A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available — complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all your teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when you still have some natural teeth remaining.
Complete dentures can be either “conventional” or “immediate.”
Conventional dentures are made after your teeth have been removed and your gum tissue has begun to heal. A conventional denture is ready for placement about eight to 12 weeks after your teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as your teeth are removed. As a result, you do not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
A removable partial denture usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, and a metal framework and clasps that hold the denture in place by attaching to your natural teeth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position.
Are There Alternatives to Dentures?
Yes, dental implants can be used to support cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. For advice about implants please call Dr. Dirk Jacobsen at the Dental Pod for a consultation.