Depending on your situation, dentures may be needed to replace all or some of your teeth. Different types of dentures serve different purposes.
Immediate dentures are placed immediately after removing any remaining teeth. These have the added benefit that you have the look and use of teeth while your mouth heals, making your transition to dentures more subtle. However, your jawbone and gums will gradually shrink after teeth are removed, so you will need to be fitted with conventional dentures later.
Conventional full dentures replace all or most of your upper and lower teeth. They are custom-crafted and fitted over a series of appointments to ensure an excellent fit and natural look. We will provide you with homecare instructions and have you come in for periodic adjustments or relines to ensure that your conventional dentures continue to fit properly and feel comfortable.
Overdentures look like conventional full dentures. However, overdentures fit over dental implants or a few specially prepared remaining teeth. Overdentures are more secure and feel more natural than conventional dentures. Also, the implants or remaining teeth provide stimulation that can help preserve the bone in your jaw.
Partial dentures may be a good choice when you have lost several teeth but still have some remaining. Partials help to prevent your existing teeth from shifting within your mouth. In turn, the remaining teeth support the dentures and help take the impact of biting and chewing. This reduces the pressure on other parts of your jaw.
Conventional partial dentures have clasps to attach them to your remaining teeth, while precision partial dentures have special attachments that make the clasps less visible. Another option may be a flexible partial denture; these gum-colored clasps attach around your teeth at the gumline for a very natural look.
Benefits of dentures
Dentures are important both for your oral health and the attractiveness of your smile, because they:
- Provide the necessary support to keep your facial muscles from sagging and giving you an older appearance.
- Allow you to eat a wider variety of foods than you could without teeth; this helps ensure that you get adequate nutrition to maintain your health.
- Help you to speak more easily than you could without teeth.
If you have been hiding your mouth because of missing teeth, dentures may help improve how you look and feel about your smile.
But..Removable Dentures Accelerate Bone Loss
Once upon a time, removable full dentures were the best — and indeed, the only — prosthetic teeth-replacement system dentistry could offer. However, removable dentures come with problems. Their instability in the mouth often requires the wearer to make constant adjustments and compromises, such as eating primarily soft foods and being extra-careful when speaking and chewing. In time, even after one has learned to get by with them, they eventually lose their fit. This happens because wearing them accelerates bone loss in the jaw, which inevitably occurs after tooth loss. Accelerated bone loss results from the pressure dentures place on the bony ridges that formerly supported the teeth.
The loss of bone tissue inside the jaw is invisible; its effects, however, eventually become easy to see. When teeth are lost, the nearby bone is resorbed (melted away) by the body’s natural processes. In time, bone volume and density decrease significantly; that’s why dentures stop fitting correctly. As the bone shrinks, the distance between your nose and chin decreases too, and support for facial features collapses. Let go long enough, it can make you look prematurely aged and unhappy
Alternatives to dentures
Other options to consider besides dentures may include bridges (sometimes called fixed partial dentures) or dental implants (which are surgically placed below your gumline, providing an invisible and secure fit).
Implant-Supported Dentures Prevent Bone Loss
While removable dentures don’t stop bone loss, there is a way to permanently replace a full set of teeth and prevent bone loss as well: implant-supported dentures that are fixed in your mouth. Anchored firmly into the living bone tissue, dental implants provide the stimulation and support needed to prevent bone from being lost. The bone in your jaw actually fuses to the implant, due to the remarkable osseophilic (bone-loving) properties of titanium, the metal of which dental implants are made.
Because of their firm anchorage, implants form a strong and solid foundation for fixed dentures. It can take as few as four implants to hold a complete set of upper or lower replacement teeth. When dentures are attached to implants, you never have to worry that they will loosen or slip. That means you can eat whatever you want, speak normally, and forget all about bothersome denture creams and adhesives.
People who choose fixed over removable dentures report that this system feels much more like their own natural teeth, and that it improves their quality of life. On the other hand, over half of people who wear lower removable dentures report they are unsatisfied with their stability and comfort. Though implant-supported teeth are more expensive initially, they are the best long-term investment as they will never need to be replaced or remade. We would be happy to discuss the costs and benefits of each of these options with you at your next consultation.
Keep in mind, the best alternative is to not need dentures at all. With consistent and regular dental care, you may be able to preserve all your healthy teeth, so that you can keep them throughout your lifetime.
For more information
If you’d like to learn more about today’s options for dentures, please contact us…