Dentures are removable false teeth made from either acrylic or metal that replace missing teeth. While your dentist will aim for you to keep as many of your own teeth as possible, even people who maintain a good dental health routine may require dentures at some stage in their life. Not only can losing teeth cause problems with your speech and eating, but it can also have an emotional impact too. Whatever the reasons for tooth loss, dentures can prevent these problems, restore self-confidence and enhance your appearance by giving extra support to your cheeks and lips. There are several types of dentures to consider depending on your situation, and costs vary accordingly.
Dentures are formed by taking an impression of your mouth and are custom-made by a dental technician for the best fit. The colour and the shape of the dentures may be adjusted to look as close to natural teeth as possible.
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Complete immediate dentures
Also known as full dentures, these prosthetic teeth will be fitted if all your upper and/or lower teeth need to be removed. In most cases, your dentist will be able to insert new dentures immediately after any remaining natural teeth have been removed, ensuring you will not have to go any time without teeth while your gums are healing. Complete dentures fit snugly over your gums and jawbone.
Although your dentist will have taken measurements and modelled your jaw during a prior visit to ensure the dentures fit straightaway, your gums and bone may shrink over time. This is especially true during the first six months after the teeth have been removed and the gum heals. If this is the case, you may need to have your dentures relined or replaced to improve the fit.
Complete conventional dentures
In some cases, your dentist might advise that your gums need to heal before you can wear dentures. Although this means that you will be without teeth for several months, you will be more likely to have dentures that fit without needing adjustment later.
If you are not able to wear unassisted dentures due to bone loss or an insufficient palate, or if conventional dentures are not suited, an option could be implant-assisted dentures.
Depending on the condition of your jaw, four to six implants will be fitted to each arch with special fittings that the denture will attach to. Like single tooth implants, this will require creating a hole through your gum into your jawbone to insert an artificial titanium root. This root will require two to six months to fuse with the bone before the denture can be attached to it.