Dentures, Falsers, Wallies! A thousand names for the massive plastic-looking things that your granny used to put in a glass next to her bed. ‘No more!’ we hear you cry!

Well, the world of dentistry will need dentures for a very long time to come, but thankfully we’ve come a long way, and can make them much better, long-lasting and realistic than the bulky set of falsers seen in many grandparents houses across the country. The basic function of all dentures is to provide support to the dental tissues, restore the functional ability to eat, restore the dental arch (smile) and give confidence back to the wearer. All dentures do this, but to varying degrees of success. Below is a quick run down of denture options.

NHS/ Standard Acrylic Dentures

An oldie but a goodie. These are made with thick acrylic, which can be thinned to make them more comfortable. They are made with plastic teeth and are usually pink. They are offered on the NHS as either partial or full dentures. Metal clasps can be placed on them to help anchor or secure them round adjacent teeth. 

If you lose a front tooth and need a quick solution, dentures offer an affordable and low risk option to help. They are also great as intermediates, meaning they can be used when waiting for other treatment to be completed. Even though many people do use them long term, we would advise that other options may serve slightly better. 

High Impact High Quality Acrylic 

These dentures a very similar to the standard acrylic dentures, however they differ in 2 main ways.

  1. They are made with high impact Acrylic, so they can be significantly thinner, which leads to more comfortable and natural looking teeth.
  2. The appearance of them is remarkably similar to gums. The acrylic can be adapted and mould to look just like your natural gum, this is essential if we are trying to recreate a smile in an area of significant bone loss

In addition to being used to construct the entire denture, high impact acrylic can be used alongside other materials to achieve the desired appearance of the wearer. They can also be used alongside implants. 

Flexible Dentures

Flexible dentures are made from a different type of acrylic that allows them to do just that -flex. Usually reserved for partial denture wears who have lost a few teeth on both left and right and side, these dentures are small, light weight and extremely flexible. This flexibility allows them to be snug and tight around the gums and teeth. 

The acrylic is pink, due to the type of material the appearance is not as impressive as a high impact acrylic, however they look better than standard dentures. They can dipped in boiling water for a minute, which loosens them up prior to going in the mouth. Like standard dentures, acrylic teeth can only be used with this type of denture, and they are not routinely used with implants. 

Metal Co/Cr Dentures

Co/Cr stands for cobalt /chrome, which are the main materials used for metal dentures. Co/Cr can be very difficult to make as they impression technique needs to be very, very precise – once cast there is no room for error. With this precision comes great comfort and security. A well-designed co/cr denture will literally click into place. They are very comfortable and lightweight. Many patients, who have smaller Co/Cr, explain that it doesn’t feel like they are wearing any dentures at all. 

As they are metal, they are made from a metal (silver) frame. They are partially covered in high quality acrylic (pink plastic material) to recreate the appearance of gums. The teeth are then mounted on metal pegs for stability, and the acrylic is worked around them to give a natural looking appearance. Different type of teeth can be opted for, including porcelain teeth to give a completely naturally look. 

Co/Cr aren’t always advised. In patients with poor gum health, wobbly teeth or recent extractions, we would advise avoiding this type of denture. The denture use small, discrete claps, which anchor on other teeth. This is known a tooth bourne making the dentures very comfortable, however the anchored teeth need to be in good condition. In general, these are not used with implants. 

PEEK Dentures 

The new kid on the block and set to change the denture world! We are serious. This material is a medical grade polymer (super fancy plastic). This leads to a lot of benefits. It has a high strength to weight ratio, meaning that it is ultra light weight. It is gram for gram stronger than metal dentures. The material is digitally printed and manufactured, making it even more precise than metal dentures. Instead of impressions, we use a digital intra oral scanner, which improves accuracy and fit. 

Peek is also flexible, an important feature that always it to twist and bend slightly to accommodate the wearer’s way of life. It normally comes in a beige material and high impact acrylic is used for the areas to recreate gums. Porcelain teeth can be placed on a PEEK denture for improved aesthetics. Like a metal denture, it can also have discrete claps which help anchor it further. 

Patients who have used a PEEK denture so far have made massive claims that they are the most comfortable dentures they have ever worn! While we cannot commit to that claim, we know that they do feel wonderful, look great and have really helped a lot of people. They can also be used with implants as an over denture.