A smile just isn’t a smile if it’s incomplete. Missing teeth cause a host of problems, from difficulty speaking and eating to low self-confidence to jawbone deterioration. Don’t give up on your smile. Advances in dental materials and technology have made full and partial dentures more lifelike and comfortable than ever.

What is a Partial

A partial denture, commonly referred to as simply a partial, consists of multiple teeth on a gum colored base. The teeth are not in a row, but rather spread across the base to fit like a puzzle with your existing teeth. A partial is normally secured with clips or brackets, but unlike a bridge, a partial is removable.

What is a Denture

A full denture is a complete top or bottom row of teeth mounted on a gum-colored base, and they often require denture adhesive to hold them in place.

Implant-Supported Dentures and Partials

Dental implants are small titanium posts anchored into the jawbone. If you prefer a secure full or partial denture and do not want clips or adhesive, then consider implant-supported dentures. In a brief surgery, an implant dentist can secure a few dental implant posts to hold your dentures in place. With implant-supported dentures, you won’t have to worry about slippage, and your prosthetic will feel safe and sound.

Tooth loss can cause many dental and health problems. Without properly aligned teeth an individual might not be able to chew correctly and may alter their diet to accommodate this fact. This can then lead to issues as severe as malnutrition or lack of adequate food intake. Missing teeth can also cause all other teeth in the jaw to shift, which changes the bite pattern and can lead to head, neck and jaw pain. These are the reasons that anyone with tooth loss of any level should explore having dentures fitted by a dentist or prosthodontist.

Patients have the option of complete dentures which replace all of the teeth in the upper or lower jaws or they can have partial dentures or overdentures fitted. Partial dentures are removable and intended for those who have lost a few teeth, and they employ remaining teeth as anchors to hold them in place. Overdentures are also removable, but use remaining tooth roots to hold them in position. Dentures are not generic items, but molded to fit the gum and jaw of each patient. This requires a patient to undergo a thorough examination of their gums and facial bones in order to ensure the denture style selected is appropriate. Some patients may require procedures to remove remaining teeth or to shape areas of the jaw to allow dentures to fit comfortably. Anyone requiring procedures that may induce swelling will be required to wear temporary dentures for six to twelve months before a permanent mold is taken, as this allows a proper fit.

Most dentures are crafted from a variety of materials, and it is up to the patient to select their material of choice as it greatly affects cost and appearance. For instance, polymer dentures have a more natural appearance and are significantly more durable than plastic dentures. Many people opt to pay the higher cost for the polymer in order to enjoy the benefits. Some dentures will require the use of various metals to make them fit better, and this too will increase the cost. Denture care is quite simple, and should be incorporated into a traditional dental hygiene plan. Most patients brush their remaining teeth, palette and gums several times a day, and add their dentures to this process as well. Dentists recommend removing dentures at night, and for two specific reasons: first it allows saliva to reach the gums and perform its natural functions of maintaining a healthy environment, and secondly to soak the dentures in a cleansing solution that will destroy bacteria and irritants. Because dentures may occasionally irritate the gums and lining of the mouth, it is important to keep them, and the mouth, as clean and healthy as possible. Poor oral hygiene in combination with dentures has led to cases of gum disease and infection as well as other significantly more serious medical problems. Most denture wearers find that their dentures require a bit of maintenance every five to seven years, and will visit their dentists regularly to monitor the condition of their gums and their dentures.