LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF DENTURES
There are several ways to replace missing teeth. Your dentist will be able to recommend the best option for you, whether it’s a denture, bridge, or implant. If your dentist does recommend dentures, there are several types of dentures on the market—each made from different materials and serving different purposes. That’s why it’s important to understand what the benefits of the different types are when deciding on the best type for you. Here’s a look at some of the options:
Full dentures, or complete dentures, consist of both upper and lower sets and are removable devices that can be used to replace missing teeth. The denture teeth are made out of porcelain or acrylic and are held together by an acrylic or metal base. Full dentures may be needed when you lose all of your teeth and they can help fill out your appearance again, leaving you feeling more confident to smile.
Both upper and lower dentures rest on the gum tissue and the suction helps to keep them in place. Denture adhesive can also help secure your dentures and stop any food particles from causing discomfort, which can happen if they become trapped under the denture. With proper care and maintenance, full dentures can last anywhere from 5–10 years.
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.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned 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 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.
Upper and/or lower partial dentures are designed to fill the gap created by missing teeth. Partials can be unclipped and removed when needed, helping you feel more confident if you’re missing a small number of teeth.
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by a 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. A fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This “bridge” is then cemented into place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, but it also prevents 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 is a more natural-looking appliance.
Temporary dentures—also called immediate dentures—are dentures that can be fitted right after your teeth have been removed. They are an option to help you carry on as normal while waiting for your new permanent dentures to be fitted. You can return to eating the foods you love, without putting too much pressure on your remaining natural teeth.
They may be recommended by your dentist as a way to help ease your mouth into wearing dentures, or if you’ve previously had issues with sensitive teeth or gums. By reducing the pressure on your remaining natural teeth when eating, temporary dentures will let your mouth heal without you needing to make any major changes to your lifestyle. Your dentist will take measurements and models of your teeth beforehand so the dentures are ready for you to wear while your jaw is healing.
Flexible dentures are a kind of partial denture, but they are made of different materials from ordinary partial dentures. Most flexible dentures are made of a thin thermoplastic such as nylon, compared to the thicker, more rigid acrylic used in full dentures.
You may find that flexible partial dentures are a more comfortable fit than other removable partials, especially if you’re still new to wearing replacement teeth. Not only that, but most partial dentures are usually made with metal parts that can sometimes show. Flexible dentures do not use any metal parts so they tend to look and feel a lot more natural.
A fixed bridge is used to replace missing teeth by surgically cementing an artificial tooth, known as a crown, to the remaining natural teeth on each side. Like all surgically fixed dentures—including implants, implant-supported dentures, and snap-on dentures—fixed bridges tend to cost more than removable dentures.
A cantilever bridge is recommended when a molar is missing and there are no teeth on 1 side of it to support the bridge. One or more teeth on the other side are instead used for support.
Dental implants mimic the roots of your teeth. They are surgically placed into the bone and fuse with it over time for a natural fit. The implants are then “loaded” with a prosthetic, either immediately after surgery or within 6 months.
IMPLANT-SUPPORTED FIXED DENTURES
Implant-supported fixed dentures feature a crown that is secured to surgically inserted implants in your jawbone. It is then fixed in place with screws.
Snap-on dentures are removable crowns that snap on and off of surgically inserted implants in your jawbone. They fasten securely so you can chew the foods you love without worrying about your dentures coming loose.
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