Dentures are one of the most popular ways to replace a number of damaged or missing teeth. Dentures can be used to replace a small number of teeth (partial dentures) or a full set of teeth (complete dentures). Most people automatically link dentures to older people who have lost all of their original teeth; however, dentures can be used on much younger patients and recent developments in technology mean they are now much more natural looking, light and comfortable. Nowadays most dentures are made of acrylic-based materials.

Is it necessary to replace missing teeth?

Aside from the obvious effects a missing tooth can have on the appearance of a person�s smile, gaps between the teeth may also contribute to dental health problems. Most commonly, these issues relate to a person�s bite, which refers to the way their upper and lower sets of teeth and the jaw joint fit together when the jaw is closed. Common problems with the bite include an over, under or cross bite; these problems can affect the way a person speaks and eats. The teeth are also an important source of support for the cheeks; gaps in the teeth can cause the cheeks to lose structure.

Do dentures make it difficult to eat?

At first the dentures may take a little getting used to and it is a good idea to try and avoid very hard and chewy foods to begin with; however, in the long-term you should not have to change your diet.

Do dentures look obvious?

New technology means that dentures look very natural and like a real set of teeth; they can be matched to the shape and shade of existing teeth so they blend in.

How long do dentures last?

Dentures are not a lifelong treatment as the mouth changes shape and therefore the dentures need to be replaced periodically to ensure they fit properly; however, if they are looked after well they should last for several years.

Is it difficult to keep dentures clean?

Keeping dentures clean is a very easy process; most dentists recommend that patients take their dentures out at night, rinse and brush them and then soak them in cold water for the duration of the night. During this time, the saliva naturally produced in the mouth will come into contact with the gums, which will help to keep them healthy. Some people add special tablets to the water to clean their dentures more thoroughly. Patients should always brush their dentures before they put them back in their mouth.

How do dentures stay in place?

Dentures are made according to the exact measurements and shape of the patient�s mouth so that they mirror the original teeth. Dentures are held in place by natural suction between the new teeth and the gum; in some cases, an additional adhesive may be used or the dentures may be fitted onto a dental implant. Dental implants make the dentures stronger and more resistant to damage.

What are the alternatives?

The most common alternatives to dentures are dental bridges and dental implants; dental implants are becoming increasingly popular because they are more comfortable and provide a lifelong solution to missing and damaged teeth.

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