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Dentures

When you have several teeth missing from different areas of your upper or lower jaw, a partial denture can restore your biting and chewing abilities, bring back a beautiful smile, and retain the shape of your mouth. Dentures are important for your personal confidence, as well as for the health and strength of your mouth. They keep your gums and other teeth in place, while allowing you to continue to eat, drink, talk, and live your life the way you always have.

Depending on each patient’s individual oral health and mouth structure, a dentist may advice either complete or partial dentures. The main difference is that complete dentures are for those who are missing all of their teeth on the bottom, the top or both; where partial dentures are for those who are missing only a few teeth.

A full denture is needed if all of your teeth have been extracted; and the prosthesis that replaces your teeth can be conventional removable dentures or implant-supported dentures. If your dentist decides that removing teeth will be necessary before you get dentures, you may receive your dentures the day the teeth are removed, or later in the process. While receiving them that day is appealing (in that there is no time in which you have to be without teeth), they may have to be adjusted as your mouth gets used to the new normal.

Partial dentures replace a gap in your teeth or a few missing teeth in a row. These dentures can be either fixed or removable and can be designed to use adjoining teeth as support or be secured by dental implants, which are titanium screws that are permanently placed in your jawbone. Your dentist will consult with you to decide which type of partial denture will best serve your daily lifestyle goals and will keep your teeth and mouth the healthiest.

Removable Partial Dentures

If several teeth are missing in either your upper or lower jaw, a removable partial denture that is supported either by adjoining teeth or by an implant can be used to replace the missing teeth, thus giving you the ability to chew more naturally, keep your remaining teeth from moving into the space left by the missing teeth, ensure proper jaw alignment, and support the structure of your face.

Removable partial dentures are a secure, healthy option for patients who are missing a series of teeth somewhere in the mouth. Although removable, they are anchored in the mouth, making it easy for you to talk, eat, drink and go about your everyday life with confidence. You don’t have to worry that they will shift or move while you are trying to do regular activities.

However, because partial dentures are easily removed for brushing and cleaning, you can be sure you are keeping your surrounding teeth, gums and mouth as healthy as possible. Take out your partial dentures to clean them, to brush your teeth, and to remove any food particles; then put them back in to maintain your confident smile. Your dentist will be able to recommend the best practices for cleaning your dentures and which products will work best. Your dentist will also let you know how long you will need to wear the dentures per day.

A removable partial denture is held in place either by clasps that hook onto adjoining teeth or by securing to the abutment of a titanium screw that is implanted in your jawbone. Either option will require some practice on your part as you get used to taking your dentures out of your mouth and putting them back in. Have your dentist practice with you before you leave the office and then give yourself time at home to get used to it.

Complete Dentures

When all of your permanent teeth need to be extracted from either your upper or lower jaw because of decay, periodontal disease or trauma, complete dentures are created in a dental lab to replace your missing teeth. Simulating your natural teeth, complete dentures allow you to eat, drink, and perform other normal activities. Apart from small additions to your oral hygiene routine, dentures are a carefree dental option to gettinh back to your regular life.

Your dentist may need to remove some of your teeth to prepare your mouth for complete dentures. After the extraction, you may have to go home and heal before receiving your dentures; or your dentist may choose to give you your dentures right away. Because your gums are likely to move during the healing process, if you receive dentures right away, they may need to be adjusted.

Over time, dentures can loosen because of the loss of gum tissue and jawbone that deteriorate when they no longer have tooth roots to keep them stimulated. Your dentist may recommend the use of dental products to keep them adhered to your gums. This will keep them in place and comfortable while you are eating and performing other everyday activities.

An alternative to the adhering products is to have your dentures secured with implants that are placed in your jawbone and, through a process called osseointegration, take the place of a tooth root. Although your dentures will not be permanent and will still be removable, this allows you to “lock them in”. Many patients find this to be a more secure, comfortable option, although it does require surgical implantation.

In either case, your dentures are easily removable for cleaning. Your dentist will discuss with you how best to clean your dentures, and when. It’s important that you use the products they prescribe (particularly denture cleaners), rather than toothpaste. Although dentures are made to simulate your teeth, they are not made of the same substance and need to be treated differently.