WHAT ARE DENTURES and PARTIALS?
Dentures are a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures: Complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of your teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some of your natural teeth remain.
Complete 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 for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as your teeth have been removed and you do 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 conventional dentures can be made.
Partial dentures, usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, that may or may not be connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in your mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents your other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This results in a more natural appearance.
How Are Dentures Made?
The denture development process takes a few weeks and several appointments. Once Dr. Riddle determines what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
- Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another, and how much space is between them.
- Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will “try in” this model several times and the denture will be assessed for color, shape, and fit before your final denture is cast.
- Cast a final denture.
- Adjustments will be made as necessary.
Are There Alternatives to Dentures?
Yes, dental implants can be used to support cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of your real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Consult Dr. Riddle for advice.