When multiple teeth are missing from an arch, or a patient is completely edentulous (toothless) in one or both arches, dentures may be the best option. There are several different kinds of dentures, and Dr. Otto will discuss all options with you at your consultation in our Leavenworth office.
Benefits of Dentures
The benefits of dentures are many; spanning the range of physical, mental, and emotional. Benefits to denture wearers include:
- Restored function for chewing and speaking.
- Better nutrition, as food selections won't be as restricted.
- Better enjoyment of meals, thanks to chewing functionality.
- A more aesthetic appearance, thanks to dentures filling out the face.
- Self-esteem and self-confidence boosts.
What Are Dentures Made Of?
Most dentures are made of acrylic. The "teeth" are crafted from plastic or porcelain or a combination of the two materials. Upper dentures cover the palate (roof) of the mouth. Lower dentures are horseshoe-shaped so the tongue has freedom to move. Dentures can be fitted in the mouth using a variety of methods — some more permanent than others.
A removable partial denture is commonly created for a patient who is missing one or more teeth and for whom implants, bridges, or other options are unsuitable. Partial dentures are created out of a metal and acrylic composite (preferred for its structural superiority) or out of acrylic alone. Acrylic is often used for temporary partials, to be replaced with custom metal appliances.
When teeth are lost suddenly due to trauma or other causes, immediate dentures may be requested so the patient doesn't have to experience being toothless. Any remaining teeth or tooth fragments are removed, and the dentures are fabricated and placed in the mouth immediately while the gums heal underneath.
Conventional dentures are generally part of a treatment plan that starts with the extraction of remaining teeth, a short interval without teeth while the gums heal, then creation of a customized denture. A conventional denture may be fabricated as an upper only, lower only, or combination of both arches.
Implant Retained Dentures
For patients missing all of their teeth in either the upper or lower arch (or both), implant retained dentures may ultimately be the most comfortable and hassle free option.
Maintaining Your Dentures
You can expect to revisit the dentist regularly over the months and years following denture creation. An annual examination by Dr. Otto will be required to ensure the fit is still good, and alterations may need to be made at intervals to keep you comfortable. We'll also track your medical and dental history, as there are many conditions that can cause changes to the way your dentures fit.
Part of the annual exam will be an oral scan to check for any cancerous or precancerous lesions. Bone and tissue changes will also be checked for, as ill-fitting dentures can cause problems. We can assess your condition and the condition of your dentures and recommend revisions if needed.
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