Dentures are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth, which are supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Conventional dentures are removable; however, there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth or dental implants. There are two main categories of dentures, depending on whether they are used to replace missing teeth on the mandibular (lower) arch or the maxillary (upper) arch. Dentures must be cleaned 2 to 3 times daily, both inside and out. There are several steps involved in the making of dentures. Dr. Giraldo would have to make some adjustments before the denture fits perfectly and comfortably.
Causes of Tooth Loss
Patients can become entirely edentulous (without teeth) due to many reasons. The most prevalent is removal because of dental disease typically relating to oral flora control, i.e. periodontal disease and tooth decay. Other reasons include tooth developmental defects caused by severe malnutrition, genetic defects such as Dentinogenesis imperfecta, trauma, or drug use.
Types of Dentures
Removable Partial Dentures
Removable partial dentures are for patients who are missing some of their teeth on a particular arch. Fixed partial dentures, also known as “crown and bridge,” are made from crowns that are fitted on the remaining teeth to act as abutments and pontics made from materials to resemble the missing teeth. Removable partial dentures are made for patients who are missing some of their teeth on an arch. The removable partial denture attaches to the remaining teeth with clasps and can easily be removed by the patient alone. They can be used to replace back teeth, lower teeth, front teeth, or lower teeth and can improve a person’s appearance dramatically. A partial denture rests on the remaining natural teeth, the bone, and gums. It is necessary that all three of these foundations are healthy before the impressions for the dentures are made for numerous reasons to ensure that they can hold the denture in securely. A benefit of the removable partial dentures is that additional teeth can usually be added when remaining teeth are extracted at a later time. Some patients are concerned that it will take a long time to get used to wearing a removable partial. For the first few weeks, the new partial may feel awkward, which is completely normal, but your mouth will become accustomed to it.
Conversely, complete dentures or full dentures are worn by patients who are missing all of the teeth in a single arch, i.e. the maxillary (upper) or mandibular (lower) arch. Complete dentures are made for patients that are missing all their teeth in an arch, either upper or lower. With today’s technology, the complete dentures are designed to be comfortable and functional. They appear very similar to natural teeth and improve smiles and overall facial appearances. The complete dentures are typically made of acrylic and may at times require porcelain for additional structural support. At first, all teeth may not be missing in one arch, but Dr. Giraldo may need to begin by removing any teeth that are not restorable. An impression is taken of the gum space and sent to the dental laboratory. Unlike partial dentures, complete dentures are necessary when most of the remaining teeth cannot be saved or patients cannot go through treatment needed to restore their teeth.
An implant-supported denture is supported by and attached to implants. Unlike the complete denture, this one is supported by the implants and doesn’t rest on the gums. If there is enough bone in the jaw to support implants, and implant supported denture can be used when the person doesn’t have any remaining teeth left in the arch. This particular denture has special attachments that snap onto other attachments on the implants. These dentures can be made for both upper and lower arches but are more commonly used for the lower arches. A regular complete denture usually fits an upper arch comfortably and with stability, but the lower arches need the extra support that the implant-supported denture can give. The implants are usually placed at the front of your mouth because that’s where there tends to be more bone in the jaw. Because of the extra support from the implants, these dentures are more stable and easier to adjust to. You’ll find it easier to speak and there wouldn’t be any worries about the denture becoming loose. Another advantage of having the implant-supported denture is that aesthetically it looks better. Because the implants are holding it into place, more of your own gums will show—as oppose to the suction created between the full denture and the roof of your mouth.