Dentures are prosthetic devices designed to help patients with missing teeth, chew food, improve speaking habits, and improve the patient's facial aesthetics. The absence of teeth can lead to a sunken, collapsed appearance to the mouth-area. By restoring the physical presence of teeth, this malformation is corrected, the patient's mouth is supported and the appearance is improved by aesthetic standards.
Aesthetic dentures are custom crafted to provide a precise comfortable fit, and to enhance overall facial features. The color of the teeth is carefully selected and the natural differences in tooth shape and size are carefully chosen based on each individual's age, gender and unique facial qualities. In addition, dentures are made to replicate the gum tissue naturally while providing the proper structure and support for lips, cheeks and face.
Types of Dentures
There are three types of dentures:
Complete or full dentures are only required for people who have lost all or most of the teeth on either of the two arches of the mouth.
Fixed Partial Dentures
Most patients missing only a few teeth opt for fixed partial dentures, also known as "crown and bridge." These must be precisely installed, especially when in between healthy teeth.
Removable Partial Dentures
Removable partial dentures are different from fixed partial dentures in that they are normally only used by people who have lost too many teeth for fixed dentures, but too few for full dentures.
Stability of Dentures
A frequent issue with dentures is their ability to remain in place during usage. This is based on the following factors:
The denture may have a tendency to clasp tighter and tighter to the gums as the mouth chews food. The better the support, the less likely the denture is to move vertically closer to the arch upon which it is situated.
Movement in the horizontal plane, sometimes described as "slipping" front to back or side to side, can be hazardous to the patient. The quality of a denture base is responsible for preventing movement and maintaining continuous contact with the gums. However, this is heavily dependent on the patient's oral anatomy.
Retention describes the tendency of the denture to move vertically away from the gums, into the lumen of the mouth. The craftsmanship of the denture is tested here, as the better the intaglio or the inside of denture, copies the oral topography, the more effective the seal is.
Maxillary dentures, used for the top teeth, achieve better unification with toothless gums due to the improvement in suction from the smooth surface. However, mandibular dentures, used for the bottom teeth, are much more effective if the patient still retains some teeth.