Complete Dentures for a Confident Smile

Living without teeth can negatively affect a person’s health and relationships. Not being able to chew properly or eat a variety of nutritious foods can severely compromise overall health and well-being. There can also be significant problems while speaking caused by missing or loose teeth. Facial esthetics and the quality of one’s smile is often affected, causing strain at home, in the workplace or just day-to-day when interacting with others. At Rolling Hills Dental Group, we offer partial and complete denture services to our patients so that they can regain a healthier and active lifestyle. Here are the various types explained.

What are Full Dentures?

Full or complete dentures are used when all or most of the teeth in each jaw need replacement. If a few natural teeth are still available those must also be removed to accommodate the one-piece complete restoration.

They consist of a set of false teeth (generally 14) on a gum-colored acrylic base which should fit snugly on the gums. In the case of one for the upper jaw, the base covers the gums and the palate. The fitting is important for two reasons. First, it must not irritate the gum tissue it comes in contact with. And secondly, they must stay in place because of the suction between the moist gums and the base.

  • Preparation – Preparation of full dentures requires removal of any existing teeth. Impressions of both jaws are taken before the extraction and sent to a lab along with material and color specifications. Once they are ready, the dentist tests them on the patient and may make minor adjustments to them allowing them to fit snugly and comfortably.
  • How to care for dentures – They are removable. They must be removed for cleaning after every meal and replaced. At night, they are removed and must be stored in water or a soaking solution. Failure to soak them will result in them drying up and possibly warping. That will render them useless. They do not provide tooth roots and hence, the bone around the empty sockets tends to dissolve away (resorption). The gums shrink, and the dentures will need a relining for proper fitting. With good care, they will last about seven years after which they must be replaced. Fixed bridges are brushed like ordinary teeth.
  • Limitations – They have several limitations among them the need for relining. Other limitations would be loose fitting and occasional dropping out, the need for soaking at night, and possible limitations in chewing ability.

Which Dentures to Choose?

If you are thinking of replacing missing teeth you have many options depending on how many teeth need to be replaced.

  • Removable Partials – If it is one or two adjacent teeth, a removable partial is an option. These have clasps at both ends which attach to the teeth on either side for support.
  • Flexible Dentures – These are a type of removable partial and being flexible adhere better to the gum, with less irritation than acrylic ones. These are meant to be temporary, worn while the actual dentures are being manufactured.
  • Fixed Bridge – A better option are restorations without clasps. These are called fixed bridges and are permanently attached to crowns made on support teeth.
  • Full Conventional Dentures – These are used when most of the teeth in a jaw need replacement. Any good teeth are also removed and a set of teeth on an acrylic base is made. They adhere by suction against the gums.
  • Dentures without Pulling Teeth or Overdentures – It is natural for people to abhor the idea of having teeth pulled (although extraction can now be managed without pain). You can have your dentures without removing teeth which are otherwise healthy. These are also called overdentures. Instead of extracting teeth, the dentist will smooth them down so that they do not interfere with the fit of the denture. In some cases, those teeth may require a root canal to block access of any infection from the mouth. This generally not necessary in seniors, as their root canals have in many cases, narrowed enough to block infection ingress. Overdentures have the advantage of avoiding bone resorption at least around those sockets where teeth roots are retained.
  • Dentures without a Roof Plate – These are also called dentures with snaps. A complete set of teeth is made with a removable base which can simply snap on or off four or five implants.

You may still wonder which ones are most comfortable and suitable for you. This question can be answered by a good dentist after having examined you and discussing your desires and financial options. However, the following guidelines my help you to determine what might be right for you.

Know Your Options: Implants, Extractions, or Neither

Implant supported complete teeth are normally fixed, and therefore often classed as bridges. This is the closest denture option to having natural teeth. They avoid the disadvantage of bone resorption, do not place any limitations on what you eat, and do not have to be removed for cleaning. Another option to the fixed implant supported prosthesis (bridge) is a denture with snaps. This can be removed and put on at will.

If you do not want to have extractions, an overdenture is another option. The overdentures also have the advantage of preventing bone resorption. It is a prosthesis that rests over prepared teeth roots, which not only help in the retention, but they also prevent excessive resorption of the jawbone.

Dentures Through the Ages

Normally dentures are associated with the elderly. The fact is that the need for them will normally depend upon the quality of a person’s oral health. Oral health itself will be a function of good oral hygiene practice. They can be an ideal tooth replacement option for patients who are at their 40s and beyond.

Dentures for seniors and especially at ages of 80 and beyond are not easy to prepare. The bone quality may not be very good and the cost of implant supported prostheses may be high. In these patients, special procedures need to be performed to restore the density and thickness of the residual jaw bones. Some of these procedures used for preparation for elderly patients are:

  • Alveoloplasty – The surfaces of the jaw bones tend to become “knife edged” as it ages. As a result, patients feel uncomfortable while wearing dentures. Alveoloplasty is a process in which the jaw bone is recontoured so that the surface area is rounded and has maximum space to enhance retention.
  • Bone Grafting – This procedure is done for patients who do not have sufficient quality or quantity of jawbone to wear a denture. In these patients, a bone graft is placed in the jaws to improve the retention, support and stability. The bone used in the grafting procedure is usually taken either from the same patient, or through an animal or artificial source.

Rolling Hills Dental Group dentists prides themselves on providing painless dentistry using the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art technology. The doctors can transform your smile into the beautiful, bright smile that you have always dreamed about. We have several choices available for cosmetic and restorative dental work and our dental care team will help you determine which one will work the best in transforming your smile. We are near Bristol Farms in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.