A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available, complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-coloured plastic base, which is connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed (permanent) bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This “bridge” is then cemented into place.
Are there alternatives to dentures?
Yes, dental implants can be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Consult your dentist for advice.
How are dentures made?
The denture development process takes about three to six weeks and several appointments. Once your dentist determines what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:
✓ Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them.
✓ Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will “try in” this model several times and the denture will be assessed for colour, shape and fit before the final denture is cast.
✓ Cast a final denture.
✓ Adjustments will be made as necessary.