Dental Prostheses

Dental Prostheses

Full dentures

  • They are used for the replacement of all teeth (14) of a dental arch (upper or lower jaw).
  • They cover a good part of the gingiva. Full dentures for the upper jaw also cover the palate and lay against it.
  • They are held in place by suction (created by saliva accumulating between the dentures and the gingiva).

Partial dentures

There are 2 types of prostheses; full and partial dentures. They are all made in a laboratory, using a mould made from impressions of your teeth.

Partial dentures (or removable partial dentures) are retained by clasps or precision attachments that connect to adjacent healthy teeth. They replace one or more teeth and must be removed for the night or for cleaning them.

They may be used when the adjacent teeth are not strong enough to withstand a bridge or when many teeth are missing.

Available bases

2 base types are available:

  • Acrylic base: its pink color mimics the natural gingiva. Full dentures are almost only made of acrylic; they are sometimes reinforced with other types of materials, such as fiberglass or metal alloy.
  • Metal alloy: the structure is very fine and lighter than the acrylic base. However, it is more robust, so it often acts as a reinforcement to the acrylic base.

Artificial teeth

Artificial teeth mounted on the base of the prosthesis are made of acrylic resin (plastic) and have the color of natural teeth. They can also be made of porcelain (ceramic – less used nowadays).

Who should wear dentures?

  • A person of any age who has undergone a partial or total tooth loss due to several reasons such as an accident, a disease, a congenital condition, old age or poor oral hygiene.
  • A person with a medical condition, like heart disease, for whom surgery may be contraindicated.
  • Patient having inadequate jawbone density to consider other available treatment plans.

Immediate dentures

Immediate dentures are installed right after the removal of natural teeth. They are manufactured before tooth extractions by taking measurements of the jaw and subsequently making a study model. One of the benefits for the patient is to have a prosthesis during the gum healing period. On the other hand, it should be adjusted more frequently, because during the healing process, the shape of gums and jawbones changes; the prosthesis can become very uncomfortable.

Conventional dentures

This type of prosthesis is only placed in the mouth after complete healing of the gums and jaws following the removal of natural teeth. The main disadvantage of these dentures is that the patient stays completely or partially toothless during the healing process.

What is the cost of dentures?

  • Consult your dental professional to find out about the cost of a removable prosthesis.
  • Removable dentures are still cheaper than dental implants.
  • A portion of the costs of a removable prosthesis is reimbursed completely or in part by some dental insurance.

Steps for the placement of a dental prosthesis

A period of time ranging from a few days to a few weeks is expected to complete the following steps, depending on where the denture is made (on-site at the clinic, in an independent laboratory, etc.):

  • An examination and several impressions of your mouth in order to obtain information about the shape of the gingiva, the position of the internal structures of the mouth (tongue, lips, and cheeks).
  • Measurement of the jaw position, choice of the artificial teeth (color, shape, and material) and choice of the base material according to the general appearance of your mouth and your preferences.
  • Manufacture of the dental prosthesis in a laboratory (on-site or external lab). You may have the possibility of wearing a temporary prosthesis while your final denture is being created.
  • Fitting of the prosthesis during the period of fabrication, in order to check its function and its aesthetic qualities, as well as preliminary adjustments. Several fittings may be required for a complete prosthesis.
  • Final denture placement, as well as adjustments and corrections to optimize your comfort.

If you had teeth removed, an adjustment of the prosthesis 3 to 6 months after the extractions is recommended because of the gingival loss that occurred during the healing period.

Benefits of dentures

  • The cost of removable dentures is low compared to that of alternative treatments (e.g.: dental implants).
  • The manufacturing period is much shorter than the time required to complete some other alternative treatments (e.g.: dental implants).
  • Removable dentures are non-invasive treatments as no surgical procedures are required, except if dental extractions are necessary.
  • A more permanent treatment plan could eventually be considered if you decide that you no longer want to wear removable dentures and if your health condition allows it. In other words, wearing removable dentures is “reversible” under certain conditions.
  • Your smile (final result) is predictable by the color and the shape given to the artificial teeth so that they blend completely with the remaining dentition.
  • You can remove your dentures and put them back in place.
  • They can be readjusted, if needed, to ensure that they are always comfortable.

It might be time to think about implants…

Implantology allows dentures to be supported by artificial roots (implants) that are acting as anchor points.

It would be appropriate to consider dental implants if you have the following problems:

  • Dentures that move around in your mouth and cause irritation or pain;
  • Difficulty to chew;
  • Digestion problems;
  • Gingival atrophy (bone resorption);
  • Pain in the gums;
  • Premature aging of the face.

The procedure usually requires a total duration of about 6 months and 2 surgeries under local anesthesia.

Advantages:

  • Keep the jawbones healthy and promote a more youthful face;
  • Healthy gums;
  • Feel like natural teeth;
  • Painless;
  • Very solid;
  • Very long lifespan;
  • It is easy to chew all sorts of food.

Disadvantages:

Higher cost than standard removable dentures.