prices of private dentures outside of the NHS so the costs vary a huge amount. NHS denture treatment costs £200 – 300 unless you qualify for free dental treatment. We see several patients each month that have had NHS dentures made that they cannot wear for varying reasons due to a lack of time being spent on them both clinically (when you are in the dental chair) and in NHS commercial laboratories with poor standards of work and the cheapest materials used. You should also be very wary of private low cost advertised “affordable” bums on seats denture pricing as properly made dentures take a considerable amount of clinical and laboratory time to make which cannot be “cheap” as time is the main thing that you are paying for. What you should consider as well as the dentures costs is the experience and attitude of the clinician you choose to make your new dentures. You should be aware that a professional and experienced denture maker will take plenty of time to discuss your denture requirements and above all listen to you and explain everything to you about all your options, associated costs and the reasons behind them without “up selling” or being “pushy” so you can make a proper well informed choice to suit your budget.
Can you make my dentures if I already have a dentist?
Yes we can make your dentures if you are already registered with a dentist. For full complete dentures we can go straight ahead. If you need partial dentures then we need a simple prescription (find a printable copy under the referrals tab) signed by a dentist that has checked your teeth to aid the decisions with designing your denture. This is a regulation set by the General Dental Council (GDC) for clinical dental technicians like us. If your dentist takes exception to this and finds excuses not to comply or just refuses to sign our prescription then that’s unfortunate. This can be an issue but it is easily overcome as we have a few nice open minded nearby dentists that we recommend and send patients to for this very reason.
Can you recommend a local dentist?
Yes we can recommend good local dentists. We have several dentists in the area that we work alongside to help denture wearers.
Which kind of denture is right for me? Plan my treatment?
The single most important factor for making perfect dentures is Treatment Planning. This means making all the right denture choices in advance for size, shape, materials, design, cost and appearance.
We have to select the kind of denture that’s right for you and incorporate the correct denture design specific to your needs as every case is unique.
Making the right decisions for selecting the correct individual kinds of denture treatment for every patient depends on many important factors.
- Your current denture problems to overcome – poor appearance – painful or loose fitting dentures that stop you enjoying food – weak dentures that cracked or kept breaking – dentures that affected your speech or that gave you a confidence issue
- Your particular stipulations and opinions / likes and dislikes
- The Health, position and sensitivity of any remaining teeth
- Shapes and conditions of the gums and oral tissue
- Your gag reflex sensitivity and adaptive capability to wear dentures affecting design options and choices
- The urgency timescale we have to work to
- Your Budget
- Your Age
- Any Medical Conditions and medication affecting treatment
How should I look after my dentures? / cleaning denture do’s & don’ts
When new, your dentures are professionally polished to a lustrous shine. To maintain this you need to get into the habit of brushing them twice a day with a soft bristled normal or electric tooth brush on every surface. This combined with a non-abrasive denture cream or toothpaste brushed in a circular motion to clean between the denture teeth is all that’s needed to keep them looking as good as new. Another good trick is to fill the bathroom sink with water to brush them over in case you drop them. Please bear in mind though not to overdo it as excessive brushing can over time polish the denture surface away. If you do not wear your dentures at night simply soak them (after brushing) in clean water.
The use of bleach soaking products is not advised they can cause permanent perishing damage to the denture acrylic, however if you must use these advertised denture soaking tablets please limit the time to only a few minutes maximum but you will still need to brush them as well. A common problem we see is when patients have soaked their dentures overnight in bleach or with a tablet bleach product for several years resulting in the pink plastic part of the dentures being all rough and porous with a changed much lighter often white colour.
If you do get tarter build up or staining that you cannot remove then we can professionally clean and polish your dentures while you wait.
Should I - Can I wear my dentures at night?
The text book generally states that you must not wear dentures at night but generalising is not possible with dentures.
Yes you can wear your dentures at night as long as you have good “twice daily” oral hygiene routine unless you fall into the two categories below.
The first is concerning small partial dentures or loose dentures where there is a risk that you could choke on them.
The second is if you suffer from a condition called bruxism where you clench or grind your teeth at night. This affects patients with partials and full complete dentures with the usual symptoms being aching or clicking jaws, headaches or painful gums. This can cause excessive wear of real and denture teeth and painful pressure points under dentures where they have been overloaded with biting force. Over a long period of time this can cause accelerated gum shrinkage.
I know thousands of patients now over 80 who had all their teeth pulled out in their late teens or twenties that have always worn their dentures at night with no problems at all. Lots of patients cannot sleep without their dentures in at night. I have patients that chew their own gums in their sleep if they leave their denture out, waking themselves up in pain.
What is a soft comfort lining?
