If multiple teeth are missing, a denture is often the ideal way to replace those missing teeth and restore function to the mouth. When some teeth are still present, a partial denture is indicated. However, when all teeth are missing, a complete denture is needed.
A partial denture uses the remaining teeth to anchor and provide support to the denture. A metal framework provides a strong and rigid base, which acrylic denture teeth and pink acrylic “gums” restore the teeth and cover the metal framework.
A complete denture restores an edentulous (toothless) arch. Denture teeth are affixed to an acrylic base, and the denture base is fabricated to conform to the gums precisely to hopefully achieve a suction fit. However, this is very dependent on the amount of bone remaining.
The denture process involves a series of steps. First of all, impressions are taken to gain a precise representation of the existing teeth and gums. For a partial denture, some of the remaining teeth must be adjusted to provide areas for the denture to rest on the teeth. Next, the position of the denture teeth are determined using wax rims, and the denture tooth shape and shade are chosen. At the following appointment, the dentures are tried in provisionally with the teeth set in wax, and adjustments can still be made. Once the dentures are determined to fit correctly, the wax is then replaced with durable acrylic and the dentures are ready for the patient to wear. Often the dentures must be adjusted after the patient wears them to relieve any pressure spots that can irritate the gums.
Over time, the bone under the denture can still change shape, causing dentures that once fit well to now fit poorly and loosely. Generally, a simple relining of the denture can return the proper, secure fit to the denture. Be sure to visit Dr. Brazeal if the dentures ever cause irritation or don’t fit as well as they previously did.