There are a few different types of dentures available today due to such advanced technology and also a few different ways in which they can be worn, but all in all, the purpose of such appliances is to address cases of edentulism (missing teeth). A denture is a prosthetic device consisting of manufactured teeth attached to a gum colored base structure that is set in order to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissue. It is typically made of plastic or a combination of plastic and alloy metal materials.
Types: Full and Partial
There are two basic types of dentures, full and partial. For a patient who is completely edentulous, a full or complete set would be appropriate, barring no further complications. If the patient has some remaining natural teeth that cannot be restored, the natural teeth are extracted before being fit for the device(s). In many cases, a patient may require replacement of only the top or bottom span of teeth. A partial is used when some healthy natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. It is uncommon for a dental professional to advocate extraction of healthy natural teeth and therefore it would most likely be recommended for the patient to get a partial to fill in the space only where teeth are missing.
Placement: Fixed and Removable
Conventional dentures are made to be removable, but there are various designs available, some which rely on clasping onto remaining teeth or onto dental implants if there are no teeth remaining on which the appliance can be attached. Most full or complete devices are worn only during waking hours and are removed at bedtime to allow gum tissue to rest and to allow normal stimulation and cleansing of the oral cavity by the tongue and saliva.
Patients who wear removable devices use an adhesive to provide additional stability and an added sense of security, but the appliance should fit securely. Patients who are good candidates for implants may choose to have the full appliance designed and manufactured for fixed usage, meaning that it is not removable. Implants are set in the jawbone to be used as the structure for which the appliance is permanently attached. Although it is sometimes more difficult to maintain proper oral hygiene with a fixed denture, it is generally more comfortable and reassuring for the patient who wears them.
Benefits: Cosmetic and Health-Related
Of course dentures will greatly improve your smile if you are missing teeth, and who doesn’t want to smile more? But there are a few additional benefits to wearing such devices that you may not have considered. Bone that is not properly stimulated from chewing and even making upper to lower contact can start to diminish over time, and many patients who are edentulous may begin to notice that the area around their mouth appears less full or even a bit deflated.
A full denture will help stimulate natural bone growth by providing a point of pressure and force to both the upper and lower jawbone, and can also help fill in some of the space with the gum portion of the appliance itself, giving a younger, more plumped-up look. For patients who wear partials, not having visible gaps show while saying cheese will be a great improvement. But not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it also helps stimulate natural bone growth and helps prevent surrounding teeth from unwanted shifting.
For more information about full or partial dentures and other tooth replacement options, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.