If you’re missing one or more teeth, consider dentures as a replacement option. But which type of denture is right for you – complete or partial? Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide.
The first significant difference between complete and partial dentures is that complete (also known as full) dentures replace all of your natural teeth. On the other hand, partial dentures only replace some of your teeth.
To be fitted for complete dentures, you can’t have any of your remaining natural teeth. This means you must undergo a dental examination and tooth extraction before being fitted or wearing your new set of teeth. Your full dentures come out when you sleep and need to be brushed with special cleaning agents and soaked in water overnight to keep them from getting dry.
Complete dentures give wearers a natural look, so nobody needs to know you’re wearing them. They also feel very comfortable. You place them into your mouth over your gums, and they suction into place.
Complete dentures can be categorized as either “conventional” or “immediate.” Once the teeth have been removed, and the gum tissue has begun healing, a conventional denture is ready for placement. This will generally take 8-12 weeks after removing the original teeth.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance of the procedure. This allows for them to be positioned as soon as the teeth have been removed. As a result, the patient does not have to be without teeth during the 8-12 week healing period. But keep in mind that the bones and gums shrink and may shrink during the healing period following tooth removal. The disadvantage of immediate dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process. That’s why they typically should only be considered a temporary solution until traditional dentures can be made.
Partial dentures only replace one or more missing teeth in a row. They work like complete dentures by representing your gums and missing tooth/teeth but are much smaller so that they fit only where you have gaps between natural teeth. The partial denture clasps adjacent teeth on each side of the gap.
A removable partial denture – or bridge – usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base and sometimes connected by a metal framework that holds the denture into place.
If some natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw, partial dentures are the best option. In this case, a fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space. The artificial teeth are then attached to them. This “bridge” is then set in place with cement. A partial denture fills the gaps left by absent teeth and keeps other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments instead of clasps that attach to the surrounding crowns. This gives a more natural appearance.
Are There Alternatives to Dentures?
Dental implants are quickly becoming the popular alternative to dentures, but only some are candidates for them. Implants can support cemented bridges and resemble natural teeth more closely than dentures. They also tend to cost more.
Dental implants may also offer more support for dentures. For advice about dental implants, please consult your dentist.
How Are Dentures Made?
The process of creating dentures usually takes a few weeks and multiple appointments. After your dentist or prosthodontist decides what type of appliance is right for you, they will take the following steps:
- Make a series of impressions and measure how your jaws relate and how much space is between them.
- The first step for creating a denture is to make an exact model of the desired shape and size. This mold will be used several times in the process, and each time it will be assessed for color, fit, and comfort before the final product is cast.
- Cast the final denture
- Adjustments will be made as necessary.
How do New Dentures Feel?
At first, new dentures may cause muscle discomfort as the cheeks and tongue get used to them. Also, you might experience minor irritation or soreness and increased saliva flow when wearing them – these are all common and should improve over time as your mouth adjusts.
Will Eating With New Dentures Be Difficult?
Getting used to eating with your new dentures will take some time, and you may experience discomfort for a few weeks. Start with softer foods cut into small pieces to get accustomed to your new denture. Start slowly chewing on both sides of your mouth to get used to your new dentures. As you become more comfortable, add other foods to your diet until you return to eating normally. Beware of hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells. And stay away from foods that are extremely sticky or hard. Finally, you should avoid chewing gum and using toothpicks while wearing dentures.
Are Dentures Worn 24 Hours a Day?
After you receive your dentures, your dentist or prosthodontist will tell you how long to wear them and when to take them out. For the first few days, you may need to keep them in all day and night. Doing this may not be comfortable at first, but you will be able to identify which areas of the denture need to be adjusted. You should take your dentures out before bed to give your gum tissue a chance to rest. This also allows for regular stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. You can then put your denture back in place in the morning.
Partial dentures are an excellent option for people who still have some healthy teeth left in their mouth. However, complete dentures may be better if you’re missing several teeth. We can help you decide which type of denture is right for your needs and provide you with the best care. Don’t forget that other tooth replacement options are available beyond dentures – we can discuss those with you at your next appointment. Contact our office today to learn more or schedule your appointment!