Dentures are used when a person is missing teeth. They can improve a person’s self-confidence and smile. They can also be beneficial in helping them speak clearly and have the ability to eat certain foods. Individuals with missing teeth may use full or partial dentures.
Complete, or full dentures are made out of a base that is constructed of plastic that is the same color as the gums. The base supports an entire set of porcelain or plastic teeth. Traditionally, full dentures were held in the mouth because it could form a seal with the gums. Dental implants can also be placed in the jaw bones surgically to hold dentures in place. This is a more expensive option than traditional dentures.
Partial dentures can also be made with a plastic base, or they may use a metal framework. A partial doesn’t hold a complete set of teeth like full dentures, but are large enough to replace missing teeth. For removable dentures, the metal or plastic framework holding the teeth are held in place using clasps that are adapted around natural teeth. However, there is also the option of fixed dentures. Fixed partial dentures are constructed by placing crowns on teeth adjacent to the opening created by missing teeth. The crowns help anchor a bridge that the artificial tooth or teeth are attached to. A fixed partial bridge helps prevent remaining teeth from moving around in the empty space created by missing teeth.
New dentures, whether they are partial or full, can feel a little odd when a patient first starts wearing them. Once the muscles in the tongue and cheek get used to the new feel and fit, they are barely noticeable. Most dentures today have the look and feel of natural teeth and many can’t tell the difference.