What are the different types of dentures?
For people who have lost teeth due to accidents or periodontal disease, dentures offer a way to rebuild their smile. Dentures serve as a replacement for missing teeth. When all of the teeth are missing, a complete denture is used. If some of the natural teeth remain, a partial denture is used. These are the main types of dentures, though there are many variations.
Complete dentures, also known as a complete plate or full dentures, come in two forms. The first, known as conventional, are placed about three to four months after any remaining natural teeth are removed. The second option is immediate dentures, which are made in advance and placed in the mouth immediately after any natural teeth have been removed. The downside of the immediate approach is that bones and gums shrink after tooth removal, so immediate dentures require more adjustments during the healing process. In some cases, immediate dentures are used only as a temporary solution until the conventional dentures are ready.
Partial dentures are a removable set of replacement teeth, usually attached to a plastic base colored to match the gums. This is connected to metal framework which holds the denture in the mouth. Partial dentures are less dependent on suction to keep them in place; instead, they are attached with special clips.
Partial dentures work in a similar manner to a dental bridge. Like a bridge, a partial denture replaces one or more missing teeth. A partial denture is usually removable, unlike a bridge, which is cemented to crowns on the surrounding teeth. Partial dentures are usually used when some natural teeth remain but their condition, number, or distribution in the mouth do not make it possible to secure a bridge.
One type of dentures is known as an overdenture. With overdentures, the natural root of the tooth is preserved, in order to delay the bone loss that occurs after an entire tooth is removed. A metal attachment is placed on top of the root, and the overdenture snaps onto this attachment. Many people report that overdentures feel more like real teeth because the natural roots result in increased sensation.
While most dentures are held in place using suction, adhesive, or metal attachments to the natural teeth, one category of dentures is attached to dental implants. Dental implants consist of titanium screws inserted into the jawbone. Most often, these metal screws are used to replace a single tooth. However, they may also be used to anchor a full or partial set of dentures in place.
Dentures also vary in the materials used. The false teeth in dentures are typically made of plastic, porcelain, or metal, while the base is acrylic or plastic.
With so many options available, it can be difficult to know which type of dentures are right for you. Your dentist will help you determine which type of dentures makes the most sense for your situation. What type of denture is right for you depends on your goals and the condition of your gums and any remaining natural teeth, among other factors.