There are several different kinds of soft comfort linings for dentures. They are soft usually silicone based softer layers placed underneath mainly lower dentures when your mouth is unable to take hard acrylic denture pressure directly. Some are temporary and only last for only about six months where as others can last several years. We try to only use these as a last resort for extremely receeded flat ridges or bumpy bony sensitive gum conditions to solve a problem.
Which foods are most likely to crack or break my dentures?
Without doubt the most common food that breaks or cracks dentures is bread in its various forms. Any big compressive food that you take a large bite into like pizza, normal sliced bread or toast, French bread or even pitta bread all make you exert your full biting force to bite through them spreading the force across your denture which is roughly the same as standing on it. Biting is however an effortless action as you do not consciously register any effort as it is an automatic action which is well in excess of 100 psi. I would guess probably over 80% of the dentures I have repaired were from eating bread. Other obvious foods to avoid include anything rock hard like chocolate that is fridge cold or pork crackling.
How long should my dentures last?
There are no exact set times for how long dentures should last. We recommend having a denture health check-up and an oral examination annually. We can check if your dentures still fit properly,are free from cracks or damage and no excessive tooth wear or gum shrinkage causing any instability.
Can dentures fit over roots?
Yes your denture can fit over remaining roots. What we normally advise is if a dental crown snaps off or a real tooth breaks near the gum line then get a dentist to flatten them down and fill any holes. We can then simply fit the denture over the top without the trauma and healing delay of a tooth extraction. This also means no gum shrinkage will occur.
I am Dental Phobic/Scared of Impressions
I try to make the treatment as relaxed as possible for nervous patients. Because of the fact that I am not a dentist, lots of patients have sought denture treatment from me over the years as it seems easier for them so I am very used to treating nervous patients. I have several gag free impression techniques for patients that suffer with this common problem. New ultra quick setting impression materials make this situation much easier to manage.
Can Denture World make my denture on the NHS?
Unfortunately we cannot make dentures on the NHS. As Clinical Dental Technicians we cannot have an NHS contract so our specialised denture treatment is only private.
Denture Care and Cleaning
Cleaning your dentures every day is important for good oral hygiene. If you don’t, plaque and bacteria can form on them leading to oral health problems. We recommend you clean your dentures thoroughly twice a day and after eating when necessary. We recommend the following procedures are followed:
- The general rule to cleaning your dentures is:brush, soak, brush.
- Your dentures are breakable, so always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them.
- Brush your dentures thoroughly before soaking, to remove loose food particles. Use cool or warm water. But never use hot water – it can warp your dentures.
- If you insist on soaking your dentures try using a ph neutral denture cleaner, if required. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how long to soak them.
- Apply a denture cleaning paste to a moistened denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush. However, prolonged over use of conventional toothpaste can permanently wear and damage your dentures as it is more abrasive than denture cleaning products. Brush all surfaces thoroughly. Avoid using brushes with stiff bristles, as these bristles can damage the denture material.
- Brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a soft-bristled regular toothbrush to remove plaque and stimulate circulation. Rinse your dentures, then reinsert them.
- Whilst you sleep at night, soak your dentures in a cleanser or water. If you use a denture cleanser, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. However, if you feel more comfortable sleeping with your dentures in, please clean your dentures thoroughly before retiring to bed.
- Please remember that if you use any kind of denture adhesive this needs to be removed daily.
- DO NOT use very hot water or any type of bleaching product to clean your dentures.
- If you notice a build up of stains or scales, then we can clean your dentures professionally for you
Adjusting to New Dentures
If you have are wearing new dentures, you will need time getting used to dentures – this is especially true if you are wearing dentures for the very first time.
Speaking with new dentures – getting used to dentures
Some patients find their speech can alter slightly (especially pronouncing “s” and “f” sounds), whilst getting used to the new shape of their dentures (false teeth); this is only a short term inconvenience.
We recommend reading aloud and to practice counting the numbers 65 up to 70 as these sounds can be the hardest to get used to.
It is also usual for denture wearers to produce more saliva, which can also affect speech, when getting used to a new dentures; this is because your mouth thinks your new dentures are food. This inconvenience is again short term, which will be resolved once your mouth becomes accustomed to the new dentures. We recommend swallowing more regularly and sipping water more often. Or alternatively, try sucking on a boiled sweet or mint.
Eating with new dentures
At first you may not find it as easy to eat with new dentures when compared to your old set. Please do not give up and revert back to your old set of dentures, because your mouth needs time to adjust to your new dentures.
For those patients wearing new dentures, we recommend the following during the initial adjustment period of eating with dentures:
- Start with soft food cut into small pieces and chew slowly, avoiding hard, sticky foods.
- Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the denture from dislodging.
