For many years, the loss of natural teeth and the need for need for dentures have been attributed to aging–sort of a natural process. The need for dentures, under this perception, was something almost “guaranteed.” There is nothing further from the truth. Thankfully, advances in preventive dentistry, restorative techniques, dental materials and a dramatic change in dental philosophies have allowed patients to keep their teeth longer. Dentistry has shifted from a corrective approach to a preventive one. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people losing their teeth. It is estimated that 23% of adults aged 65 and over are edentulous (have no teeth), and at least 51.4% are missing some teeth. These numbers, contrary to what many have predicted, show that dentures, as a treatment option, will be around for many years.
The term dentures is a very broad one. We can break it down into two main classifications. They can either be fixed or removable. This section will address the removable classification only. Implant retained removable options will be addressed on the Implant Dentistry section.
Conventional Complete Dentures
These are the ones people usually think about when we talk about dentures. In this classification, patients are missing all their teeth. In order to restore function and aesthetics, acrylic or porcelain teeth are processed to a pink acrylic base. Retention of the upper jaw one is obtained by suction of the base upon the oral tissues and saliva hydrolic tension. The lower jaw one stays in place by the tongue and cheeks’ muscle action.
Conventional Partial Dentures
This dentures are the ones designed to replace one or more teeth per arch. The teeth are made of acrylic or porcelain. The base is made of pink acrylic, metal or metal/acrylic. They anchor to the patients’ existing teeth for retention and stability. The natural dentition should have good bone support and be free of any periodontal (gum) disease prior to the denture fabrication. These dental appliances help patients to function, smile and prevent potential drifting of the remaining natural teeth.
It is imperative to have a full oral examination prior to your dentures’ fabrication. This will allow us to determine if you have other oral/dental needs to be addressed before you get your new restorations. Even if you are totally edentulous (no teeth), you may need pre-prosthetic surgery in order to improve the denture bearing areas. If you have any questions, you can always contact us. Dr. Luperon is a specialist in this area, and he will customize your new dentures to have them meeting your functional and aesthetic needs. There are no good, better or best options here; we only strive for the best.
By Bolivar Luperon