Dentures are a "replacement" option for missing teeth. Dentures come in two variations: partial dentures and complete or full dentures. The difference between the two lies in how many natural teeth are replaced in the mouth.
For some of our patients, removal is the only option because the condition of the teeth has deteriorated so far that they can no longer be repaired.
This type of denture is a removable appliance held in place by gripping the remaining healthy teeth, usually with metal clasps or wires. Often called a "partial," this type of denture is often used when only some of the teeth are missing.
A partial denture allows all missing teeth in the same arch (either the upper or the lower) to be replaced with one appliance. A partial denture is inherently much more stable and therefore more comfortable than a complete denture. There are many factors that help us to determine if you are a candidate for tooth replacement with a partial denture. Among these factors, the health of the gums and the shape of the anchor teeth are most important.
Partial Denture or Dental Implant?
The metal clasps are usually visible and sometimes affect the beauty of your smile. There are options available such as tooth-colored clasps if your dentist feels that will work for you.
Partial dentures can be designed to allow for the future loss of teeth that may not be as healthy as the rest. Alternatives to partial dentures include bridges, implants, and occasionally, full dentures.
A complete denture is a removable prosthesis of white plastic teeth in a pink gum-colored plastic base that rests on the remaining gum ridge once all of the teeth in the arch have been removed.
It is important to note that wearing an upper and/or lower denture is a major lifestyle change when compared to natural teeth. Dentures impact the type of food you are able to eat, your self-confidence in social situations, and even your self-esteem. However, with advances in dental technology, implant-retained dentures are becoming an option, giving the patient both a natural looking smile, and a fully functioning mouth.
Reasons for a Full Denture
An upper full denture will almost always feel better than a lower full denture. In order to dramatically improve the fit of a lower full denture, we frequently suggest using dental implants as a retentive mechanism. Dental implants placed in the lower jaw can help anchor the denture and significantly improve comfort. Sometimes, the implants can even be placed in the jaw after a denture has been in use for several years.