- Try chewing up and down rather than side to side
- When you become used to your new dentures, you can return to your normal healthy diet.
It is likely that your mouth may have changed shape a great deal since you last had new dentures. At Denture World we create your new dentures to fit the shape and contours of your mouth. This can result in pressure points and sore spots developing under and around your new dentures during the first few days of wear. This is perfectly normal but should it continue, we can alleviate any discomfort you experience by adjusting the denture surface. Please do not adjust your new dentures yourself. If the irritation is very painful, stop wearing your new dentures and contact us; we’re happy to help.
If you are wearing partial dentures, please try not to bite your partial dentures into place as this may loosen and break the clasps and damage your mouth. If you need further advice on how to insert your new partial dentures please contact us; we’re happy to help.
I have missing Teeth, I need my first ever denture
If you already have missing teeth an acrylic denture can be made often in a day. If real teeth or crowns have snapped off leaving spikes of roots sticking out beyond gum level I usually get a dentist to flatten them prior to taking the impressions. As long as there are no holes or decay present the dentist will leave the roots in so there is less trauma to surrounding teeth and also no gum shrinkage. This in turn also means leaving a more stable base for the denture as long as there is room with where your teeth occlude. This is a very common situation having what is called an over denture.
I have loose real teeth or crowns and bridges – Planning ahead
Another common scenario. If you have one or more loose real teeth or crowns that are past the point of no return it is easy for us to plan ahead. I can either recommend a nice dentist to remove the teeth and trim roots down or work alongside your regular dentist. I need to see you first to assess the best way to plan your treatment – either to make a denture before the extractions called an immediate that’s ready to put straight in when the teeth are removed, or to do the impressions afterwards and make a denture quickly the same day. There are several reasons why one or the other would be better suited so I need to see you to discuss it first. We can copy how your real teeth looked exactly, or enhance them to look better depending on what your teeth look like. Prior to the extractions I often take a photo, shade match and bite print of your teeth so I have very accurate measurements to aid getting the appearance right to copy the way the missing teeth looked.
Do I need Denture Implants ? / Do I try normal dentures first?
This is a common scenario where I often see patients who feel they are being fast tracked into having implants without the option of having normal dentures made properly first. I can help you make the right decision by thrashing out all your denture options during a consultation and by showing you examples of the different kinds and designs of suitable dentures and their likelihood of success. It is very hard to generalise with this situation but I find that dentures made properly are fine for the vast majority of well over 90% of the patients I see and at a fraction of the cost of denture implants. A lot depends on case specifics as I do refer a few patients each year for implant treatment. If in doubt let me have a look with a free consultation as I will be able to tell in a couple of minutes how suitable normal dentures would be for you as denture Implants are always an option afterwards if you really cannot tolerate normal dentures.
How Fast Can You Make a Denture?
The normal timescale is a week or two for making new dentures but we can make dentures in a day for emergency situations.
Can I have a denture ready to put straight in when my teeth are extracted?
We can make what’s called an immediate denture that is ready to fit straight away when the dentist extracts your problem teeth. However if any real teeth are so loose there is a risk they will come out when we do the denture impressions then the denture will have to be made quickly after the extractions usually within a day.
Will my speech be affected? How long does it take to get used to a denture?
Speech being affected and getting used to dentures depends on several factors.
- The kind of denture you have – thinner Alloy/thicker Acrylic.
- How well made and designed the denture is.
- The shape of your mouth and palate depth.
- Your individual adaptive capability
When you speak your tongue automatically knows the exact position and shape of your mouth to create the gap for the phonetic airflow to control the sound of your S’s for example and every other noise we create to talk.
When we change this shape by placing a denture over the area behind your front teeth this affects everyone with their first denture. For some people they can adapt their speech back to normal in a couple of days where as others can take longer.
What actually happens is that your tongue maps the new shape to talk against like a 3d scanner or a computer programme and the interesting thing is that it all happens subconsciously when you are not actually thinking about it. That is why different people have different adaptive times to get used to talking normally again, however this is completely normal as 99% of people are fine with correctly designed well-made dentures.
Routine Replacement of existing Full Dentures or Partial Dentures
Routine Replacement of a Full Complete Set of Dentures
For the routine replacement of existing full dentures you have been happy with, the normal time frame is about two weeks to make them with usually between three and six appointments. The complexity and amount of time varies depending on how many denture problems with the appearance, fit and function we have to solve. Often an improvised copy denture technique will be used where impressions are taken inside your old dentures so we can copy all the settings that we want to keep such as the appearance and shape. Then nobody will know you have new dentures as you will look and sound the same.
