What Are Dentures?
The purpose of dentures is to replace missing teeth. They should also provide support for the lips and cheeks around the missing teeth. Modern technology has made it possible for dentures to be made that look very much like real teeth. The natural look of dentures means that there will be a noticeable change in the aesthetics of your smile!
Partial dentures – If a patient still retains one or more of his original teeth, he will need partial dentures. These partial dentures will replace only the specific teeth that are missing and will be attached to plastic base which is then held in place in the mouth. In some cases, the set of partial dentures may be cemented into place using the remaining natural teeth for support. Not only are the missing teeth replaced, but the remaining natural teeth are supported so that they will not shift. When the partial denture is an upper denture, it will cover the roof of the mouth and normally the base will be flesh colored. If the partial denture is a lower denture, it will leave room for the tongue with a horseshoe-shaped design.
Complete dentures – Some patients have lost all of their natural teeth due to extraction or some type of accident. These patients will need a complete set of dentures. The patient is able to have his complete smile restored with custom-fit dentures that are positioned to take the place of his natural teeth. These dentures are removable and will require occasional dentist appointments for minor readjustments.
It is common for dentures to need replacement approximately every 15 years because of wear and realignment. Also, because dentures cannot protect the actual jawbone, the bone slowly dissolves in any place where the original teeth are gone. The jaw alignment begins to change as the bone dissolves away. It will be necessary for a patient with dentures to have regular checkups to monitor these issues.