It’s hard to look your best or feel your most confident when afflicted by dental problems, which is why getting dentures can be one of the most life-changing decisions a person will make.
For denture maker Ryan Carlton, helping people with that kind of transformation was type of rewarding work he knew from a young age he wanted to be a part of.
Ryan grew up in Fairlie, South Canterbury but lived in Dunedin during his high school years, he left to start his training, qualifying as a clinician and going on to develop a wide-ranging skillset at one of New Zealand’s largest dental laboratories.
Now the owner of the busy Dentures Plus clinic in St Albans, he works with a talented team of clinicians and technicians in what is arguably the best-equipped denture practice in the city.
A welding machine specifically designed for denture work is the only one of its kind in Christchurch and allows Dentures Plus to make strong repairs to partial dentures faster and easier than anywhere else. Acrylic injection machines, meanwhile, produces the most comfortable and durable dentures the industry knows how.
Ryan’s passion for the work saw him fly to Thailand earlier this year to research 3D printers for dentures – a technology he says is still some way off. He followed this with a trip to the International Dental Show in Germany, where the latest techniques and equipment are revealed.
It is an increasingly high-tech world linked to what are some of a person’s most intimate concerns, and a field Ryan bridges with ease thanks to an inherently laidback and friendly demeanour.
A bloke at heart, he says it was being able to work with his hands that partly attracted him to denture making; racing motorbikes remains his other passion.
Recently, Ryan made Dentures Plus a family business when he and dental technician Marion married. The couple now have two young girls.
“People can lose their teeth for all sorts of reasons. It might be wear and tear with age, genetic, and of course energy drinks are a big problem with younger people. What matters is that there’s an alternative when they need it,” he says.
To that end, Dentures Plus offers a full range of denture-related services.
These include free initial consultations, the creation of bespoke, ultra-realistic dentures indistinguishable from the real thing, “immediate dentures” for fitting the same day as extractions, and re-lines for long-term comfort and effectiveness.
The clinic also produces high-grade mouthguards for winter sports and supplies a range of after-care products, including cleaning solutions, denture baths, brushes and gels for pain relief. These can be bought either over the counter at the Innes Rd clinic or via the Dentures Plus website.
Ryan says it’s always a priority that patients are well-involved in the process of getting dentures and never feel “out of the loop”.
People who already have dentures are welcome to visit for checkups – something Ryan says should be performed every two to three years.
“That way we can pick up any problems and fix them before they become serious,” he says.