Routine replacement of Partial dentures and Problem Solving
An exact copy is an easy denture for us to make but usually when new replacement partial dentures are needed it is because of changes to existing real teeth causing, unstable dentures or breakages to the old denture. We then often have to redesign your new partial denture to solve any problems and make your new denture as future proof as possible.
What Happens after I get my new dentures? What if they need adjusting?
A Review appointment is made for you so we can check how you are coping with your new dentures. We often need to adjust slight pressure points under the dentures by using pressure indicating moulds to highlight the exact areas to target. We also check the occlusion to make sure everything is ok. This is all routine and included in the initial cost of your treatment however many appointments are needed for up to a 12 month period.
My new/first NHS dentures (and often private dentures) are no good
I help hundreds of denture patients each year with NHS (and often private) dentures they cannot wear. Either they are too thick, painful, over extended making you gag or look completely wrong as the tooth settings are miles out. This is most often due to several factors.
- Very poor substandard NHS dental laboratory work due to low manufacturing costs with the cheapest materials which does not afford enough time.
- Not enough time spent clinically by the Dentist rushing/or inexperience/lack of care
- A breakdown in vital instructions /communication between the Dentist and dental laboratory they send the impressions and fitting stages to.
- Trainee inexperienced work experience Dentists are used to do the NHS denture work
Please do not despair as I can always improve the results dramatically with dentures done properly to suit how you need them.
My old Dentures have become painful when I chew
Sometimes I can simply ease part of the denture to relieve the pain. I need to have a look in your mouth and do a pressure point mould underneath the denture to show me where to adjust it in a couple of minutes.
There can be several reasons for this depending on how old the dentures are. Losing body weight or real teeth can have great effect on the fit and stability of existing dentures.
If the teeth are worn out unevenly making the denture tip when you bite or chew then this is more likely to be a case where your dentures need replacing.
I cannot talk. My speech is affected
This problem usually arises with new dentures as you get used to them especially when we have had to change the tooth settings. Most patients need up to a few days to adjust their speech. However this is all done at a subconscious level without thinking about it. I often explain to patients that when learning to speak with a new denture you cannot actively try to master it.
Your tongue has to learn where the new shape is that’s kind of like a 3d scanner to such an exact and precise position to master certain sounds, the most obvious being your S’s.
The other thing to consider is that different patients have varying levels of adaptive capability which means some people can find it more difficult than others.
If you are still not sounding right after a few days of trying with new dentures I can change the shape and thickness of your dentures where you touch them with your tongue based on the sounds that are causing you problems.
I have never had dentures I’m happy with
This scenario is up there on the more complex side of treatment depending on the reasons you are not happy with them.
I would ask you to bring in all of your old dentures so I can assess them and work out what to do to solve your specific problems.
I cannot chew my food properly with my old dentures
This situation usually means you need new dentures made as you have worn down the biting chewing surfaces of your teeth. This is sometimes caused by people who chew mint sweets all the time as they are very abrasive and wear out dentures much faster, often after giving up smoking people chew mints instead.
My denture makes me gag
If you have a new denture that you cannot tolerate due to it’s size then it quite simply needs redesigning. Every patients tolerances are different and some have a very sensitive gag reflex which is quite normal and fairly common. Dentures are often made fully extended back in the mouth without checking the patients tolerances first. I use what I call palate mapping to see how far the denture can be tolerated before it is made. Dentures can be designed around this common problem.
Do I need to use denture glue adhesive?
The problem here is everyone wants to generalise. I always try to design dentures to be able to be glue free in most cases but it is not always possible. Some patients have to wear denture glue just because of how their mouth is. If you cannot wear your denture without glue then there is a fair chance I could make one for you that will stay in glueless but I need to asses your mouth first.
I’m using too much denture glue adhesive several times a day
If this is the case then your denture is possibly a very poor fit or is tipping when you bite and chew. If your denture rocks as you chew then it is failing in the worst way. The adhesive will be squashed from side to side as you eat and won’t last long. I can usually quite easily solve this problem so call me.
My denture teeth are noisy when I chew / not sliding properly
This a common problem I see every week. It causes partial dentures to press and tip causing pain, loosness with possible damage to real teeth. Full dentures are unstable and often loose because of this. I can often simply adjust your denture to solve the problem. Balanced occlusion (chewing) means no tipping and rocking solving pain issues ans loose dentures. Usually because the denture teeth were not carved to chew properly when made in a dental laboratory and also not checked by the person who fitted them.
My full complete lower denture lifts up all the time or just when I open my mouth
This is one of the most common scenarios I see several times a week with old dentures and often brand new ones. The cause is that your lower denture is in the way of where your lip above your chin pulls back into making it lift up.
The severity varies from only lifting a couple of millimeters to visibly watching a patients lower lip bulge out when they push the denture down, only to instantly spring up when they let go.
