Overview

If you have a problem or question regarding dentures, call your dental practice for advice. Dental practices have to comply with regulations on social distancing so please do not attend without having made an appointment first.

When you contact your practice or Health Board for a dental appointment, you MUST tell them if you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) OR you are currently self-isolating OR you have possible symptoms.

Dentures are removable false teeth made of acrylic (plastic), nylon or metal. They fit snugly over the gums to replace missing teeth.

Dentures can help to prevent problems with eating and speech and improve the appearance of your smile.

Depending on how many teeth are missing, you may need:

  • complete dentures (a full set) – which replace all your upper or lower teeth, or
  • partial dentures – which replace just one tooth or a few missing teeth

This page provides information for anyone who's considering dentures and advice for those who already wear them.

How dentures are fitted

Complete dentures

If you have dentures fitted immediately after the removal of several teeth, the gums and bone will alter in shape fairly quickly and the dentures will probably need relining or remaking after a few months.

Sometimes your gums may need to be left to heal and alter in shape for several months before dentures can be fitted.

A trial denture will be created from the impressions taken of your mouth.

The dentist or clinical dental technician will try this in your mouth to assess the fit and for you to assess the appearance.

The shape and colour may be adjusted before the final denture is produced.

Partial dentures

A partial denture is designed to fill in the gaps left by one or more missing teeth. It's a plastic, nylon or metal plate with a number of false teeth attached to it.

It may clip onto some of your natural teeth via metal clasps, which hold it securely in place in your mouth.

The Oral Health Foundation website has more information and advice about bridges and partial dentures, including which type of denture (metal or plastic) is best for you.

A fixed bridge is an alternative to a partial denture and may be suitable for some people.

Looking after your dentures

Dentures may feel strange to begin with, but you'll soon get used to wearing them.

Your dentist or clinical dental technician will advise you to remove your dentures before you go to sleep. This allows your gums to rest and can help to prevent infections in the mouth. 

When you remove your dentures, keep them moist – for example, in water or a polythene bag with some dampened cotton wool in it, or in a suitable overnight denture-cleaning solution. This will stop the denture material from drying out and changing shape.

Dental hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean is just as important when you wear dentures.

You should brush your remaining teeth, gums and tongue every morning and evening with fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems.

Cleaning dentures

Clean your dentures as often as you would normal teeth (at least twice a day – every morning and night). You should:

  • brush your dentures with toothpaste or soap and water before soaking them to remove food particles
  • soak them in a solution of denture-cleaning tablets to remove stains and bacteria (follow the manufacturer's instructions)
  • brush them again, as you would your normal teeth (but don't scrub them too hard)

Unclean dentures can cause problems such as bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay and oral thrush.

Dentures may break if you drop them, so you should clean them over a bowl or sink filled with water, or something soft such as a folded towel.

The British Dental Health Foundation website has more information on denture cleaning.

Eating with dentures

When you first start wearing dentures, eat soft foods cut into small pieces and chew slowly, using both sides of your mouth.

Avoid chewing gum and any food that's sticky, hard or has sharp edges.

You can gradually start to eat other types of food until you're back to your old diet.

Denture adhesive

If your dentures fit well, you shouldn't need to use denture fixative (adhesive). However, if your jawbone has shrunk significantly, adhesive may be the only way to secure your dentures. Your dentist or clinical dental technician will advise you if this is the case.

If using adhesive, follow the manufacturer's instructions and avoid using too much. Adhesive can be removed from the denture by brushing with soap and water. You may need some damp kitchen roll or a clean damp flannel to remove remnants of adhesive left in the mouth.

When your dentures are uncomfortable

If you have a mouth ulcer that lasts longer than 3 weeks you should call your dental practice or local urgent dental care provider.

If your dentures are uncomfortable:

  • use a denture adhesive or fixative to stop dentures rubbing
  • remove your dentures whenever possible if they are uncomfortable
  • call your dental practice. They will be able to assess your dentures and adjust them if needed

If you do not have a regular dentist, call the appropriate dental helpline number for your Health Board area.

Your denture may need to be repaired or replaced. Call your dental practice for advice. They will carry out remote consultation over the phone/video before seeing you in person in the practice if treatment is required.

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, there may be a longer than usual wait for some routine dental treatments including new dentures. New dentures and repairs of broken dentures will be offered first to patients who are most in need.

 

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Selected links

NHS 111 Wales links

Find a dentist

External links

British Dental Health Foundation

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The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website nhs.uk
Last Updated: 10/08/2020 07:28:03