Dentures come in many different forms, from design to materials used. One of the goals as a denturist is to provide the client with an appliance that can function well, while also being aesthetically pleasing. The aim in creating a denture, is for the teeth to look natural, where no one would guess the client is wearing a denture. The balance between aesthetics and function is different for everyone. As a practitioner, the function is very important and in some cases, the aesthetics may need to be compromised. As a client, the aesthetics may be more important, since their smile is what people see, and sometimes that means compromising function. Although certain aspects of aesthetics cannot be changed, like the position of a clasp or the position of certain teeth, there are some components of the denture that can be easily changed to be more aesthetically pleasing.
Traditionally dentures are made with pink acrylic. There are usually different shades of pink used and some incorporate red fibers into the acrylic to provide some contrast. Although pink acrylic is traditionally used, it does not portray the realism of natural gums. When designing dentures, the denturist tries to expose only minimal amounts of pink acrylic because it may not look like natural gums. This all depends on the patient’s smile and how much gums are exposed naturally. So, what can be done to make a denture look more aesthetically real?
In dentures, there are usually two parts that can be visibly seen, the gums around the front teeth and the palate on the upper dentures at certain angles. When it comes to gums around the front teeth, a couple of techniques can be used to give you a more aesthetically pleasing smile:
- Adding anatomy – The gums are artistically sculpted to have realistic anatomy; giving the denture gums a more natural appearance. This is done in the wax denture before processing it into pink acrylic, the sculpted anatomy help disperse the reflection of light on bare polished acrylic for a more realistic look to the dentures.
- Gingival toning – This technique can give your gums a more natural look through a different variety of natural colour tones and shades to mimic your gums. Usually combined with adding anatomy to create a natural-looking smile, even if the acrylic of the denture base is exposed.
When it comes to aesthetics with the palate, many denture wearers don’t like the big surface area of visible pink acrylic that covers the roof of the mouth. At the right angle, the palate can be visible to many people. Unfortunately, acrylic needs to be there as it the main support for the upper denture. If that is the case, what can be done to have the palate be more aesthetically pleasing? The remedy would be to use clear acrylic. Instead of pink acrylic, transparent clear acrylic would be used in the palate area so your own gums will show through. Even though the denture still covers the palate, having a clear palate denture gives the illusion of not having a denture present.
So, if this clear acrylic can show your natural gums, you may ask “Why can’t we use it to make the full denture?” The transparency is only great for thinner flat surfaces, having it as the gums around the teeth creates dark shadows which makes it seem like you have black gums. Clear acrylic can also be an alternative for people that have allergies to the pink acrylic but need dentures. To properly make a denture with a clear palate, it must be done in new dentures. If you are interested, notify the denturist that you want a clear palate and don’t hesitate to also ask about all the possible aesthetic upgrades you can get when getting new dentures.
If you are interested in these aesthetic upgrades, contact Woodside Denture Centre for a Free Consultation at 403-948-0954