Lower complete dentures are not comparable to upper full dentures as they fit in a different way. Lower full dentures are not held down tight and cannot grip lock onto your gums. They sit with gravity alone resting on top of gums nestling between the soft tissues of the tongue, lips and cheeks. When made well they are moulded to be as extended as possible yet out of the way of all the moveable parts of the mouth that incroach into the space where they sit. I use a process often referred to as 3d mouth mapping or border moulding to make full lower dentures feel tighter, although they are not actually “tighter” they are as extended as possible and not in the way of anything.
My tongue lifts my lower denture/ rubs against it making it sore
Just like problem above there is a good chance the denture has been positioned incroaching your tongue space and needs changing.
My denture teeth look like false teeth
There are vast differences in the kinds of denture teeth available from very plasticy lifeless teeth costing pence right up to the most amazingly life like individually characterised teeth that reflect the light the same as real teeth so you really cannot tell the difference.
My denture has wire clasps that look unsightly
We now have tooth coloured or clear flexi clasps.
I cannot remove dark staining between my denture teeth / why?
If you have dry joins between the teeth and pink of your denture then this can be a problem. I can tell by having a look and sometimes professionally clean them for you.
Emergency Denture Repairs
With our on-site denture repair clinic and dental laboratory we can perform an emergency denture repair to fix all broken dentures, chipped teeth and cracked dentures while-you-wait.
Denture repairs when done professionally restore your denture back to it’s original condition before the damage occurred, even if broken into several pieces. Please DO NOT USE DENTURE REPAIR KITS! as without experience, specialist equipment and proper training it just makes a mess. Using a denture repair kit is not a simple way of gluing broken dentures together. It is not glue. We get lots of cases that are a total mess with denture plastic all over the joining edges making it very difficult to sort out.
Can You Fix My Denture, Glue My Denture Together Please?
- Can you fix my chipped denture ? Yes
- Can you strengthen my denture? Sometimes we can by making it thicker.
- Can my cracked denture or broken denture be repaired? Yes while you wait.
- I have a chipped denture tooth/ I have lost a denture tooth, can you put a new tooth on? Yes
- A bit of pink broke off my denture and I have lost the bit. Can you still mend my denture? Yes
- Help, I have used a DIY denture repair kit that didn’t work. Can be a problem, need to see it first.
- Can a new clasp be added to my partial denture? Yes in most cases, while you wait.
- Help my dog has chewed my denture into lots of pieces, can you fix it? In most cases yes if you have all of the bits.
- I have been super gluing my denture together and it’s a mess. Can you repair it? Yes but it does take several hours.
- Can you clean my dentures? Yes while you wait.
Denture Repair from £50 Simple, Fast and Friendly
Emergency denture repairs usually take 1 hour to complete.
Avoid the embarrassment, come direct to us instead of going to dental surgeries that usually have to send your teeth away to be repaired leaving you without them for ages, often days.
With our on-site dental laboratory this is now no longer the case – as we can do your emergency denture repair while-you-wait in our waiting room or even a spare private room if the situation causes embarrassment.
Please do not use super glue to do dental repairs to your dentures as this makes the denture repairs process a lot more difficult, and in some cases, almost impossible for me to complete.
Adding New Denture Teeth / Relining
Hassle-Free Denture Adjustments
Dramatically Improve the Look and Feel of Your Dentures.
I can often adjust your existing dentures without the need for you to have new dentures made.
While-You-Wait Denture Services
- Can you reline my chrome alloy or acrylic denture? Yes while you wait.
- Can you add a new tooth to my denture straight after extractions? Yes after prior consultation and agreement with our dentist all done while you wait.
- Can you adjust my old denture which has become painful? Yes
- Can my cracked denture or broken denture be repaired? Yes while you wait.
- I have a chipped denture tooth/ I have lost a denture tooth, can it be replaced? Yes while you wait.
- Can a new clasp be added to my partial denture? Yes in most cases, while you wait.
In some cases, I will be able to reline your existing dentures to make them fit more comfortably while-you-wait.
Additional Denture Teeth
I often add new teeth to my patients’ existing dentures when real teeth have been extracted by their dentist or our dentist, with prior arrangement. If you book a denture adjustment appointment with me in advance before the extraction date, you won’t need to leave your dentures with the dentist to be sent away. I can add just a single tooth or several teeth to your dentures straight away depending on which tooth it is or often the following day, once your anesthetic has worn off. For big solid molar teeth or if there is an infection we usually have to wait a bit longer until it is ok to add new teeth to your denture.
What are dentures made of?
There are Three Main Kinds of Denture Bases Available
All three can be made badly or wrongly designed so it’s what’s done with them that’s most important!
