No matter how realistic they appear, dentures are never as good as well-maintained natural teeth, so anything that improves fit and function is a big deal.
Most first-time denture wearers opt for traditional fitting dentures, although it is telling that longtime users keen for a better experience usually go for implants.
Using small clips embedded in the jaw, implant-retained dentures provide a stronger bite and put an end to worries that a denture could come loose mid-laugh or while eating.
Dentures Plus owner Ryan Carlton says implants cost more than traditional dentures but few people who make the switch ever regret it.
“You might have only half your bite force with a full lower denture. That can be greatly increased with implants, which makes eating much more pleasant and increases the range of foods you can eat."
“Getting the implants is a simple procedure but it can make the denture much more stable.”
Ryan says people with dentures are often limited to foods they can eat successfully, which can present problems when going to a restaurant or a friend’s house for dinner. For some people, the pain and embarrassment of poorly fitting dentures is enough to stop them going out at all.
With implants, the denture can still be removed for cleaning or any other time the wearer wants, but when attached will stay securely in place.
The clips that hold the denture are implanted by an oral surgeon or dentist and usually take a couple of months to bed in.
The denture, meanwhile, is prepared by a specialist clinic such as Dentures Plus, which has one of the best-equipped facilities in Christchurch.
Implant, regular and “immediate” dentures – which can be fitted the same day teeth are removed – are custom-made for patients using high-tech fabrication processes at the St Albans clinic.
Acrylic is used to produce hard-wearing dentures with the snuggist, most true-to-form fit the industry can provide, while teeth are painstakingly positioned with the tiny twists and turns that ensure a finish indistinguishable from the real thing.
Sometimes a patient’s existing denture can be used for attaching to implants.
“We offer a free consultation to allow us to evaluate your dentures and give you all the options,” Ryan says.
Dentures of all kinds require proper upkeep if they are to remain comfortable and free of the bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Unfortunately, most cleaning solutions sold in supermarkets do a poor job of removing the plaque and bacteria that can build up on not only the teeth but also the denture, Ryan says.
By far the best cleaning product is Caldent, he says.
Known to be the gold standard in denture cleaning solutions, Caldent is sold over the counter at Dentures Plus or online through the clinic’s website. Solution baths, brushes, pastes and options for pain relief are also available.