Dentures are used to replace missing teeth. They are made of acrylic, cobalt chrome, or a flexible material - ‘Vallplast’.
All dentures can affect the normal cleansing of the mouth by the saliva and also encourage more plaque to collect around the gums, so a very good level of oral hygiene is necessary, and they are normally removed at night.
Acrylic dentures sit on the gum, but are carefully designed and may have special features incorporated where possible, to enable them to stay in and not move, and not damage your remaining teeth. Where you have no teeth present in one or both jaws, the dentures may lack retention, especially if the bone has reabsorbed (collapsed) due to the teeth being missing.
Cobalt chrome dentures are usually more retentive as they have clasp arms to hold them in, but they are not possible for everyone, as they are supported by your remaining teeth. Hence, your dentist will assess the teeth to see if you have sufficient number of remaining teeth in suitable condition to support a cobalt chrome denture. However cobalt chrome dentures may have visible clasp arms that show when you smile. Your dentist will assess your smile and may advise tooth coloured clasps.
Vallplast dentures can have the advantage of being more retentive as they are flexible and can engage areas of the mouth for additional retention, or have gum coloured clasp arms extending around some support teeth.
Your dentist will offer you different options for your dentures. High impact acrylic is available and is stronger than the normal acrylic. There are also different teeth that can be used; some are more natural looking than others.
Upper full acrylic dentures normally have to cover the whole of the hard palate to provide the denture with adequate stability and retention. The amount of stability and retention of complete dentures will vary from one individual to another due to differences in the size of jaw bone remaining following loss of the teeth.
Some patients can not tolerate having the palet covered with a denture. Other patients want dentures that will hold on very securely and not move around during speaking and/or eating. This may be achieved with dentures using precision attachments but some healthy teeth or healthy roots need to be available. Where they are not, it can be achieved by providing implants and attaching the denture to the implants with a bar or stud type attachments. This can be done with a minimum of 2 implants in the lower jaw and 4 implants in the upper jaw.