- Hard Acrylic
- Chrome Cobalt Cast Alloy
- Flexible Thermoplastic
1. Hard Based plastic/acrylic/polymer (the “usually pink” part)
“Acrylic” is the most commonly used general term to describe this type of denture base. It is the hard plastic that’s moulded to shape, fitting against the gums and around the denture teeth. It is also by far the most common and widely used for dentures. There are four basic kinds available. When made it’s hard to tell the difference between them. They all come in differing shades and can be pigment stained and characterised. Made well they can be a complete solution your happy with – made badly they are a total failure.
- Standard Acrylic – Lot’s of makes – Standards vary – From super cheap mainly used for economy and NHS Dentures up to mid range. Can be more prone to breaking
- Pour-able polymer – Tried this – Lot’s of makes – Don’t rate it – not as strong and inferior bond to denture teeth
- Hi Impact Acrylic – Standards vary – We use the best! – “Diamond D” – Much stronger (Photo)
- Injection Moulded Polymer – The Ivobase system from Ivoclar. The ultimate in strength and precision fit. (Video)
2. Chrome Cobalt cast alloy
Chrome cobalt is a lost wax processed light weight alloy casting that’s individually designed and made to fit around your teeth with several design choices possible for each case. The alloy melts well in excess of 2000 degrees kelvin and the skill of the technician doing the casting has a great effect on the overall fit. They are referred to generally as “chrome cobalt dentures” as they are the two main ingredients used in the alloy. When finished they house the pink acrylic gum and the denture teeth where your tooth spaces are. Made well they are a fantastic solution. Made poorly they are a total failure. We see many patients with new chromes that they cannot wear and just don’t fit. Usual reasons are, the alloy castings have warped, impressions often are not accurate or the design is wrong, or a combination.
There are several makes and variations of alloy available to use with differing properties in castabillity, flexibility and strength. Chrome cobalt is generally the strongest and easiest to wear kind of Partial/Full Denture – the thickness of a business card but only when well designed, well made and fitted. We use one of the best, Vitallium 2000+ alloy for all our castings.
3. Flexible Thermoplastic
Flexible Thermoplastic – In our view they are only suited for a small percentage of cases where the flexible nature of the base is an advantage and can be extended to wrap around real teeth to hold a small denture in where the others would fail. This however is not very common.
Depending on which denture base option is the best one for you, finishing new dentures can take anywhere from two appointments on the same day, to over ten appointments over 3 weeks to make, depending on the complexity of your specific case and the kind of denture base you need so generalising is not really possible. As outlined above there are many types of new dentures available. I will show you these, together with various teeth and the associated costs involved with each set of new denture combinations. This way, you will be able to make an informed decision as to which set of dentures you prefer. Together, we can then decide upon the right course of action and denture treatment for you. After having discussed the cause of your denture issues, I will be able to help you make the right decisions to solve them.
Partial Acrylic Dentures
Acrylic Partial dentures
When you have either some or most of your real teeth left a denture that fills the gaps is called a partial denture. Acrylic (hard pink plastic) dentures can be made very quickly and are the cheaper of all the denture base options. They are several millimeters thick and it can take several days to get used to wearing acrylic partials as lisping can be an issue. However many people (a fair percentage) do find them to be a complete solution that they are very happy with when they are well made.
Acrylic Partial Dentures – The main factors behind their success or failure
Your individual adaptive capability
- One of the main reasons that an acrylic partial fails (when well made) is the adaptive capability of the patient. This is basically how bothered you are by the denture being there. Some patients forget about their new acrylic denture after a couple of days and adapt their speech so nobody would know. On the other hand some patients cannot get used to them at all meaning they have a poor subconscious adaptive capability. Usually having a thin chrome alloy denture solves the problem. Chrome dentures are not available on the NHS.
How well made your acrylic partial denture is
- How well made your acrylic partial denture is!!!! We get lots of patients who have new acrylic partials (both NHS and Private) that they cannot wear for several reasons – too thick – too far back in the palate – bite measurements are wrong (cannot chew – noisy-painful) over extended edges causing lifting and pain – loose – poor appearance – wrong design. Also constant breakages due to poor quality materials used.
Acrylic just is not strong enough because of your bite
- If the way your teeth meet when you bite means the acrylic is limited in thickness this often can lead to breaking your partial acrylic denture even when made of the strongest Hi Impact acrylic. Believe it or not the average human biting force is roughly 160 psi. I always equate it to your approximate body weight. This is the equivalent of standing on your denture. I repair several dentures each week and the huge majority are broken by eating bread in all its forms. I have been asking “what were you eating when it broke” for years to thousands of people. Because you know it’s soft you bite with maximum force so as it compresses it spreads the force against the denture and breaks it. We put no conscious effort into biting hard!
