Dentures can be used to replace one or more teeth, up to a complete set if all teeth in one jaw are missing. Dentures should be removed every night for cleaning to ensure the palate and gums are able to ‘breathe’ thus reducing the risk of fungal infections and even tooth decay.
There are essentially two types of dentures, full or partial. Full dentures are more commonly constructed entirely of acrylic, whereas partial dentures are constructed of acrylic bonded to a chrome framework. There is however an element of cross-over depending on the needs of the patient, along with more modern but less common materials such as Valplast.
At Holly Dental Practice, we are fortunate to have a very close working relationship with our local denture clinician Gordon Brook, and as a result we are kept up to date with all the newest materials and techniques, as well as having someone on hand to add his experience and knowledge to even the most difficult of cases. As a denture clinician, rather than technician, Gordon has further qualifications that enable him to complete each stage of the fabrication of dentures, or to work alongside our dentists in more aesthetically demanding cases.
How is it done?
Dentures are usually constructed over a number of visits, during a period of approximately 4-5 weeks. In between visits, the specialist laboratory carefully fabricates each stage to ensure the final result looks and feels great.
At the first appointment, the patient’s previous denture history is evaluated, and patients are encouraged to bring with them their best fitting or looking denture (where applicable). A quick set of impressions are then taken and sent to the laboratory for the construction of a special tray and wax bite block.
A special tray is a custom made impression tray that is designed specifically for that patient, allowing the most accurate of impressions to be taken, leading to a denture that fits perfectly. The special tray and wax bite block take approximately 1 week to make, so the second appointment is usually 1 week after the first.
During the second appointment an accurate impression is taken within the special tray, then the bite block is tried in and adjusted to show the technician how the opposing teeth bite into the proposed denture, as well as showing them where the midline and tooth lengths need to be. The patient is then able to choose a shade for the teeth at this point.
If the final denture is to have chrome framework, an extra stage is then added at this point, to allow our specialised laboratory in Switzerland to fabricate the metal and return it to us for a try in.
The local technicians are then able to add pink wax and the selected teeth to the denture, allowing the patient to check the fit and look of the final work before it is completed. At this point anything can be changed or adjusted to ensure the patient is 100% happy before completion.
The following week the denture will then be ready to fit, and a list of care instructions will be given to each patient to ensure they get the most out of their new teeth.
Example from our Preston surgery
This new patient to us hated her teeth – She had uneven teeth and failing crowns in her upper arch and a very poor fitting denture in her lower arch. She wanted a new smile in time for her son’s wedding day.
One of her upper central teeth was un-saveable; this missing tooth was replaced with a fixed bridge. Can you guess which tooth is missing? Crowns were placed on the remaining anterior/premolar teeth to achieve an even, natural result.
Her lower partial acrylic denture was then replaced with better fitting – and looking - chrome denture. What a difference!