Tooth replacement or restoration, as it is often referred to, can take one of three forms: implant-supported crowns to replace individual teeth; bridges to substitute for multiple adjacent teeth; and dentures for cases when bridges are not possible. Crowns and bridges are cemented to existing teeth or bolted onto implants.Thus, crowns and bridges are non-removable or fixed solutions. In contrast, dentures are designed to clasp onto to adjacent teeth or dental implants, thus making them removable solutions.
There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the roof of your mouth, while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.
Conventional Full Denture
Complete or full dentures are worn by patients who are missing their entire upper or bottom teeth. Usually, a full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth. However, in some instances, an immediate full denture can be inserted after extractions. Please note that since the bone supporting the teeth changes its shape as it heals, immediate dentures must be relined within a couple of months after the placement. Because there are no anchor teeth for dentures to clasp onto, this type of prosthesis is designed to hug or wrap around the gums. For better fit and stronger hold, patients can use special temporary adhesives that are applied between the gums and full dentures.
Removable partial dentures are for patients who are missing some of their teeth on a particular arch (upper or lower jaw). This type of prosthesis is referred to as a removable partial denture because patients can remove and reinsert them when required without professional help.
Some of the problems associated with removable dentures include increased salivation, sore spots on soft tissues, gagging, accumulation of dental plaque, and loss of taste. Luckily, implant technology can vastly improve the denture-wearing experience by increasing stability and retention factors. In addition, implant supported dentures allow for less gum irritation, reduce the risk of dentures slipping of patient’s mouths, and improves appearance due to less plastic required for retention purposes. Finally, patients with implant supported dentures have increased chewing efficacy and can speak more clearly.
Over time, dentures will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum, you should see your dentist annually for a checkup.
Dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating and speaking with dentures might take a little practice. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue does not have adequate room, and minor irritation or soreness are also not unusual.