Undoubtedly, we’d all like to hold onto our natural teeth for as long as possible. If you practice good oral hygiene, avoid food and drinks that cause tooth decay and visit your dentist for regular check-ups, you might just be able to. There are, however, many reasons why some patients will eventually require dentures. Luckily dentistry has evolved significantly, meaning that there is a variety of comfortable and discreet prosthetic options available should it become necessary to remove painful or damaged teeth.
If one or more of your natural teeth are still intact, you may be able to wear a partial denture. False teeth are attached to a plastic or metal plate which fits into the gap where your teeth would have been. The plate is secured with clips, and, depending on which area of the mouth the denture fits into, the clips may or may not be visible.
Cast metal partial dentures
This type of denture is considered to be one of the strongest and longest lasting. It is usually made from an alloy of cobalt and chromium. The metal frame isn’t actually visible because it’s covered by a gum-coloured acrylic plastic.
Why choose these?
Flexible partial dentures
The flexible partial denture is made from a heat sensitive nylon material and has a very convincing appearance, blending naturally into the gum. Your dentist may suggest this option if you find the metal denture uncomfortable or suffer from any allergies. The piece fits easily into the mouth and should require minimal adjustment to the teeth.
Why choose these?
- Natural appearance
Acrylic Partial Denture (Flipper)
In most cases, this is a cheaper, short-term use denture which your dentist may offer to tide you over while you wait for your metal or flexible denture. It’s considerably bulkier and more obvious than its counterparts. The acrylic dentures will have metal clips which secure to your natural teeth, depending on where those are, the clips may be visible when smiling or speaking.
Why choose these?
- Prevent tooth movement while gums heal.
- Use in the interim while waiting for your more long-term denture.
- Lower price.
In some scenarios, all teeth may need to be removed at once; or you may have had them taken out sequentially. Whatever the predicament, the gaps left by missing teeth could make eating and speaking very difficult for the patient. In this case, you may require a full set of dentures. There are two kinds.
Complete (Conventional) Dentures
Once the dentist has completed the procedure of removing all of the teeth, your gums will be allowed to heal. After this period, a mould of your oral cavity will be made in order to form the dentures. Unfortunately, there could be a long wait before the process is fully complete.
Unlike the conventional dentures, you won’t have to leave your dentist’s practice without your teeth. There will still be a full tooth extraction; however, you will be fitted with the dentures on the same day. Immediate dentures will help to control the bleeding and protect your gums. You will be able to adapt your speaking right away, as well as look forward to eating normally much quicker. Admittedly, this is a more expensive option, and there is always the risk that your gums and jaw bone may alter in the healing process, requiring adjustments to the denture.
So, what should you choose?
The great news is, that unlike the generations of the past, the stigma and discomfort caused by dentures is significantly minimised by the modern, adaptable and natural looking dentures available today.
The type of dentures you choose will depend on the number of missing teeth and whether your remaining natural teeth are in a condition to support the partial dentures. Your dentures will be custom made and carefully fitted to ensure that you are able to continue living life without embarrassment or hindrance to your everyday activities. Speak to your dentist to find out how partial or complete dentures could restore your confidence.