Full and Partial Dentures
There are different types of dentures, but they share a common function, they replace missing teeth. When bone loss around the roots of teeth is great enough to loosen them or teeth become fractured due to trauma or extensive decay, a full or partial denture may be the answer.
Relax. No one enjoys losing their natural teeth, but you can still eat and talk regularly.The entire mouth is examined and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed, and which will remain. The affected teeth are then extracted. Dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth, depending on the type. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, but once accustomed to the dentures, all the normal functionality and appearance return and one just carries on as usual. Often implants can used to further stabilize the dentures.
A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. This permanent solution has the advantages over bridge work that it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the shaft.
Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures, and has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period to acclimate the patient who, once the work is done, only feels teeth, not metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss occasioned by missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating, and they don’t have to be taken out all the time.
This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and it takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or aesthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward since teeth use their neighbors for support. When one is missing, they start to “fall”. As this becomes worse, the bite changes in response to the pressure. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw or TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they also become problematic. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.