Dentistry has advanced dramatically from the days where dentures looked nothing like the natural teeth that they replaced. Today, dentures come with an appearance that mimics the teeth and gums extremely well.
Ever wondered what are dentures made of or the materials that make up your prosthesis? Porcelain, acrylic resin and metal are the common materials used for fabricating a denture.
Every denture has two main parts, the denture base, and the artificial teeth. Additionally, partial dentures have metal clasps or added framework for support.
The denture base forms the bulk of a complete denture. In the upper arch, it covers your gums and palate. In the lower arch, it encompasses the gums on the facial and lingual sides.
For this reason, it is pink to mimic the appearance of natural gums. Therefore the base is most commonly made of acrylic, which is available in the desired color.
The drawback of acrylic denture bases is that they are brittle and stand a chance of breakage if they fall. A flexible polymer is also a suitable base material. It resembles the gums and fits snuggly over them.
Less commonly, metal bases adorn the denture. But these are aesthetically weaker. Dentures that don’t need front facing framework can be made of metal. Metal bases are stronger and have fewer chances of breakage.
The artificial teeth are crucial to the denture. The primary reason that we get a denture is to replace missing teeth. Therefore the material of the teeth is important from both functional and cosmetic aspects.
You want the artificial teeth to look as real as possible, and also serve the purpose of chewing.
There are multiple options available as materials for artificial teeth. Porcelain and resin are materials commonly used for denture teeth. In recent developments, porcelain makes way for resin most times because of its tendency for breakage.
However, some advantages still make it a preferred material. It has a similar appearance as natural teeth. The translucency makes it look a lot like your natural teeth, and it comes in different shades.
This is particularly important if you are getting a partial denture, and the remaining natural teeth should not stand out with the porcelain teeth.
The teeth are fit into the denture base by a hardening process, making them hard and resilient.
The drawback of porcelain teeth in partial dentures is that when it comes in contact with natural teeth, it is known to wear off or abrade the surface of your tooth.
Resin teeth are preferable in most complete and partial dentures because of their resistance to breakage and good cosmetic compliance. But these teeth wear off faster than porcelain teeth and exhibit color instability. (1)
Additional Materials for Partial Dentures
Partial dentures occupy less area than complete dentures. The denture base is less, which means they get less bulk from the framework. To increase the retention and stability of partial dentures, added cobalt- chromium framework is used.
Instead of this framework, clasps made of stainless steel wires are added to the acrylic denture base. These clasps fit onto the natural teeth and help you in wearing and removing the denture, in addition to keeping the denture retentive.
Caring for your Denture
Regardless of what your denture is made of, caring for it is of utmost importance. Remember that your artificial teeth need just as much hygiene as your natural teeth. Any denture will not last long if you don’t clean it thoroughly and store it in the right conditions.
In the beginning, you will feel uncomfortable with the denture. Talking and eating with the denture requires some getting used to. Don’t get anxious if the denture falls out when you are speaking. Eventually, your muscles will adapt to it.
You don’t have to brush the artificial teeth with toothpaste but clean them gently using a mild soap and brush. Allowing food particles and stains to remain on the denture will make the teeth look unsightly.
After you remove the denture at night, store it in a container having clean water. Do not keep it open on tabletops or shelves. If the denture falls, it is prone to break.
The denture is a ‘replacement’ for your natural teeth. It is not the same thing as your natural teeth. Don’t expect the same biting efficacy from artificial teeth. Things you should avoid with dentures are sticky and hard ingredients. (2)
If you notice any sharp edges or broken clasps in your denture, discontinue use till you can get it fixed by your dentist. Wearing a denture with sharp edges can give you an ulcer or a mouth injury. If you develop white patches, visit your dentist for a potential fungal infection. (3)
All prosthesis eventually wear out. The denture teeth will become flat, or the fitting will change because of bone resorption in your jaw.
This indicates that it is time to replace your denture. Sometimes, relining and rebasing is used to make changes in your existing denture. This will increase its life for some more time. However, eventually, you have to change the denture entirely.
Dentures are fantastic replacement options for people who have lost most or all of their teeth. With dentures, you can regain the ability to talk, eat, and smile confidently. (4)
Knowing the materials that go into making your denture is an excellent way to prepare yourself about what to expect from a prosthesis and how to care for it.