Fact: Dentures can change your appearance, but it can be for the better or worse. Natural looking dentures are preferable, but what manufacturing skills make the difference between those that are great and those dentures that, frankly, look fake teeth?
All oral prosthetics are supposed to offer proper chewing function, be comfortable and simulate a natural smile. Indeed, many new-generation creations succeed and clinical outcomes are happy. But sadly, too many don’t deliver.
The big question is what makes dentures look fake? The best way to answer is with another question: What makes dentures look natural? In the following blog, we’ll attempt to answer both.
Postwar economy dentures
We guess there are many of our patients who can still recall dentures that appeared to have flat teeth in a terrible, dark pink setting. They were common post-war as there was a bizarre ‘rights of passage’ when, at 21, women would have all their teeth extracted in favour of economy dentures.
And they looked awful.
Fake looking dentures can take attention away from the natural point of focus on meeting someone – the face – and fix the gaze of onlookers directly on the mouth.
What’s more, fake looking dentures take away the control over who knows about the prosthetic. Bad ones are obvious to spot.
And, perhaps most importantly, poor dentures can be unattractive, unusable and unreliable.
They may be uncannily close to natural or be unnatural in appearance, but either way, they don’t look like natural teeth delivering a beautiful smile.
Mass produced dentures were often made using PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) for the complete denture – the base and the teeth.
While PMMA is a durable material and can serve for both elements of manufacture, a quick look in a mouth will reveal the extent to which teeth and gums are different.
Having teeth and gums of the same material inevitably makes them both look false.
Mass-manufactured teeth can appear to look as they don’t belong in your mouth. Just for a moment consider how different every tooth is uniquely formed.
Perhaps the essential aspect of a natural appearance is the fit of dentures. Improperly fitting dentures are too large, too tall, or too small. Faces can puff out or fold in around dentures . . . The job of getting it right is very skilful.
Dentures may be tilted, giving an off-balance appearance and even worse, they may slip and click when speaking offering no hiding place for some people’s biggest secret.
Making dentures look natural depends on an understanding of native tooth aesthetics and the essential principles of quality dentures.
Three main factors contribute to natural looking dentures, and their management is critical to an excellent clinical and aesthetical outcome:
Natural tooth appearance
Natural base appearance
Proper denture fit
Having people admire a smile is one thing, but no-one wants attention only on their dentures.
And here’s the good news: Dentures don’t have to look fake. When properly made, dentures can be very natural in appearance. We’re very proud of our ‘natural’ hallmark.
Face change with dentures
Getting dentures right is a mix of science and aesthetics. Teeth need to be the right height and width so that they appear natural. They need to be set correctly, so the bite is functional. The denture base needs to be crafted in such a way that not only does it have a harmonious fit with the soft tissues of the mouth, but also offers support for the facial structures.
At the Denture Clinic in North Street, Dudley, we use Phonares teeth, an advanced ceramic tooth developed by a leading maker of materials for porcelain veneers and other cosmetic dentistry restorations.
These teeth have the natural lustre of tooth enamel. Each tooth is individually designed, so it has a unique personality, just like natural teeth.
And we make sure our teeth fit the smile. They can look just like a natural smile that’s been recovered, or a smile our patients dreamt of but never had.
As for the denture bases, we use a highly controlled injection moulding system that delivers a natural-looking finish, and it’s veined, just like real gum tissue.
Hand-crafted in our onsite laboratory by highly skilled technicians, we pay close attention to the contour of the gum line and its particular finely stippled texture.
We love our dentures, and our Practice Principal, Steven Burchell DipCDT RCS(Eng) has devoted his working life to producing them.