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


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.







Why wear a denture?

The main advantages of a denture are:

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

The main dis-advantages of a denture are:

  • 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 or 4 mini 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.

A popular alternative to dentures is dental implants. Click here to go to our Dental Implants page.