Losing teeth — full or partial – isn’t just a self-image issue. It can also lead to an increased risk of developing other health issues. Fortunately, Dr. Leach and the experts at Steven Leach dental offer the time-tested remedy to this condition: dentures.
Dentures are one option among many for replacing missing teeth (others include bridegework, implants, etc). Each approach has pros and cons and should be discussed with an expert at Steven Leach Dental. Dentures also come in several varieties, from partial to overdentures (which are supported by implants).
Full or partial dentures are prosthetic teeth, connected to a gum-colored base. These prosthetic teeth are built to look and function just like your natural teeth. The gum-colored base is made of a plastic resin that sits over the bone ridge that formerly held your teeth.
Dentures are held in place primarily via suction. This suction is created by fitting the dentures properly and closely to the alveolar (bone) ridges. Upper dentures also get support from the large surface area of the palate (roof of the mouth), which adds extra stability.
Dentures may require some acclimation. At first, as the dentures become “balanced” in the space that formerly held your natural teeth, talking and eating may take some adjustment. Over time, however, the muscles, nerves and ligaments in your mouth adapt to new ways of working. As an additional benefit, dentures also help support the facial skeleton, lips and cheeks. This can lead to a more youthful appearance.
Immediate dentures are often used as a transition to full dentures. When a tooth is extracted, for example, the muscular adjustment and gum shrinkage that accompany that procedure necessitate temporary (immediate) dentures. Permanent dentures will be fitted when healing is complete. Immediate dentures, while not permanent, provide new teeth right away, and give your muscles and nerves time to adjust.
After a period of time to heal, permanent dentures can be created. These dentures will be fabricated with near-perfect accuracy in order to fit your mouth, to look natural and to function properly for as long as possible.
In order to increase stability,some dentures may be anchored using two or more dental implants. Dentures placed on the upper jaw, which has less bone density than the lower jaw, require three or more implants to anchor properly. Many patients find this option comfortable and functional.
Relatively inexpensive, these removable plastic dentures serve as temporary teeth and help maintain space as you heal from other dental procedures (e.g extraction). Once healed, permanent dental implants can be installed.
Typically crafted from cast vitallium, these metal-based partial dentures are lighter and less obtrusive than plastic. Though they are more expensive than plastic dentures, they will fit better. And, they are MUCH less expensive than dental implants or fixed bridgework.
Dentures are an impressive blend of artistry and science!
The first step in the process is taking impressions (molds) of the alveolar (bone) ridges of your upper and lower jaw. This impression is used by the lab to create the base of your dentures. Dr Leach works with lab technicians to select the best combination of denture size, shape and color.
“Balancing” your dentures is crucial for normal speech and normal eating with your new dentures. As you bite, upper and lower dentures come together and stabilize one another. Form and fit function are carefully checked to ensure proper denture functionality.
If you’ve recently lost teeth, tissue shrinkage and bone loss is normal. During this time you will be wearing immediate dentures, and their fit may change as your tissues heal. Once this happens, Dr. Leach offers two options: Have the immediate dentures relined or move to a set of full dentures. Relining dentures involves adding material to the base to create a better fit. Moving to a set of full dentures is typically the better option, as it offers a better fit and is a longer lasting solution.
When cared for properly, dentures offer a economical, functional and aesthetically pleasing remedy to tooth loss.