Dentures Are An Effective Tooth Replacement Option
When it comes to tooth replacement, did you know that you have options? Dentures are one of those options and are popular for a few reasons. Most importantly, dentures can be used with a large variety of patients, so if other replacement options aren’t a good match, dentures may be the best choice.
Dentures have also come a long way in just the last 10 years. Modern dentures are more comfortable, look better, and function better than previous designs.
If You’re Missing One or More Teeth, You Should Consider Dentures
As mentioned, dentures are an option for most patients, whether you’re missing one tooth or several. In fact, dentures can be designed to replace an entire row of teeth.
And if you are missing teeth, it’s essential that you consider a replacement as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think dentures are the right fit for you.
The primary reason why is because a missing tooth can put other teeth and oral structures at risk. Once a tooth goes missing, biting and chewing forces are transferred through the mouth differently. This can place additional pressure on remaining teeth and into the gums and jaw. If left unaddressed, a single missing tooth can result in much worse, including more missing teeth.
Specifically, though, here’s why dentures are a popular option for Houston patients:
- Affordability – Compared to other tooth replacement options, like bridges and implants, dentures are less expensive. If budgeting is a concern, dentures provide critical benefits for less cost.
- Appearance – Modern dentures are color matched to the patient and made with resins that look more like natural teeth. The result is a better, more natural looking smile.
- Needed dental support – Dentures aren’t the optimal choice for preserving the jawbone (implants are the best option for that), but they will preserve the function of your mouth so that other natural teeth aren’t compromised.
Partial Dentures, Full Dentures and Bridges – What’s the Difference?
You might hear dentures occasionally referred to as partial or full dentures. You might hear them compared to bridges, too. Here’s a look at all three so you know the difference:
- Partial dentures – Partial dentures are recommended for patients that are only missing one or two teeth or when the adjacent teeth aren’t strong enough to handle something like a bridge.
Partial dentures are designed to fit easily in the mouth down to the gum line. They’re secured by fitting onto adjacent teeth but can be quickly removed for cleaning purposes.
- Full dentures – Full dentures are designed to replace an entire row of teeth and also fit down to the gum line. They can replace a top or bottom row of teeth and can be fastened in the mouth using an oral adhesive or with suction.
- Bridges – Bridges are similar to dentures – in fact they’re often referred to as “fixed partial dentures.” Unlike removable dentures, though, they’re fitted over and anchored to the existing adjacent teeth. Bridges are a longer lasting option compared to dentures, but they can only be placed if existing teeth are strong enough to support the replacement.
Depending on your oral health, any of the three may be a viable option for replacing your teeth. A dentist can help select the right choice for you.
How Are Dentures Made and Placed in the Mouth?
One of the reasons why patients select dentures is the ease of placement. The process is typically pretty quick and comes with minimal discomfort. This is how it goes:
- If needed, the damaged teeth are removed – In many cases, tooth removal is recommended before the teeth are actually lost. Damage and decay, for example, may indicate replacement. If so, the teeth are extracted, and the mouth is given a chance to heal.
- Impressions are taken, maybe more than once – Every mouth is unique, which means every bite is unique. It’s important to match the replacement dentures to the patient’s natural bite to ensure function and comfort, and dentists rely on impressions to do this.
Impressions are taken with a soft putty-like material that the patient bites into. These impressions show the patient’s bite in detail and are used by dental lab technicians to create the final denture.
In many instances, the patient will need to take multiple impressions over more than one visit to ensure a perfectly matched bite.
- The dentures are fabricated at a dental lab – The impressions are used as a guide by the lab technician to produce a custom-fit denture. The process takes several days and it may be a couple weeks before your final denture is ready.
- The dentures are fitted into the mouth and tested – Before the final denture is fitted, though, a temporary wax or plastic version may be tried in the mouth. If there are any issues during this fitting, the final denture can be adjusted for optimal fit.
- If needed, adjustments are made to ensure comfort – Before long, the final denture will be ready for the patient. The fit is tested immediately as a final check for any comfort-related issues. It’s typical for the dentist to schedule a follow-up visit a couple weeks following placement, to again check for any problems with fit or comfort.
Once your denture is ready, it’s important to maintain proper oral hygiene and to clean the dentures as directed each day to extend its life. And, of course, preserving your remaining natural teeth will ensure the denture continues fitting.
There’s no need to wait before replacing your missing tooth. The longer you do, the more likely it is that other teeth will sustain damage.
Meyerland Family Dentistry can help you avoid these issues with dentures that are customized for you. That way, you can restore your bite and your smile with confidence.