- The combination and positions of your remaining teeth. In some cases an acrylic partial denture just is not clinically suitable.
Chrome Cobalt Alloy Dentures
Chrome cobalt partial dentures
Chrome cobalt dentures are thin light weight alloy castings. They fit around your real teeth housing the pink gum part and denture teeth as a combination of materials joined together. They have several big advantages over acrylic partial dentures but again, only when well made, designed and fitted. We do get patients with new private chrome cobalt dentures they cannot wear due to being poorly made, the wrong design or that they just don’t fit.
- Chrome alloy dentures are not available on the NHS due to the higher cost of manufacturing them
- Chrome cobalt dentures have the best strength of all partial dentures yet are the thickness of a business card.
- They help prevent neighboring teeth from moving out of position and drifting
- Chromes help make eating easier and more comfortable
- They are better for your overall oral hygiene
- They are thinner and far less intrusive for patients with sensitive gag reflexes
- They are far easier to get used to and speak with
- They can often be designed to be smaller covering far less surface area and uncover your palate
- Chromes can have superior flexible tooth shade or clear flexi clasps which improves your smile
- They do not taste metallic
- They do not set off the scanner in Airports
- Are not visible as are housed behind your teeth
- They do not go rusty – I have returning patients with chrome dentures I made over 20 years ago.
- But they do understandably cost more and take much longer to make with more appointments to do them properly.
The three main reasons I make my patients chrome cobalt dentures is
- Their acrylic denture kept cracking, breaking or teeth came off
- They could not tolerate the acrylic dentures smooth, thick, plastic feel often with lisping issues
- Their acrylic denture was loose. We can make Chrome Dentures tighter with special flexible clasps
First Impressions of Metal Dentures
Very often patients first reactions are not very positive as all you can see visually is shiny metal. I have to say that how it looks is completely irrelevant as in the mouth nobody can see it. A usual comment is “I’m not having all that metal in my mouth” which can take some persuasion to talk someone round. You cannot see it. If I think a chrome is the best option for you and you are not sure I often state that I will refund you if you cannot wear it. I explain this several times a week in practice.
Partial Flexible Dentures (Valplast)
I have to say I am not a great fan of flexible dentures. On occasion they are the best option to solve a problem by having more flexi grip (where the pink base is extended to wrap around the real teeth to hold them in place) for a few cases I get. The base (the pink part) is made of a thermoplastic (like nylon) which is a completely different material to the denture teeth that are made of hard acrylic/composite which causes a problem as they are not chemically bonded together. The teeth are held in place with holes drilled through them that the flexible pink is moulded through thus creating problems with staining between the two non bonded materials. Also having seen many patients coming in with flexible dentures they have had for some time they seem to all go very kind of furry and rough. I have been to lectures lead by top specialist hospital prosthodontists that refuse to make them stating that they are far less hygenic than all other kinds of dentures. Patients ask me to polish and clean them but I can never achieve the “almost new” look like with chrome or acrylic dentures.
The other thing is that they are the same in “bulk” thickness as well made acrylic dentures without the thin advantages of chrome dentures. So ok, flexible sounds great and is marketed to great effect with the “unbreakable” slogan but I make more patients chrome dentures that had problems with flexible dentures than I have made new Flexible dentures to date.
There are however continual developments in this area trying to improve the bonding to denture teeth and the capability to add new teeth to flexible dentures
Complete Full Dentures
Complete Full Dentures
Complete full dentures have to fill in all the space that has gone where your gums and teeth once were. The pink bases are usually made of hard based acrylic/polymer which is molded around and chemically joined to the teeth. They can also be made combined with chrome cobalt which is usually in the upper full denture for added strength and a much thinner palate. Depending on varying clinical mouth shapes the variations in the shape, size and bulk of the pink parts of the dentures and teeth are limitless. They should not be made with flexible bases but often can have silicone soft linings under the hard bases to make them more comfortable for some patients with sensitive gums.
For full denture Conssiderations, the scenarios and problems are completely different to partials
- Is it a straight forward replacement of worn dentures you have been happy with?
- Do we use the copy denture technique to copy the appearance of your existing complete dentures by doing the mould in your denture?
- Do you have problems to solve with fit and function, pain, ability to speak properly, to chew your food or loose dentures?
- Does the appearance and position of the denture teeth need changing- more lip support, tooth shape, tooth shade and position?
- Do you have a photo of how your real teeth used to look so we can copy how you used to look with photo mapping?
- Do you have a new private or NHS denture that is unsatisfactory with the fit, function or appearance?
