Losing a tooth can be difficult from both an emotional and functional standpoint, especially when there is a strong likelihood of losing more teeth. Tooth loss can be a result of periodontal disease, advanced tooth decay, or other medical problems. While one or two lost teeth can be replaced by a bridge or dental implants, a higher number of damaged or missing teeth can start to pose a clinical challenge for the dentist, as well as a financial challenge for the patient. Full and partial dentures have traditionally been the go-to solution for restoring smile, comfort, and proper bite when multiple teeth have been lost, and they continue to be an excellent, cost-effective solution for patients that are not good candidates for implants.
The two types of dentures — partial and full — vary based on whether some teeth are missing or all teeth missing, respectively. To break it down in more detail, partial dentures can be made from different types of materials such as acrylic, metal, or flexible plastic as opposed to their full denture counterpart which is made of all acrylic. Understanding when you may wish to explore full or partial dentures as an option is essential, so let's explore them both in more detail
When Are You a Possible Candidate for Full Dentures?
If you find yourself missing all of your teeth, you’re probably thinking a denture is an obvious solution, right? Not so fast. Not everyone has enough jawbone to properly support dentures. Maybe you’ve heard a friend or relative talking about how “I laughed and my dentures flew out of my mouth.” To avoid this uncomfortable occurrence in public, it’s important to understand how dentures work and how they will function in your mouth. You can typically opt to have dentures made when you are missing all your teeth, and in most cases, dentures can successfully restore proper form and function in the mouth. However, missing teeth for a long time can cause the jawbone to shrink, the tongue to expand and take up extra room in the mouth, and your facial muscles to lose awareness of what your correct bite is. All of these factors come in to play when determining how well a denture will work and how comfortable it will be to wear. Your dentist will work with you to paint a realistic picture of what wearing a denture might feel like, and discuss what the limitations might be.
The Numerous Types of Partial Dentures: What's the Difference?
A partial denture (a “partial”), as compared to the full denture, replaces only a few teeth, such as those in the back of the mouth that can’t be restored by a dental bridge or when there are several missing teeth on both sides of the mouth. Partials can be made to be either long-term or temporary. For example, if you fall and break your front tooth while riding those dangerous e-scooters, you’ll probably want a quick repair so you don’t walk into work toothless the next day. In that case, a temporary partial can be made to replace the one tooth until we figure out a more permanent solution. Temporary partials, unlike long-term partials, are typically 100% acrylic with no metal substructure. They are not meant to be worn long-term because they rest on your gum, which will shrink over time from the pressure of chewing and distort the partial’s fit. Long-term partials have a metal substructure, and because of this are often less aesthetically pleasing than temporary partials, but significantly sturdier due to the sophisticated design that allows patients to wear them for years and even decades. Your dentist can help you select the right option for you depending on your needs.
No matter the material, caring for your dentures is as important as caring for your natural teeth. Keeping them clean, removing them at night, and diligently cleaning your remaining teeth will ensure that they last a long time.
Exploring Your Options To Restore Your Smile and Bite
Which type of dentures is right for you? Can your mouth support dentures appropriately? Answering these questions requires speaking with a trusted and experienced dental health professional. Dr. Nargiz I. Zadeh and her caring team understand how to put you at ease and how to explain your options in detail. With years of experience and a continuous effort to remain on the cutting edge of the dental field, Dr. Zadeh can help you better understand your denture options.
A Testimonial From Gray, Dr. Nargiz I. Zadeh's Patient in Tarzana, CA
Very friendly and professional staff. I highly recommend to anyone looking for a place to take care of your teeth. I always leave with a better smile.