What are dentures?
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. The goal of cosmetic dentures is to replace what is missing from the mouth and ensure natural looking dentures that enable the wearer to talk, smile, and eat with confidence.
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 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed. Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be fitted as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the first weeks following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments (relines) to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
Benefits of Dentures
The presence of teeth helps to provide a natural facial appearance and can potentially help to increase one’s self-confidence. Furthermore, the denture fittings themselves can provide support for the lips and cheeks that can often take on a ‘collapsed’ appearance in patients with missing teeth. The ability to chew food correctly suffers if teeth are lost and can be improved by wearing dentures. This in turn means that food can be digested more easily as it moves through the body, helping people to take the maximum possible nutritional benefit from the meals they consume. Consequently, dentures can not only boost the health and appearance of the mouth and face, but also of the body as a whole. If teeth are lost, people can often find their ability to speak clearly is impaired, particularly in the case of the anterior teeth – namely the incisors and canines. Those who opt for dentures should therefore find that their pronunciation improves. All dentures of this nature are finished in high-impact very natural looking acrylic teeth, meaning they are able to stand up to the wear and tear that affects teeth on a daily basis.
A removable partial denture usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-coloured acrylic base, which is connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw.
Are There Alternatives to Dentures?
Yes! Dental implants can be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of natural, teeth. Dental implants are becoming the preferred alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants.