Dentures are removable false teeth, usually made from an acrylic resin that can use porcelain or metal to provide additional structural support. Dentures are an option for people who have had many or all of their teeth removed. They help strengthen the muscles that control the facial expressions requiring the support of the teeth. Dentures also improve speech problems caused by missing teeth. Finally they help people who previously suffered from tooth loss to return to more normal diets, as dentures improve a person’s ability to properly chew food.
Types of Dentures
Complete Dentures: Complete dentures replace all of the teeth. The comfort of complete dentures is contingent upon the muscle, bones, tongue and saliva.
Immediate Dentures: These dentures are placed all at once and might require additional adjustments after the healing process. It can take months for the bone and tissue to stabilize after tooth extractions.
Upper Dentures: These tend to be a bit easier for patients to adjust to. Upper dentures are made of the same materials as complete dentures.
Over Dentures: Over dentures are similar to complete dentures, but these do not require all teeth to be extracted. Over dentures are fitted over the existing teeth and they serve as a replacement for missing teeth. Existing teeth must be shaped to properly accommodate the over dentures.
Partial Dentures: These can be fixed or removable, and they are designed to fill the gaps in a smile caused by sporadic missing teeth. A dentist determines which type of partial denture is best for each patient by evaluating the health of the teeth that surround the gap.
Fixed partial dentures also are called dental implant bridges. This permanently attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.
Removable partial dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. Metal attachments are used to anchor the dentures to the natural teeth.
Partial dentures help maintain tooth alignment because they prevent the natural teeth from shifting. Partial dentures also can help prevent additional tooth loss caused by gum disease or decay.
Sometimes patients need to have some teeth extracted prior to being fitted for dentures. In other cases, surgery is needed to improve the bony ridges that will stabilize the dentures.
The dentist obtains exact measurements for the dentures by taking a wax bite impression of the patient’s mouth.
A try-on appointment enables the dentist to make adjustments to the shape, color and fit of the dentures.