Hundreds of years ago, people used everything from lead to cow teeth, human teeth and elephant ivory to make dentures. Nowadays, dentures are sophisticated pieces oral health equipment.
Below, we take a look at what, exactly, today’s dentures are made of.
The teeth of dentures are usually made of either resin or porcelain. Porcelain is favored by some due to its strength and durability. It has a ceramic material that resembles glass. Porcelain features the translucent look similar to normal tooth enamel. It can be matched with colors as appropriate for each patient's unique teeth. Furthermore, porcelain teeth really do feel like natural teeth. This makes them highly adaptable. The heating process required to make porcelain dentures allows them to become that much harder and more durable.
Yet porcelain is not the perfect material for dentures. Porcelain dentures dropped on a hard surface like the floor will break. Porcelain dentures also have the potential to wear down natural teeth during the biting process. This is why porcelain is best used in full dentures as opposed to partial dentures.
The National Institutes of Health recently performed a study that shows acrylic resin has become the leading material for denture teeth. Acrylic has emerged as the top material for dentures partially because it adheres well to the base of the dentures. It can be adjusted with ease to provide optimal comfort and functionality. Furthermore, acrylic resin is cheaper than porcelain. It is also lighter in weight.
However, there are a few negatives to using acrylic resin as a material for dentures. Teeth made of acrylic resin tend to wear faster than porcelain teeth. This spurs changes in the manner in which teeth contact each other. Dentures made with acrylic resin might also require replacement every half decade or so. However, acrylic resin is significantly stronger than plastics used in the past.
Dentures function with the assistance of a framework for support. This framework is typically called a full plate or partial plate. The plate can be comprised of tough acrylic resin or a flexible polymer. It can also be molded with chrome cobalt metal. An impression of the gums is necessary to generate a mold. The mold is used as the foundation of a wax model upon which the teeth are added.
The model is tested in the mouth to verify it is acceptable in terms of color, size, etc. This also allows for the formation of the plate that fits comfortably in the mouth. Plates made with acrylic resin function with dentures that mandate an artificial gum line. The material is tinted to look like the regular gum color. There is minimal risk of a break if metal plates are used. Metal is typically favored for partial plates that are completely hidden behind the original teeth.