When Losing a Tooth Isn’t the End of the World
You’re out walking and you happen to bump into a group of your friends. You try not to open your mouth too wide as you smile and say hello. Too late! One of them’s noticed the gap in your teeth and cracks a joke about one too many sweets. Your worst nightmare has been realised – you’ve lost a tooth and everyone’s noticed. So what do you do? Where do you turn for help?
It’s the biggest confidence dampener when you’re too embarrassed to open your mouth and whatever the reason for your tooth loss – decay, diseases like cancer or maybe due to an accident – you naturally want your old look back. If you’re a bit nervous around dentists and want a personal touch to your dental care, denturists can offer the compassionate and understanding support you need at this stressful time. Also, many denturists offer affordable treatment if you’re on a tight budget. Because work is done on-site, denturists can also cut down the time needed to make and fit your final denture compared to a regular dentist.
So what’s involved?
You’ll be invited to an initial consultation where you’ll be asked about your medical and dental history. A good denturist will then check that the rest of your teeth and gums are healthy, usually by referring you to a dentist specialised in this area; do the necessary work to make a model of your jaws, including an x-ray; and tell you what the next step is. If you’ve got a cracked tooth then you might just need a crown fitted. If you have lost a single tooth and still have it, it may be possible to re-implant it, or if not then a bridge can be fitted using an artificial tooth. Alternatively, a partial denture may be fitted. A false tooth isn’t something to dread any more – It looks natural and no one has to know you have one. If you have lost several or all of your teeth you will need a partial denture or a single denture containing a full set of teeth. The denturist will design your denture, then custom make it, fit it into your mouth so that it’s comfortable and then check at a later appointment that it isn’t rubbing against your gums or causing any discomfort.
How to look after your denture
Plaque will build up on your denture or crown, just as it does on natural teeth, so you need to brush them each night to remove it and also to prevent any staining. You should remove the denture from your mouth first and soak it overnight in a special solution or just normal water. It’s important they don’t dry out. Also, use warm or cold water. If the water is too hot it will change the shape of the denture and they will no longer fit in your mouth comfortably. That’s it! Then treasure your dentures for a confident, lasting smile.
What is a denturist?
A denturist is a qualified practitioner who makes and installs custom-made, well-fitting dentures to replace lost teeth. The result is a reassuring, comfortable and natural look. They will offer you an initial consultation, often free of charge, recording your medical history. This is important for ensuring you don’t have any underlying problems that might affect your ability to have dentures. It involves examining your mouth, teeth and facial structure. Denturists often work alongside a dentist who first checks that any underlying diseases or structural problems of the mouth are treated before installation of the denture.
What Happens Next?
The denturist will take an x-ray and impressions of your jaw in order to construct your new denture– or for already existing dentures, reline or repair them. The procedure takes about 3-6 weeks to make a fully removable denture (or if you’re having implants for a more secure fit – up to a year). First, any remaining teeth you have will be extracted and your gums will be given time to heal. Then, an impression of your jaws will be made and a centric tray recording your bite will take place to determine the length of your new teeth – you get to choose their shade and size. In the laboratory, custom impressions trays are built. Your denturist will give you another appointment to take another impression of your jaws and your bite will be recorded and marked on top of the moulds made in the laboratory. These new readings will be used to make a wax denture, ready to be placed in your mouth and adjusted if necessary. In the laboratory, the wax denture will then be invested in stone and acrylic injected where the wax is melted away and finishing touches and polishing produces your new set of teeth.
How do I care for my dentures?
Brush your dentures every night to remove plaque and trapped food and to stop them from staining. Leave them overnight in either a soaking solution or in water to prevent them from drying out. Don’t use hot water as this can alter their shape. In the morning brush your gums to keep them healthy, insert your dentures and you’re ready to start your day!