A complete denture is a substitute for your natural teeth that you wear either on the upper or lower arch, or sometimes both arches if all your natural teeth are missing. Denture teeth are made of a hardened plastic material that comes in many shade to match the color of your natural teeth, or perhaps you chose to have your new teeth a shade whiter. The artificial teeth are attached to a pink colored base that rests on your tooth ridges, and includes a natural looking gum tissue that holds the denture teeth in place. Your first appointment with your dentist will include taking impressions of your mouth and measurements of your face so that a custom denture that fits you precisely can be made. Several appointments are involved in making your new custom smile, but this is all necessary so that you can have a prosthesis that gives you confidence in your appearance, an ability to speak distinctly, and the opportunity to chew and eat in a manner similar to your natural teeth. A complete denture is usually considered to be more economical that an implant denture and can be made in a shorter period of time when surgery is not involved.
A partial denture is used to replace one or more missing teeth when the remaining teeth are considered in good shape and will remain in your mouth. A partial denture can be made with several different materials including pink dental acrylic, wire clips, metal clasps, metal backings, and sometimes tooth colored materials. Most standard partials are made with hardened pink acrylic and denture teeth to match your natural tooth shade. Some partial dentures are made of a softer material that flexes when it is put in place, and do not include metal clasps or clips to hold it securely. There are advantages to the traditional pink acrylic partial made with a metal backing and clasps which include greater strength, more stability, and increased resistance to dislodgement. A flexible partial denture is often less costly and takes less appointments to make, but usually lasts a shorter period of time before needing some type of dental maintenance.
An immediate denture is placed in your mouth at the same appointment that your natural teeth are extracted, so that you will not be faced with an un-esthetic gap in your smile.. For this to happen, you must plan to visit your dentist for several appointments prior to your extraction visit, so that impressions of your natural teeth can be taken and a bite relationship made. A complete denture or a partial denture will be constructed by the dentist with the help of a laboratory technician, and the immediate denture can be made to look very natural and feel comfortable during your healing period. As your gum tissue shrinks following the tooth extraction, your immediate denture will need a refit of the tissue surface so that it will continue to fit the ridges of your gums. You will know when it is time for a temporary refit because your denture will become very loose and tend to dislodge in your mouth as you try to eat. After about 6 to 12 months of healing, it may be time for a more permanent liner to be placed to help secure your denture and increase retention to aid in proper chewing and function.
Relines & Repairs
A complete denture or partial denture may occasionally need to be repaired if you are missing a denture tooth or relined if it is fitting loose and does not stay securely in your mouth. If a dentist is able to accomplish these maintenance procedures in their office or send the denture to a nearby waiting dental lab, then the patient does not need to be without their artificial teeth.
It is important to determine the timing in making repairs or relines to your denture or partial unless you are prepared with a back up appliance that you can wear for a short period of time.
Dentures Over Implants
A denture can be constructed that is secured to your jawbone by attaching to 4 or 6 implants that have been strategically placed after teeth extraction. Many times a patient will have an existing denture that they are unhappy with and it can be temporarily adapted to be placed over the newly inserted implants during healing. Another popular procedure is to fashion a temporary denture by milling it out of a tooth colored material with a temporary base. The final denture or bridge can be made with a titanium base that is secured to the implant abutments, and the teeth can be made of a hardened plastic or a porcelain/ ceramic material. The final cost of your Implant denture is determined by the number of implants placed, the original condition of your bony ridge that may require bone grafting, and the type of denture teeth or crowns that will be used for the final bridge or denture.
This procedure can take many months to accomplish, and can be costly, and cause some inconvenience along the way but should be gratifying when the final results are obtained.
When a patient has a natural tooth extracted, a choice for replacement is placement of an implant into the extraction site followed by a period of healing. Once the implant is securely integrated into the patient's jaw, a custom crown can be fabricated and connected to the implant using an implant abutment. The implant is similar in size to the patient's natural root, and the abutment is attached to the implant and then is used to support the new crown. Often on the day of the extraction of the patient's tooth, the tooth socket must be supported by a bone graft made of artificial or freeze dried bone granules. The time involved from the original extraction of the natural tooth to the final placement of the implant crown can be several months or even a year long so the patient will have the proper time to heal.