Dentures are appliances used to replace missing teeth. Partial dentures replace some of the missing teeth in an arch, while full dentures replace all the teeth. There are several ways to hold either type of denture in place, and your dentist can discuss the various options with you at your initial consultation appointment. Well-fitting dentures allow patients to chew properly and smile with confidence.
Partial dentures are used to replace missing teeth, when several good teeth are still present in an arch. These replacement teeth are held in place by "clasps" or support anchors that grip on to stable teeth, and hold the appliance in place. Partial dentures can be made of tooth-colored acrylic, or strengthened with a metal substructure.
Flex Partial Dentures
Full Dentures are used to replace all teeth that are missing in an upper or lower jaw. They are made of a gum tissue-colored acrylic (a hardened plastic material) base, and very natural-looking porcelain or acrylic teeth. Dentures are held in place by suction, however when a patient's jaws are too shrunken or small to adequately support a denture, they can be stabilized by implants.
Here's an example of a full denture stabilized by implants. The brass fittings imbedded in the denture snap down on to the silver implant fixtures, and securely holds the denture in place. This is much more effective than denture adhesives for keeping dentures in place.
Some patients with loosely-fitting full dentures can benefit from Overdentures. These types of dentures can be used on both the upper or lower arches. Many patients who have completely given up on wearing their ill-fitting dentures can experience a dramatic change in their chewing ability with these very simple, yet effective appliances. Overdentures are essentially full dentures with tiny elastic fittings imbedded in the areas contacting the gum tissue. These fittings fit snugly on to metal pegs, called "abutments", which emerge from the gum line. Sometimes these pegs are attached to a natural tooth, but more frequently, they're attached to an implant. Most overdentures have between 2-6 abutments in order to provide for proper stabilization. This is an ideal solution for patients looking for a lower cost alternative to an "All-on-Four" fixed bridge.