Upper False Teeth Options
There are a number of reasons that people lose teeth due to age, genetics, underlying medical conditions, trauma, or even certain medications. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to patients to restore their smile! It is important to replace missing teeth not only for your own self-confidence but also for your oral and overall health. Not all dentures are created equal so it is important to discuss all of your options with your Dentist to determine what type of denture will best suit your needs and lifestyle.
What types of dentures are available?
The most common and well-known type of denture is a traditional full or partial denture but there are quite a few other options. Any type of denture is made of an acrylic base that is tinted to match the patient’s gum tissue and porcelain teeth that are tinted to match remaining natural teeth. Let’s take a closer look!
Traditional Full and Partial Dentures
A traditional denture is a removable dental prosthesis that replaces missing teeth. A full denture replaces an entire arch of teeth or even both arches and a partial denture replaces a few missing teeth in one area of the mouth. A full denture is held in place using suction and retention, adding denture adhesive when necessary. A full denture covers the entire upper arch including the roof of the mouth and a lower denture is horse shoe shaped to allow room for the tongue.
A partial denture attaches to healthy, neighboring teeth to be held in place using attachments on the partial that hook on. Both are easily removed by the patient for cleaning and sleeping. Traditional dentures, either full or partial, are placed six to eight weeks after any teeth are extracted.
An immediate denture is the same as a traditional denture but it is able to be placed immediately after extractions. Not everyone is a candidate for an immediate denture so speak with your dentist to see if this is an option for you.
A dental bridge is a partial denture that is permanently fixed in place. Patients that are missing only one or two teeth between healthy teeth may be able to receive this type of fixed denture. Instead of clasps, a dental bridge uses crowns to fix the bridge onto the neighboring teeth with a false tooth, or pontic, spanning the gap to replace the missing tooth. The downside to a dental bridge is that healthy tooth structure must be removed to make room for the crowns, otherwise, a dental bridge can be a great alternative to a removable partial denture.
A custom denture is typically made of more expensive materials. The denture is customized specifically for your smile to give it a natural looking appearance. The patient has an added benefit of being able to see their denture before it is placed.
And economy denture is a more generic denture so they have the disadvantage of not necessarily fitting properly and often look fake. Most economy dentures require a denture adhesive to ensure a secure fit. This is one of the more cost effective denture options.
Is there an alternative to traditional dentures?
While traditional partial and full dentures are removable, there is an option for patients who want a more permanent solution. Dental implants can be placed to stabilize a denture and can be a much more natural-looking and comfortable way to replace teeth.
A dental implant is a titanium or zirconia post that is surgically placed directly into the jaw bone by either an Oral Surgeon or Periodontist. Using a local anesthetic, your doctor will make a small incision in the gum tissue and then drill a small hole in the jaw bone in which the implant is inserted. Once in place, the gum tissue is stitched back up, leaving a small portion of the implant protruding through the gum onto which the implant restoration is secured.
Dental implants need a sufficient amount of bone structure for support. The implant will fuse with the bone and this integration provides a secure and stable base for the restoration. There is an extensive healing period of up to six months for proper integration before the restoration can be placed.
Dental implants have the added benefit of supporting bone structure. Tooth roots help stimulate bone regeneration and a dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root. When patients wear a traditional denture for a number of years, their bone structure can actually begin to deteriorate. This deterioration causes changes in facial structure and can cause the denture to become ill-fitting and uncomfortable.
Now let’s take a look at the different types of implant-supported dentures.
An implant-supported denture is just that, a denture that uses dental implants to be held in place. Implants can support a partial or full denture, using more implants for a full denture. This is one of the most natural-looking denture options available, unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive. Also called an all-on-four (or six), an implant-supported denture is a great option for patients who are willing to endure the extensive treatment time.
Implant-supported dentures can last much longer than traditional dentures which need to be replaced every ten years or so. Implant-supported dentures can easily last up to 25 years, only needing to be replaced due to normal wear and tear. This is a permanent denture that cannot be removed by the patient, only by a Dentist.
A snap-in denture is a bit more cost effective than an all-on-four but is just as stable and secure. This type of denture is still held in place using dental implants but is actually able to be removed by the patient.
If you are missing a significant number of teeth or have to have some extracted, speak with your Dentist to see what denture options are available and which will be best for your individual case and lifestyle.