What are Dentures?
Complete dentures are prosthetic replacement for all of the teeth in one or both dental arches. They are necessary when teeth have needed to be removed because of rampant extensive tooth decay, severe gum disease, severe dental trauma, or treatment for cancer.
How are they made?
Typically, denture teeth are made of a type of plastic called methyl methacrylic that is often filled with ceramic, glass, or resin particles to mimic the appearance of natural teeth. There are many different brands of denture teeth, and the clinician chooses which brand, mould, shape, and color of the teeth to use with artistic skill combined with an understanding of the patient’s anatomical and functional needs. The denture teeth are then chemically annealed to the artificial gums (also made of gum-colored acrylic) using heat in a dental laboratory. The gums of dentures can be custom-stained by some technicians to appear quite realistic.
What is their durability?
Dentures, no matter how well they are made, still can only provide approximately 40% of the chewing capacity of healthy natural teeth. This is why most dentists do everything they can to help people keep their natural teeth for as long as possible. Once teeth are lost, bone loss (or resorption) occurs throughout a person’s life because the bones of the jaw were created to function under the heavy stress of individual teeth. Dentures distribute chewing forces over the entire edentulous (toothless) ridge, which is a great deal less force than individual teeth apply to the jaw bone. This phenomenon is often referred to as disuse atrophy.
If appropriate attention to detail in diagnosis, tooth selection, bite design, impressions, and recording the bite are taken, complete dentures can be a reasonable alternative to dental implant replacement therapy.
When complete dentures are supplemented by even two dental implants on the lower arch, the results can be very satisfying.
VIDEO: Removable Complete Dentures
Retaining Dentures with Implants
Fortunately, dental implants can be used in many situations to help keep dentures in place. There are many kinds of attachments that can be used to clip dentures to dental implants. Two implants can help with comfort by keeping a lower denture from shifting around. Multiple implants can be placed to make dentures that clip on and off to a milled or cast bar that connects to the implants or even to screw a denture into place. Dental implants are not for everyone because appropriate and adequate anatomy has to exist, and the cost for dental implants can grow quite quickly. However, most denture wearers who have opted for dental implants—if the dentures are made properly—are very satisfied.
Implants can help secure and make dentures comfortable.