Dentures, which replace weak or missing teeth, are removable dental appliances that can behave like a full or partial set of teeth in one or more areas of your mouth. With several types of dentures available, it is essential to discuss your options with a dentist before beginning the process. It is best if you work with your dentist to make the best decision for you, but here is what you need to know beforehand.
Full dentures are for patients who have lost all of their natural teeth in the upper and/or lower jaw. A full denture for the upper jaw consists of a flesh-coloured acrylic base that covers the gums and roof of the mouth, allowing an entire set of false teeth to sit firmly. To replace teeth in the lower jaw, the acrylic base is shaped like a horseshoe to avoid covering the tongue. With proper care and maintenance, full dentures can last anywhere from 5-10 years.
Conventional Dentures vs. Immediate Dentures
Full dentures can be either conventional or immediate. Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready to be placed in the mouth about 8-12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore, a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until traditional dentures can be made.
Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A partial denture usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink-coloured plastic base, which is connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures can also be attached to crowns on the natural teeth. They are convenient and removable, which means you can take them out whenever you need to. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, but it also prevents other teeth from shifting.
With implant-supported dentures, a dental implant is used to support the denture securely. The denture is affixed to the implants using a small connector known as an abutment. A dentist surgically fits these implants throughout one or more visits, and they remain in place. An advantage of implant-supported dentures is that they are more stable than other types of dentures, especially in the lower jaw. However, candidates for implant-supported dentures should have healthy gums, good oral care routines and sufficient jawbone.
With a wide range of dentures available, your dentist can advise you on the best restoration to meet your needs. With regular cleaning and maintenance, your dentures will last for many years. Contact us to learn more.
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