Replace missing teeth at our Stockton CA office

What are Dentures and Partials?

Dentures and partials are not a replacement for teeth; they are a replacement for missing teeth. When one realizes that, then one can then discuss the positives and negatives. When teeth are lost, not only are the teeth missing but the surrounding tissue and bone shrink and resorb when the root is no longer present.

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Complete Dentures

Complete dentures are made when all the teeth are missing or all the teeth on one or both arches will be removed. Again, an immediate denture is made and inserted right after all teeth in an arch are removed. Conventional dentures are a more lengthy process and they are made after the ridge on an arch has healed from having the teeth removed.

The process of a conventional denture is that an initial impression of the ridge is made. This is fairly quick. Then a tray is made for a custom impression. The tray is fitted to the mouth and then the borders are molded with how your lips, tongue and muscles move. Then several more appointments allow the arch or arches to be related to each other so that the teeth can be set on the denture to allow a natural look and smile. The amount of thickness of the denture is determined to make the tissues of the face natural as well as the smile, speech and function of the teeth as natural and comfortable as possible. The patient can approve the look of the teeth prior to processing so you know exactly how it will look when finished. Changes can be made to the denture up to this point.

Ideal Candidates for Dentures

First of all one must understand that dentures are a replacement for no teeth, not a replacement for teeth. They do not act like normal teeth but dentures can be an excellent replacement when one has few to no teeth left or restorable. Generally when the remaining teeth are decayed or abcessed to a point where they are not restorable or the periodontal disease has destroyed the support of the bone around the teeth, then dentures are a consideration for replacement of hopeless teeth.

Dr. Janice Scott gives a free set of Dentures to a Patient

Dental Implants vs Dentures

Dental Implants can be one for each missing tooth, several for a bridge or 2 or 4 or more to support a denture.  For single tooth implants, the crown over the implant is fabricated to assimilate a tooth and is cemented onto the implant post.  This allows for the tooth to be flossed and brushed like a natural tooth.  Implants are fixed in the bone and are restored once the bone fuses to the implant.

Generally the implant is more expensive and must have adequate bone support to be successful. Bone and gum grafts are often used with implants for greater support of the tooth and tissue.  Dentures on the other hand are often used when bone is inadequate to place an implant. Dentures are less expensive than multiple implants but do not have the same chewing ability.  It takes a little longer to get adjusted to a complete denture or removable partial, especially if a person has never worn one.  With patience, many patients learn to function and smile fully with their removable denture and/or partial.  Time and practice and faithfully wearing your appliance is critical to the successful use of your denture.

Advantages of Dentures

Advantages of Dentures are that they are much less expensive than implants. Disadvantages are that they cover the palate which causes a decrease in taste sensations. The retention of the denture depends on the amount of ridge available. The chewing ability is about 10% of natural teeth and chewing with a denture takes time to learn to chew differently so as to not unseat the denture. Also sore spots can develop, which can be adjusted.

What to expect during the Denture/Partial Procedure

Study model impressions are taken to chose the size and shape of the new denture teeth as well as an opportunity to study the bite relationship and help create a more aesthetic and functional prosthesis. On a denture the master impression is made. On a removable partial, the teeth are prepared to receive the partial and a master impression is made and poured immediately. A try-in appointment is made so that the teeth, set in wax, can be evaluated for the patients approval and function. Once processed the denture or partial is adjusted to relieve sore spots, given for the patient to wear, home care instructions given and the denture is checked as needed.

Caring for your Dentures

Generally the “denture brushes” are more abrasive. Using a regular toothbrush and toothpaste is good. If tarter builds up, then soaking in white vinegar, for a couple hours, can help to dissolve the calcium deposits on the denture. Be careful not to drop and break your denture. Also dogs like to chew on dentures and partials. If you have a dog, be sure that you put your denture away carefully!

How long do Dentures last?

Dentures often need to be relined every 2-5 years. The teeth on the denture can also wear and eventually a denture may need to be replaced. An upper denture often has greater retention and suction than a lower denture. The retention of a lower denture can often be enhanced with two or four implants on the lower arch, giving much greater ability to chew and function. Better chewing allows better digestion of the food that you eat.

Should I remove my Dentures at night?

One will often have increase saliva flow with a new stayplate, denture or removable partial. This will decrease with time. Also speech is often affected and can be improved with reading out loud with the new appliance.

The oral tissue needs a break. Just like you would not wear a glove for 24 hours, a denture should be removed at night to give the tissue a rest. This will lessen the swelling and redness of the tissue and allow it to stay healthy.

Alternatives to Dentures

If there are still teeth remaining that can be saved then sometimes a bridge or a partial can be made. A bridge is a fixed appliance that is cemented over prepared teeth where a tooth or teeth are missing between the natural teeth. It looks and feels more like a natural tooth but it is a little more difficult to clean around. A removable partial is a bridge that comes in and out of the mouth and replaces the teeth that have been lost in the mouth. A third alternative is dental implants. Dental implants are made of titanium and placed in the bone, allowed to heal, then a crown or bridge is made to fit on top of the implant. A good foundation of bone in critical for the success of implants. Also implants can be more expensive.

A thorough dental examination can reveal to you all your options so you can choose the treatment that is right for you.

Can I get teeth right away if I have to have my teeth removed?

For a complete denture where all the teeth one one or both arches are removed, an immediate denture can be made off the impression of the existing teeth that will be extracted. The negative to this is that the extraction sites can be sore and one must be prepared more more sore areas and adjustments. Often a soft liner is placed under the denture to cushion against the sore ridges. If some of the teeth are having to be removed, but not all, then one can make a retainer with a few teeth, to replace the missing teeth or teeth to be extracted.

This temporary partial or stayplate can be made fairly quickly so one does not have to go without teeth. The temporary partial is more for aesthetics and less for function. On a complete denture, after a year it is generally recommended to have a reline of the denture to fill in the voids from the tissue healing. On a temporary partial, once the ridge has healed, the permanent partial can be made.

Removable Partial Dentures

Removable partials are made to replace missing teeth when some teeth are still present. When the tooth is first extracted, a temporary restoration called a stayplate or flipper is made and inserted so that you leave with an immediate replacement. If all the teeth are removed then this initial restoration is called an immediate denture. A stayplate or flipper has teeth to fit in the missing spots and often bendable wire clasps to grasp adjacent teeth for retention. This also helps to limit swelling and protect the extraction area.

How Partial Dentures work

Once the extraction area heals then a model is taken of the remaining teeth and a treatment plan is made and a partial is designed to fit over the remaining teeth. This partial has cast metal clasps and frame and then acrylic to simulate the tissue and teeth that are natural looking to replace the missing teeth. Sometimes caps or crowns are made prior to the removable partial to make the partial fit better over existing fillings. The partial is the last thing fabricated as it rests on the existing teeth and fillings. Sometimes rest areas are carved onto the teeth so that the partial does not slide down the tooth and impinge on the tissue as well as directing the forces of chewing straight onto the tooth.

Partial Dentures Before and After

View our before & after gallery for Dentures

Benefits of removable Partial Dentures

The positives of a removable partial are that it is less expensive and can be removed to clean the adjacent teeth. The negatives of the partial are that it is often not as esthetic as the metal clasps may show when one speaks or smiles and it can have some areas that trap food.

Schedule a consultation

Call our office for a consultation to review your options for a beautiful smile and to determine if a denture or partial is right for you. Call 209-478-3036  to schedule a consultation today!