Types of Dentures & How to Choose the Best Option for Your Smile
40 million people in the US don’t have any of their natural teeth left. This doesn’t mean all these people are walking around with gummy smiles, though. Thanks to dentures, many are flashing a healthy, beautiful set of pearly whites.
There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding dentures — don’t fall for them. Modern dentures are much more durable, natural-looking, and effective than the dentures your grandparents wore!
The problem with missing teeth
Let’s start at the beginning and take a moment to understand why missing teeth are such a big issue. There are the obvious reasons:
- Inability to chew normally
- Difficulty speaking
- Huge affect on your appearance
These should be reason enough, but if you need more convincing, we’ve got you covered.
Missing teeth spell disaster for your dental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re missing all your teeth, or just one — the health implications are the same.
- Your jaw bone beneath the missing tooth will begin to dissolve. This is an irreversible process known as resorption, leaving you with a sunken, sucking-on-a-lemon look in your cheeks.
- Neighboring teeth may begin to shift and reposition, causing pain in your jaw or bite.
- Your risk of decay and gum disease increases.
- Empty spaces in your mouth allow bacteria to grow and potentially travel throughout your body.
Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. When your dentist says you need to find a tooth replacement option, it’s because they want the best for your health.
What are dentures?
Dentures are a prosthetic device constructed to replace missing teeth. This tooth replacement option is comprised of artificial teeth and gums and replaces either all your teeth on the top and bottom, or just a few missing teeth.
The concept of dentures has been around since as early as 2500 BC. At the start, people made these false, removable teeth from animal teeth. Centuries later, dentures were fashioned from bone, wire, and animal and human teeth.
Over time, dentures went through various iterations, constructed from materials like wood, repurposed human teeth, ivory, porcelain, plastic, and vulcanite (a type of hardened rubber). Today, most dentures are made of biocompatible acrylic resin and metal.
Most people think of dentures as an unsightly set of removable teeth that could easily fall out of your mouth by accident and are strictly reserved for grandparents. Thanks to advancements in dentistry, this just isn’t true!
Modern dentures aren’t only for seniors and are nothing like what you’re probably envisioning. They allow people of all ages to restore the appearance and functionality of their mouths. Plus, not all dentures are removable. Today, there are many denture designs to choose from based on your needs.
3 popular types of dentures
As you’re considering the different styles of dentures below, remember that dentures are an option when:
- All the teeth in your mouth are missing (called complete dentures)
- You have some natural teeth remaining and need a few replacement teeth (called partial dentures)
1. Removable dentures
Also called “traditional dentures,” removable dentures are the most simple style of denture available. This type of denture is meant to be a simple, non-surgical solution to missing teeth.
Unlike traditional dentures of years past, modern removable dentures from Ericson Dental are crafted using the most advanced techniques to ensure durability and a comfortable fit.
Additionally, special attention is given to the shape, color, texture, and placement of the teeth to ensure a life-like and natural appearance.
Removable dentures allow you to smile with confidence and ensure you can continue eating and speaking naturally. However, you should also consider how removable dentures add no structural improvement to your jaw and cannot stop bone loss.
2. Implant-retained dentures
This type of denture is held securely in place by dental implants. While these dentures snap in place and won’t slip out while talking or eating, they are technically removable and must be taken out at night for cleaning.
One difference between this option and implant-supported dentures is that your gums, rather than the implant, absorb the majority of bite impact.
Implant-retained dentures also use fewer implants and can often be placed with mini dental implants. This diminishes or eliminates completely the need for any bone grafts.
3. Implant-supported dentures
Unlike implant-retained dentures, implant-supported dentures are not removable. This fixed denture stays in your mouth forever and is held in place by a number of dental implants. The exact number of implants will vary, but can be as many as 8 implants.
Additionally, unlike implant-retained dentures, this type of denture is designed to take the full force of your bite, absorbing it evenly through the implant and into your jawbone.
Due to the number of implants required for this type of dentures, combined with the implant bearing the full force of your bite, your jawbone and gum tissue need to be in good condition before treatment. It’s possible that you may need to undergo bone or soft tissue regeneration to ensure the implant-supported dentures are a success.
Which type of denture is right for you? Let’s chat!
The best type of denture will vary from person to person. Remember, modern-day dentures don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach! There are a few things to consider when finding out which type of denture is right for you:
- How many teeth you have missing
- The health of your gum tissue and jaw bone
- Your age and whole body health
- Whether or not you want to invest in implants
- Amount of time you can devote to the maintenance of your dentures
- How quickly you want to restore your smile
Ultimately, only a highly-qualified denture dentist can recommend the best type of denture for your health and smile. If you’re interested in learning more about your options and which type is the best fit for you, contact Ericson Dental today.
Since graduating from the USC School of Dentistry with academic honors, Dr. Ericson has been dedicated to furthering his scope of practice and helping patients feel anxiety-free through every treatment. He has completed extensive training and continuing education, excelling at two residencies in implant surgery and multiple residencies in advanced bone grafting, gum grafting, oral surgery, and surgical orthodontics. Dr. Ericson is also a graduate of the advanced prosthodontics program at the prestigious Kois Center in Seattle, WA.