- Can we make thinner and stronger complete upper alloy dentures? Yes.
- Can we make full upper and lower dentures with soft silicone linings? Yes – suitable for sensitive or bony ridges.
I know thousands of patients that I have helped to wear complete full dentures with no problems at all, but there are a small minority that because of either their personal adaptive tolerances or unsuitable mouth and gum shapes can have more difficulty. Again it is far too complicated to generalise, but I usually change some of the tooth positions and shape settings on a majority of the complete new sets of dentures I make for my patients to improve them compared to their current dentures.
Complete full dentures when made properly
- Restore your facial vertical dimensions avoiding the collapsed look
- Allow patients to speak properly
- Provide facial lip support restoring your appearance
- Allow patients to chew
- Restore your self confidence and self esteem
Denture Design Considerations
Common Denture Design Considerations
We need to plan ahead
With partial dentures, depending on how many, and which arrangement of teeth you have missing, the choice combinations get quite complicated with lots of options in denture base choice, design and kind of clasps. For all partial dentures we need a prescription from a dentist prior to making them to ensure we know all about the health of your remaining teeth.
- Do any real teeth need treatment first? (flattening spiky roots/smoothing off sharp edges/tooth extractions).
- Do we plan what’s called an “immediate denture” which is when the denture is made ready before your loose teeth are extracted and fitted in your mouth filling the gaps straight away?
- Do you need to see the hygienist to remove scale build up first?
- Do you want to get your remaining teeth bleached first so the denture teeth can be shade matched afterwards for a whiter smile?
- Will an acrylic base make you lisp or have a gag reflex or is a thin chrome alloy denture more suitable?
- How far should the denture cover your palate? What can you tolerate? I use a system i call palate mapping to assess it before your denture is made.
- Is hard acrylic strong enough or do you need a stronger thin alloy base because of your jaw relationship and bite?
- Will it stay in or do you need clasps?
- Which kind of clasps – wire or tooth coloured/clear flexi clasps?
- Which real remaining teeth are healthy enough or have adequate curves and angles to take clasps?
- Can we make your partial without clasps to lock in place using the natural angles of your real teeth.
Future Proofing Your Partial Denture
There is a huge amount of thought that has to go into the design of a partial denture to accommodate making them as future proof as possible as well as maintaining the health of your remaing teeth. The other design consideration is to accommodate predictable future tooth loss in the design allowing for the successfull addition of new denture teeth resulting in an adapted but still fully functional denture.
Kinds of Denture Clasps
Clasps or No Clasps
We try not to make acrylic partial dentures with wire clasps which can wear into real teeth and are visible. In some cases we can get partial acrylic dentures to “click in “ using the natural angles and flexibility of the acrylic around the curvature of your remaining real teeth to hold and lock them in place which I call “flex lock”. “Cam lock” is another option using a carved rotational path of insertion for a partial denture to lock into place.
Chrome alloy dentures have the option of flexible clear or tooth shade matched clasps often offering a far better solution.
- Allow patients to speak properly
- Provide facial lip support restoring your appearance
- Allow patients to chew
- Restore your self confidence and self esteem
Changing Denture tooth Settings
If changes are needed to the appearance of your teeth then enhancements can easily be incorporated to change their shade or size and position. We have a huge range of gender specific denture teeth to choose from for each patient. This does however usually increase the amount of time and appointments needed to achieve optimum results. We often get you to find an old photo showing how your teeth used to look (if you liked them) which can be used to help select the correct shape and size of denture teeth and how to position them for your individual characterised appearance. As each case is so different it is impossible to generalise on the changes that are needed as usually there is a combination of varying problems between the aesthetics and the fit/function. That’s why consultations are free so we can plan your treatment and assess what is possible for each individual patient to find out what is required.
Restore Your Natural Lip Support
I see many patients who have denture teeth that just look false because they are set in the wrong position relative to their lips with often the wrong size and shape of teeth. I can easily work out how to change these settings to improve your appearance. Providing proper support for your top lip with cosmetically pleasing denture teeth that are angled correctly can transform your look for both smiling and talking.
I'm not sure about Dental Implants? Will a Denture work for me?
Call Me For a Denture Only Assessment if:
- If you are worried about the pain and high cost of Dental Implants
- If you are concerned that Dental Implants seem like your only option
- If you feel the various Denture Options have been missed out and not properly explained to you
Can a Denture Work Without Dental Implants?
The simplest answer is yes they can, but it depends on several important factors.
- Firstly how well designed and made the denture is.
- For partial dentures which kind is made, acrylic or chrome cobalt alloy?
- Most importantly your remaining tooth positions, jaw-bite relationship and angles, as unique to each mouth this dictates what is achievable.