A missing tooth is not something to smile about. Not only do we feel less confident with an incomplete smile, but the physical gap can lead to bone loss in the mouth and eventually your other teeth will start to shift.
A few options are available to replace missing teeth, such as dentures, a bridge, or implants. A dentist or oral surgeon will work with you to find the most suitable option. If the choice is narrowed down to dentures, then there are a variety available. This guide explores the different types of dentures so you can find what’s right for you.
When a patient needs all their teeth to be replaced, full dentures are the best choice. The teeth are either made from porcelain or acrylic and have a metal or acrylic base. Both lower and upper dentures rest on the gums. Suction or a denture adhesive keeps them in place. When maintained properly, complete dentures can last 10 years.
Dentures can also be designed to fill a gap created by missing teeth. Whether they’re on the top or bottom, it’s usually the best choice when the patient has natural teeth to work with. Many prefer partial dentures because you can continue eating foods you love. It also helps ease you into eventually wearing full dentures (should the time come). Partials have a pink-colored base attached to a metal piece, which holds the denture in place.
Often referred to as “removable crowns”, snap-on dentures are a very sustainable choice. They’re held in place with anchors attached to existing teeth. As its name implies, snap-on dentures are removable like partials and are a great choice when the patient doesn’t have teeth, but there is still enough healthy bone to support the implant.
IMPLANT SUPPORTED DENTURES
This option is popular because it’s very natural looking and also lasts a long time. An implant supported denture is made from a crown secured to implants that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Since the implant is fixed in place with screws, it’s a very durable option.
An overdenture sits on top of the gums, so it’s easily removable. However, thanks to dental implants that can hold the denture in place, over dentures work well on the upper and/or lower teeth.
MAINTAINING YOUR DENTURES
- It’s important to remove your dentures before bed. This prevents damage or accidentally dislodging them in your sleep. The time without your dentures is also good for your gums.
- Dentures, regardless of what kind, need to be cleaned every day. Plaque, tartar, and bacteria buildup on dentures, the way they would on your real teeth. Run your dentures under water to help dislodge any food particles. Don’t use a regular toothbrush, it’s likely to damage your denture. A denture brush with a denture cleaner or mild soap will do the trick.
- Be sure to also clean your gums and any natural teeth A very soft toothbrush is recommended. If that feels too harsh on your gums, try a washcloth.