Based in Christchurch, Dentures Plus's news blog brings you the latest Dental Industry news from New Zealand.
“There are exciting things happening in the world of dentures. We’ve really embraced the digital age and its associated technology. ”
Ryan Carlton of Dentures Plus has recently been to IDS, the leading global trade fair of the dental industry in Cologne, Germany. “IDS presents the most important concepts and advances for the practices and laboratories of today and tomorrow. I was looking in particular at 3D printing of dentures.“
Ryan says that 3D printing of dental appliances is not only accurate, but it is quick, helps to streamline the making of high quality polymer-based dentures and is far less messy than creating plaster models. It also reduces the amount ofmaterial required and is a rather more pleasant experience for patients.
"As 3D printer techology becomes more accessible the cost of use is also going down. I have been waiting for an all-in-one system that covers virtually the whole process and that is now available from a company called Kulzer. My patients can look forward to 3D printed dentures when I introduce the tecnhnique over the next few months. It will be great for them and stimulating for me as well.“
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.
Dentures make a difference to the mental wellbeing of wearers every day by boosting the confidence, and to their physical health by opening up diets to a wider range of foods.
These benefits – and their absence – are never felt more acutely than during the festive season.
Dentures Plus owner Ryan Carlton says a lot of people in need of new or better dentures approach social events with trepidation.
Worries over appearance, being unable to eat the same food as others and what would happen if a denture slipped out usually top the list of concerns.
But while there are solutions for all scenarios, people often need help taking the first step, Ryan says.
Dentures Plus has a naturally relaxed and friendly environment to ease people into the life-changing transformation dentures can herald. Questions and support people are welcomed and great care is taken to produce highly realistic dentures that look and fit exactly how the patient wants.
“It’s not a scary process and we can help people before or after they've seen a dentist for extractions. If they need, we can recommend a dentist,” Ryan says.
“There are some people who are busy looking after everyone except themselves, so helping someone like that get dentures can really mean a lot, especially at this time of year.”
Patients at Dentures Plus have access to one of the best-equipped clinics in Christchurch. As well as standard full and partial dentures, there are “immediate” dentures for wearing the same day as teeth are extracted, and implant dentures, offering the securest fit of all.
All are made using the acrylic injection method that ensures the most precise fit the industry can produce, for long-term comfort and durability.
Even the best made dentures need adjusting or replacing as the gums and jaw change shape with age, though.
There are wider health issues to consider, too, and as such Ryan recommends a checkup at least every 2-3 years, even if everything seems fine.
"It's like a warrant of fitness for the mouth," he says. “We check the denture, gums, any remaining teeth and the tongue for abnormalities such as potential oral cancers or growths that could turn into a major problem if left unchecked.
“If you've got a loose denture, that can cause a lot of unnoticeable problems and disguise potential issues that could flare up. But if we catch problems early, it's normally simple to fix and get you back on track.”
Denture care products are also available from Dentures Plus, either over the counter or via the website.
This includes the industry-leading Caldent solution, which Ryan says cleans far more effectively than anything sold in supermarkets.
For urgent denture cleaning – before a Christmas party or holiday away, for example – Dentures Plus can provide a one-day clean using Caldent with a specialised ultrasonic machine. This gives a result in a few hours that would take a week at home.
Dentures can be hard to get use to, and even people who have worn dentures for years can still struggle with eating and the movement that can occur.
Getting new dentures or a reline can often solve these issues, but not always, especially with a full lower denture.
Dentures Plus owner Ryan Carlton says people might have only half their bite force with a full lower denture, so anything that improves the fit and reduces slippage of the denture is extremely helpful.
Implant-supported dentures are one of the best solutions here, Carlton says.
Essentially an upgrade to floating dentures, they clip onto tiny metal implants that remain in the gum, allowing people to remove the denture whenever they want but providing much greater security when attached.
“They can greatly improve your bite force, which makes eating much more pleasant and increases the range of foods you can eat.
“Denture wearers are often limited to what foods they can eat successfully, so going out to restaurants or a friend’s house for dinner can present a lot of problems – some people will avoid going out altogether to avoid the pain and embarrassment.
“Getting the implants is a simple procedure but it can make the denture much more stable,” Carlton says.
Implants are placed by an oral surgeon or dentist and usually take a couple of months to bed in before the denture is fitted.
Implant, regular and “immediate” dentures, either full or partial, are made by Dentures Plus at its St Albans clinic.
In every case, the denture is customised to the wearer’s preferences, using the acrylic for the most comfortable fit possible and high-grade teeth that are positioned with the tiny twists and turns that make them indistinguishable from the real thing.
Sometimes a patient’s existing denture can be used for attaching to implants.
“A free consultation with us will allow us to evaluate your dentures and give you all the options,” Carlton says.
While implant dentures are a popular choice among people who already have dentures and want to improve their experience, first-time wearers often opt for “immediate dentures”. These are fitted the same day teeth are extracted and allow people to avoid the embarrassment of walking around without teeth.
