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Plastic vs. ceramic dentures

Updated April 17, 2017

Dentures can be a natural looking substitute for real teeth, with nearly the same appearance and feel. They can be from either ceramic (porcelain) or plastic. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The dentures, which are custom made to fit your mouth are fitted to removable plates that you can easily insert into the mouth and remove again, a technique that becomes second nature with practice. Whether you get full or partial dentures depends upon the number of teeth to replace.

Durability

Ceramic dentures were previously considered less durable than their plastic counterparts, but due to an increase in the quality of the porcelain are now a more durable alternative. Dentists, however, typically prefer plastic dentures although the ceramic dentures erode less quickly. The plastic base that dentists set them in still wears away. Because the ceramic dentures cannot bond chemically with the plastic base (unlike the plastic dentures), they are more likely to come away from the base.

Appearance

Plastic and ceramic dentures produce very natural looking results in your mouth. The dentist colours dentures to match any existing teeth, or, if in the case of a full set of dentures, a healthy looking white shade will be in order. The colour of the dentures will not fade or discolour at the rate of a normal tooth but is still prone to staining, so brush regularly to maintain appearance.

Effect on Other Teeth

Ceramic dentures have a far greater negative effect on existing teeth than do plastic dentures, which will themselves erode before eroding other natural teeth in the mouth. Chewing and grinding with porcelain dentures that you don't regularly remove will corrode natural teeth due to the solid texture of the ceramic. Plastic dentures, although requiring more regular changing and maintenance, are much kinder to existing teeth and dentists typically recommend them especially for a partial denture set.

Change Dentures

Dentists recommend changing dentures roughly every five to seven years. Both plastic and ceramic dentures have a similar lifespan due to the fact that plastic dentures are less durable, but ceramic dentures cannot bond for long periods of time with their plastic bases. Change dentures as advised due to wear and tear and corrosion, and also because facial changes which will take place during this period may cause the dentures to fit incorrectly.

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About the Author

Scarlett Fields began writing professionally in 2007. She has worked for a TV shopping channel in England producing advertising and promotional copy for clients such as Sony and Virgin. Fields also has copywriting experience and has written for a craft-based magazine, contributing articles detailing how to accomplish craft projects. Fields received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Bournemouth University.