Dentures are used as a replacement for missing teeth as well as the surrounding tissue. This device is available as one of two different types: partial dentures and full dentures. The primary difference between the two types depends on whether or not all of the teeth are missing.
Full Dentures: An Overview
Full dentures are used when no teeth are remaining and can be one of two types: immediate or conventional. If conventional dentures are used, they are made once the teeth have been removed, and healing within the gum tissue has begun. In most cases, a patient is ready for conventional dentures between 8 and 12 weeks after the removal of the teeth.
Immediate dentures are used by the patient as soon as the dentist removes the teeth. Made in advance of the teeth removal, using immediate dentures ensures that the patient doesn’t have to live with missing teeth as his or her gums heal. A disadvantage of using such dentures is that gums and bone shrink as they heal, making it more likely that this type of denture will need to be adjusted several times over the course of the healing process. Many dentists recommend that immediate dentures should be considered as a temporary solution until conventional dentures are ready.
Partial Dentures: An Overview
A patient who still has one or more of their natural teeth could be a candidate for partial dentures. A partial denture begins with a plastic base that is either pink or gum-colored. This base has replacement teeth attached to it. In some cases, there is the addition of metal clasps that are used to hold the partial dentures more securely in the mouth. The purpose of a partial denture is twofold: first, it fills the gaps left by missing teeth. Second, it stops other teeth from changing position and filling the spot left empty by the missing tooth.
A fixed bridge involves placing crowns on the teeth that are beside the space where the missing tooth is located. Artificial teeth are then attached to these crowns before the bridge is cemented into place.
A precision partial denture is a removable device that features internal mechanisms instead of clasps that secure it to the crowns of nearby teeth. This design results in an appliance that is more natural looking.
How Are Dentures Made?
Making dentures is a process that typically spans several weeks and requires multiple dental appointments. The first step usually involves getting a series of impressions of the patient’s jaw and taking measurements of the mouth. Models, plastic patterns or wax forms are created which allow the dentist to accurately assess the fit, color, and shape of the dentures before the final design is made. Once the final dentures are cast, the patient returns to the dentist office to be fitted. Adjustments are typically necessary to finetune the fit.
Today’s dentures are designed to look more natural and can even improve a patient’s facial appearance. Your dentist is best at determining the right type of denture for an individual patient.