What are they?
A denture is a removable dental appliance made of acrylic resin and, in some cases, a combination of metals and acrylic.
What are they used for?
Dentures replace missing teeth and their adjacent tissues.
There are several different types of dentures:
- Complete: This type of denture replaces all the teeth and adjacent tissues.
Partial: Partial dentures replace some teeth and are usually connected to adjacent teeth by some form of attachment or clasps.
Immediate: This is a form of a complete denture that is immediately fitted into the mouth after all the teeth have been removed. The gums will then heal with the inside of the denture as a guide.
Overdenture: Overdentures replace missing teeth and fit over remaining roots of teeth to add stability and grip to the denture. An overdenture can also connect to dental implants by a retentive attachment on the tissue side of the denture.
Implant Supported Denture: Traditional dentures depend on the amount and shape of jaw-bone for good retention or grip. A normal supply of saliva is important for the upper denture to form a good seal against the roof of the mouth. When there isn’t sufficient bone and or saliva, the denture will lose its grip.
A technique to improve the stability and retention of dentures is to place dental implants in the jawbone. Special “snap” like attachments are connected to the implants. These attachments fit to the underside of the denture with a firm click. In many cases, the denture can be reduced in size allowing for greater comfort.
How are they made?
An imprint of the gums and teeth, if present, is made. A plaster replica is then used to fabricate the denture at a dental laboratory. The procedure may take several appointments over a few weeks to complete. Once fitted, adjustments may need to be made to ensure a comfortable fit.
How long do they last?
A good fitting denture should last for years with the proper care and with excellent oral hygiene. The fit may be influenced by the person’s overall health, certain medications, smoking, the presence of periodontal disease, extreme weight gain or weight loss and the original condition of the supporting teeth and bone. As we get older, the jawbone and tissues slowly change. If there is enough change, then the denture may need to be relined [refitted] or replaced.
What are the alternatives to dentures?
Dental implants, crowns and fixed bridgework are commonly used to replace missing teeth. Sometimes, dentures are the most cost effective and practical way of replacing teeth.