Dentures are an artificial prosthesis that substitutes for missing teeth. When some teeth are present, a partial denture is fabricated. It can be a removable partial denture or a fixed partial denture. When all the teeth are missing, a complete or full denture is made. The main types of dentures are summarized below.
Complete or full dentures are worn by patients who are missing all of the teeth in a single arch. The upper arch is called the maxillary arch and the lower arch is called the mandibular arch. Normally, a complete upper and lower set has 28 teeth. Sometimes, in the case of a small jaw, the second premolars are omitted. The teeth are set into a gum-colored acrylic resin base. Originally, these were always removable, and the maxillary denture included a part that covers the palate. While traditional removable dentures are preferable to missing teeth, advances in technology have resulted in further improvements.
Implant anchored dentures are more comfortable and secure than conventional sets and are easy to clean. There are two types, permanent and removable. With permanents, several screw retentions are placed in the jaw and the dentures are permanently attached to them. This is the most stable form of denture. Patients with too much bone loss for normal implants may be able to have thinner “mini implants” to anchor their restoration. A removable implant anchored denture has an extra attachment on the screws that allows for dentures to be snapped in and out. The care required for these dentures is the same as for partials.
There are fixed (permanent) partial dentures and removable partial dentures. Traditional removable partial dentures use wires to hook them onto the permanent teeth on either side. These are less stable than the newer, implant-anchored type and have a tendency to move when the wearer chews food. Also, there might be bone loss in the jaw where the natural teeth are missing. Nowadays, most partial dentures are anchored with implants for a secure fit and protection of the bone structure. The procedure for placing the implant anchored denture is the same, whether they are a full set or partial.
Metal-free partial dentures are another alternative. One option is the flexible Valplast partial that moves with you naturally. The base is made from a flexible acrylic-like material that mimics the gingival tissue. They are typically more affordable than fixed restorations and only a bit more expensive than conventional denture with visible metal clasps. Many people find these the most comfortable partial denture, and the final restoration can be made quickly and precisely. Valplast dentures are very durable and designed to give long term performance under normal usage.
Process for getting full traditional dentures
The denture process takes about a month and, usually, five appointments. First, the initial diagnosis is conducted, then a wax-bite is made in order to measure vertical dimensions and jaw position. After that, the denture is placed in the patient’s mouth for a “try-in”. This will test whether it has complied with the proper fit, shape and color of the mouth. Minor adjustments, then have to be made to make sure the denture will fit perfectly and the color mixes in normally. Finally, during the last appointment, the perfect full denture is then placed in the patient’s mouth.
Dentures do not last forever. Over time, they begin to lose stability and retention. They need to be replaced every 5-7 years, and relined every 2 years.
You can read about other types of dentures and their care, repair and adjustments in some of the articles below.
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