Dental implants are screws that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. The screws integrate into the jawbone. After healing, a denture can be attached.
For most people with a complete upper denture, a good fit can be achieved. Upper implants are usually not necessary. However, fitting a complete lower denture is challenging due to the shape of the bone and the presence of the tongue and other muscles. If you are having trouble with the fit of a lower denture, implanted attachments may be the answer.
Three elements play a role in fitting dentures – support, stability and retention.
Implants can improve support, stability and especially retention. Dental implants are expensive. In some cases, as with a sliding lower complete denture that fits too loosely, they can be worth the effort and cost. Weigh the long-term benefits when considering investing in this option.
The six main reasons to replace missing teeth include:
As far as looks go, missing front teeth are a particular concern. They can affect your ability to speak and pronounce words. A denture is the least expensive and quickest way to solve this problem. It is usually the a placeholder for future treatment with a bridge or implant.
If many back teeth are missing or teeth are excessively worn down, the tongue may grow large and the jaw joints may become sore. Missing teeth may also affect neighbouring teeth, which can overerupt or drift forward. This poses a problem with chewing.
As the number of teeth decreases, so does the efficiency of mastication (the ability to chew one’s food).
A combination of any of these factors can affect your psychological well-being. Depending on the situation, dentures can help fix these problems.
Two types of dentures exist – removable and fixed. Removable dentures are one of the most common and cost-effective methods. As the name implies, they are false teeth that can be taken in and out of the mouth. Fixed dentures, known as bridges, are false teeth cemented in place to teeth adjacent to the gap. Here, we focus on removable dentures.
Removable dentures are classified based on the number of missing teeth they replace and the length of time they will be worn. As such, dentures are either complete (replacing all teeth in a jaw) or partial (replacing some teeth in a jaw). They are either conventional/definitive (long-term) or interim/immediate (short-term).
Why would someone need a short-term denture? If front teeth are lost unexpectedly, as from a fall on ice, appearance is dramatically affected. A quick replacement is required. This can be done with an immediate (flipper) partial denture.
A short-term denture may also be used when all teeth in an upper or lower jaw are removed. A denture can be made in advance to insert at the same appointment. Such a denture is called an interim/immediate complete denture.
In either case, following tooth loss, the bone and gums of the jaw remodel or change shape as they heal. This process typically takes nine to 12 months. During this time, the fit of the denture changes, requiring periodic relining to achieve a good fit. Once healing is complete and tissues are stable, a long-term denture can be made.
In the case of missing front teeth, a bridge or implant may be used.
Dentures fit well thanks to the dentist’s skill, the wearer’s care and maintenance, and a healthy relationship between the two. Naturally, there are always exceptions to the rule. The bone of the jaws will resorb, or shrink over time. The speed and extent of this depends on several factors. Genetics, the amount of time teeth have been missing, underlying diseases such as osteoporosis, and damage from poorly fitted dentures all play a role.
|Complete removable dentures - upper and lower||Removable cast metal partial denture||Cast of teeth||Cast of teeth with fixed partial denture (bridge)||Removable interim partial denture|
If any of the following situations are familiar to you, you should talk with your dental practitioner.
Poor oral hygiene, improper denture cleansing, and overworn or ill-fitting dentures can affect oral tissues. Epulis fissuratum is red, excess tissue growths and folds in the mouth.
Inflammatory papillary hyperplasia is many pebble-like projections of tissue, usually found on the roof of the mouth. Fungal issues may result and often require prescription medication for treatment. Talk with your dental practitioner, and maintain regular six to 12 month check-ups.
Canadian Dental Association’s section
My Complete Guide to Dentures
Your Oral Health, Ontario Dental Association’s section on dentures
An interim/immediate denture is used before making the final (definitive) denture. This short-term version typically lasts nine to 12 months, with relining done as needed. A definitive denture usually lasts five to seven years, with relining every two years.
To get the best from your dentures, keep the following tips in mind.
Whether you are considering a denture for the first time or have worn one for decades, the right fit can help solve your oral health issues. For more information on available options, talk to your dental practitioner.