With all denture types, proper upkeep is essential if they are remain comfortable and free of the bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Unfortunately, many cleaning solutions sold in supermarkets do a poor job of removing the plaque and bacteria that builds up not only on the teeth but the denture itself, Carlton says.
The best cleaning product by far is Caldent, he says. Dentures Plus sells this directly to the public either over the counter its clinic on Innes Rd or online via its website.
Other cleaning products, such as solution baths, brushes and pastes, are also available.
You start the day with bad teeth and gaps in your smile and end it beaming proudly to all and sundry. Such is the effect of immediate dentures.
Fitted the same day as teeth are extracted, immediate dentures are the top choice for most first-time denture wearers, says clinician Ryan Carlton, the owner of Dentures Plus in St Albans.
As well as allowing people to avoid the embarrassment of a collapsed-looking face, they also help gums heal after teeth have been removed, acting as a bandage over tender tissue, he says.
Dentists fit such dentures immediately, however, the actual crafting of dentures is done by specialized clinics, and choosing a clinic independently gives people added control over quality, Carlton says.
Dentures Plus operates one of the most technologically advanced clinics in New Zealand and regularly produces dentures for dentists around the country. It is also home to the only laser welder in Christchurch specifically designed for the repair of metal partial dentures.
Patients who visit the clinic directly find a relaxed, friendly environment that soon puts them at ease, says Carlton, a motorbike enthusiast often found at the racetrack in his spare time.
“There are a variety of reasons people might need to get teeth extracted, and getting your first set of dentures can be quite a daunting decision to make. We always try to make people feel as comfortable as possible about it. We also keep them informed through the whole process,” he says.
Gums change shape quite soon after teeth are extracted, so follow-up visits to adjust dentures are usually required a week or two after they are first fitted. There is no charge for this at Dentures Plus.
After about six months, once the surrounding bone and gums have settled into their new shape, a final reline is made and “immediate dentures” become permanent.
The teeth, carefully chosen and positioned according to clients’ wishes, remain the same throughout.
To maintain dentures in good condition, Dentures Plus supplies the industry-leading Caldent cleaning solution, either over the counter at the clinic on Innes Rd or via its website.
“It’s the best stuff on the market. It works far better than anything else,” Carlton says.
“Sometimes people have bad breath and it’s actually coming from the denture. Plaque and tartar will build up on any hard surface and that can lead to sores and bacteria. Soaking in Caldent removes all that and gets the denture back to the nice clean acrylic.”
Anyone unsure which dentist to see for extractions can get a referral from Dentures Plus at their first consultation, which as with aftercare, is free.
Like a new pair of shoes, dentures worn for the first time often come with some teething problems, so to speak, as the body adjusts to its newest addition.
Dentures Plus owner Ryan Carlton says renewed confidence, an attractive smile and the enjoyment of new foods awaits denture wearers, but a few bumps on the path there should be expected.
The unnatural feel of newly fitted dentures is the first thing most people experience, he says. However, this feeling of the mouth being too full will soon be replaced by a “new normal” and forgotten.
Similarly, the extra saliva produced as a response to having a foreign object in the mouth will go away as the body learns that the dentures are now part of you.
Until that happens, though, the mouth might try to dislodge the dentures, Ryan says, just as it would anything else that it doesn’t think should be there. This can make the dentures feel loose. However, this too will pass, along with the initial challenges of chewing.
Should sores form, these should be seen by a denture maker so adjustments can be made, Ryan says.
“It’s a bit like with new shoes where you might get a blister. But instead of letting them wear in, with dentures we actually make an adjustment.”
Dentures Plus provides full aftercare services regardless of where a person’s dentures were made. With its own products, though, a number of high-tech processes help produce a comfortable, snug fit from the outset.
After a free, no obligation consultation, an impression is made using a specialised material known as alginate, from which a denture is formed first in wax and then acrylic. Using acrylic allows for the most hard-wearing and true-to-form denture possible.
Friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere is matched by a willingness to share all the details of what is often an unfamiliar process for patients, Ryan says.
“For impressions, we use one of the most accurate alginates available. It’s in the mouth less than a minute and the one we’ve got now has a really nice bubblegum flavour to it."
“The wax then replicates the pink, acrylic part of the finished denture, and people can try wearing that to see how it’s going to look and feel when finished.”
Four or five visits to the clinic are usually required as the denture is refined, although much of the action occurs behind the scenes in the Denture Plus laboratory and plaster room.
With an artist’s vision, teeth are chosen and placed according to the client’s desired style, often with the tiny twists and turns to ensure the product is not only attractive but indistinguishable from the real thing.
“It’s about taking the time to deliver what the patient wants,” Ryan says.
A selection of top-quality cleaning products and solutions for home use are also available from Dentures Plus, either over the counter or online.