Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. They often take the time to adjust to, but you will still be able to notice that they are there. Dental technology has become so advanced, however, that dentures are more natural looking and more comfortable than ever. Based on how many teeth are being replaced and how much you can afford, your dentist can help you decide whether full or partial dentures are right for you.
There are three types of dentures- conventional full dentures, immediate full dentures, and partial dentures:
A conventional full denture can be placed in your mouth once the remaining tissues and gums have healed from a tooth extraction. The healing process can take months, so it is important to remain patient and follow all of your post-op care instructions. Once your mouth has healed about 8 to 12 months later, the denture can be placed in the patient's mouth.
Immediate dentures, unlike conventional dentures, can be placed as soon as the teeth have been removed. They may not work for everyone though because as the tissues heal, the bones and gums begin to shrink. This means that one may require multiple fittings before the denture sits properly in the mouth. If the denture becomes too large, it can cause irritation and be very painful for the patient to wear.
Both types of full dentures are made from the same acrylic base custom fitted to properly fit over your palette or accommodate your tongue, depending if they are upper or lower dentures. Partial dentures differ in that they rest on a gum-colored plastic base which then rests metal framework which can hold the denture in place.
Partial dentures are used when a few teeth are remaining in the upper or lower jaw. The partial denture can also fill in gaps left by bridges which have been implanted. A type of partial denture known as a "precision partial denture," can provide a more natural look by having internal attachments rather than clasps to connect to the necessary crowns.
Over time, dentures will need to be refitted, rebased and realigned from normal, everyday wear and tear. Your mouth may also change shape as you get older so the dentures may have to be remolded every few years to maintain that proper fit. Dentures can also become stained or discolored if they are not properly cared for. Also consult your dentist if you begin to notice your dentures have become loose, cracked, chipped, etc. Attempting to fix the problem on your own may only make it worse and end up costing you more money to repair.
Dentures can become expensive since they take a lot of time, preparation, and material to make. Most types of insurance cover some, if not all the costs of dentures. It is important to know what is included though when having your dentures customized to your specific desires and needs. Your dentist can also show you the various material options when having them made based on what you can afford.