Dentures demystified: Everything you need to know about false teeth

There’s been plenty of stigma around dentures, but big leaps in technology mean uncomfortable, fake-looking false teeth are now a thing of the past.

Dentures have been a part of dental care for hundreds of years, but many people still admit to being embarrassed about wearing them.

Much of the distrust around dentures originated during World War II, when according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics*, thousands of Australian soldiers had their teeth forcibly removed by the government and replaced with dentures to avoid dental issues while fighting overseas.

The trend to pull rather than fix teeth continued through to the 1960s, which means many Baby Boomers had their teeth removed early in life by free-wheeling dentists.

Now, thankfully, things have changed and dentures are recommended to patients only when necessary.

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How dentures have changed

Artificial teeth that were once ill-fitting and rough are now more gentle on the gums and made to fit your mouth precisely.

Materials have improved too, with plastic and porcelain upgraded to hard resin or acrylic that is more durable and realistic looking.

You can even select the shade of white that best suits your complexion, giving you a completely natural-looking smile.

The fitting process

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Being fitted with dentures is also a much easier process than it was in the past.

Your dentist will talk through the steps with you and make sure you feel comfortable with the procedure. Having your remaining teeth removed has been compared to losing a limb and can be an emotional experience for some people, so your dentist will want to ensure you feel at ease from beginning to end.

The first step is tooth removal, which is often performed under a local anaesthetic.

Next, your dentist will create a mould of your mouth called an impression, which allows your dentures to be tailored for you.

Bite moulds will then be made with wax blocks to ensure your biting action is comfortable and that your dentures won’t rub or hurt your mouth when eating.

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You’ll then be given a wax model of your new dentures to show you how the result will look and feel.

Many people choose to be fitted immediately with their new dentures, and if so, you’ll be provided instructions on how to care for them.

The entire process will likely take between three and six weeks and could require four to five appointments with your dentist, including follow-up visits.

Caring for your dentures

Once you’ve received your dentures, it’s important to know how to care for them properly. This will not only help your dentures last longer, but ensure your mouth and gums stay healthy.

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When dentures are new, it’s not uncommon to worry about them falling out of your mouth while talking or becoming dislodged while chewing.

This is a perfectly reasonable fear, but one that has largely been eliminated thanks to the comprehensive range of adhesives on offer.

Modern adhesives, such as those made by Polident, are products that are proven to work.

The adhesive creates a seal around the dentures to help keep food out and your dentures in place for up to an entire day.

It’s durable enough to withstand the extra stress from chewing tough and crunchy foods, while helping to prevent food particles from becoming trapped between the denture and your gums.

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Cleaning your dentures with the right products is a vital part of denture care, too.

Plaque and stains can still develop on dentures, which are 10 times softer than natural teeth.

You should avoid ordinary toothpaste when cleaning dentures as the paste is often too abrasive and can damage the mould that attaches to your gums as well as the teeth themselves. Instead, wash them daily with a soft denture brush and a cleaning product such as those from Polident’s Denture Cleanser range.

Caring for your dentures properly and using the right products to care for them help ensure their longevity and increase your confidence with the knowledge that your dentures are secure in your mouth, fresh and clean.

Do you have dentures? How do you feel about them?

*A Short Historical Record of the Australian Army Dental Services in World War II – 1939 – 1946 (National Archives of Australia, Series Number AWM54)

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