What is Dentures ?
In modern dentistry, while implants are considered the most ideal way to replace lost teeth, dentures are still a viable alternative. Dentures can be categorised based on the material used to make them. Material selection is based on several factors including the number and location of remaining teeth. Your dentist will guide you and choose which denture is right for you.
Types of dentures include:
Complete dentures are used when there are no remaining teeth in the upper or lower arch. They help you to perform all functions efficiently. You can chew, smile, speak and smile confidently again.
When only a few teeth are missing then the denture of choice is a partial denture. It can be made completely out of acrylic or built on a metal framework. The decision of which one to use depends on the number and location of remaining teeth.
Removable partial dentures:
Removable partial dentures are made when there are some natural teeth remaining. They are based on a metal framework which is designed specifically for your mouth to maximise strength and stability. Over this framework, artificial teeth are placed to create a new smile and pink acrylic creates the effect of gum around the teeth. These dentures fill the gaps in between your remaining teeth and give you a complete smile.
The metal framework is designed around the remaining teeth and uses these teeth for stability to stop the denture from moving or coming out while eating, speaking or smiling.
Fixed partial dentures:
The artificial replacement of few missing teeth that cannot be removed by the patient himself is fixed partial denture. They are fixed with help of dental crowns. Crowns fit on a prepared natural tooth and attach the partial denture. Fix dentures have better stability then removable and very convenient for the patient.
Dentures are an inexpensive way to replace missing teeth. They fill the gaps between your teeth, give you a complete smile and improve your day to day function. Saying this, as you get older, the bone underneath the denture shrinks and the denture requires a new lining every few years and replacement when relining is no longer effective. Modern dentistry now offers more stable, long term solutions that avoid these issues.
Despite the wide use of dentures, there is a better alternative available for missing teeth which are dental implants. While the cost of implants is higher, the long term benefits outweigh the cost. Unlike dentures, implants maintain the amount of jaw bone over the long term. Implants are advised in patients with poor bony ridge conditions, hyperactive gag reflex and sore areas of gum that become irritated when supporting a denture.
A dental implant is a prosthesis made of a biocompatible material which is surgically placed into the jaw bone. It provides support for the overlying tooth and never slips/moves during eating, smiling or speaking. It efficiently replaces a single missing tooth.
Implants are placed into the bone and the artificial tooth is cemented or screwed onto the implant for stability. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth (implant bridge) or a whole arch (implant retained over dentures)
The placement of implants requires:
- Adequate bone density and support
- Healthy soft tissues (gums)
- Proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleans
- Medical fitness to undergo surgery
Read more about Implant Dentistry.