Dentures are a type of dental prosthetic that is used to restore an entire arch of teeth or both arches to restore an entire mouth of missing teeth. They are designed as artificial teeth and gums that sit on top of the natural gum tissue. Dentures can be worn throughout the day to help with functions like eating and speaking, however they are removed at night.
When a dentist recommends dentures, patients often wonder what dentures are made of and how they are made. After all, many want to be sure that their dentures will be visually appealing and made out of safe dental materials. Luckily, your dentist has your best interests in mind and will use special dental materials that are safe, effective, and aesthetic.
Dentures contain two main parts that require different dental materials. Namely, these are the false teeth and the framework. Denture teeth are fabricated using either resin or porcelain. Resin can be colored to resemble natural teeth and is a more affordable dental material. Porcelain is considered to be highly aesthetic in terms of its color and texture, but it can also be a more expensive dental material to make dentures from. Additionally, porcelain is usually only recommended for full dentures, meaning most partial dentures teeth are made from resin. This is because porcelain is highly abrasive to tooth enamel and can cause damage or premature wear in the opposing teeth.
The composition of denture framework can vary depending on the type of denture. Full dentures will be fabricated to look like natural gums and will be made with an acrylic or nylon base, and acrylic gum attachments. In some cases, full dentures may also use metal gum attachments, but these are usually not noticeable when the denture is in place. Partial dentures use the same acrylic or nylon base, however they may also contain metal clasps that wrap around surrounding teeth and hold the denture in place.
Now that we know what dentures are made of, let’s take a look at the way dentures are made. The first step to having dentures made is to have your dentist take a dental impression. A dental impression uses a metal tray filled with impression putty that is designed to change from a smoothie consistency to a rubber consistency in as little as a minute. This allows your dentist to obtain a mold of your mouth that they can send to a dental lab to have your dentures fabricated.
To make your denture, a special device called an articulator will be used to replicate the jaw. The mold of your upper and lower arch will be attached to the articulator to create a functional model of your mouth so the dentures can be fabricated for function and appearance. In the early stages, fake teeth will be attached to a wax framework to make a test model. This model will be checked for fit and adjustments will be made if needed.
Once the wax model has been fitted, it will be used to make the permanent restoration. This is accomplished by pouring hot plaster into the wax framework. This melts the wax and allows the plaster to take its shape. A solution to prevent sticking is applied to the plaster before the acrylic or nylon is poured into the plaster. After everything has hardened, the final step is to remove the plaster, revealing a completed dentures. The final product will then be polished and sent to your local dental office.
As you can see, dentures are made from certain dental materials that are effective and aesthetic. The fake teeth used for dentures are made from resin or porcelain, while the framework is made with acrylic or nylon. Additionally, the fabrication process for a denture shows how every little detail of your smile is taken into account when making your dentures.
Dr. Anthony Mancino is Monmouth and Ocean County New Jersey’s General and Cosmetic Dentist and has been practicing for over 25 years focusing on cosmetic and overall dental health. Dr. Mancino is a graduate of Villanova University and University of Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the American Dental Association, New Jersey Dental Association, Monmouth & Ocean County Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Academy of General Dentistry.