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Partials and Dentures

Partials and Dentures

Dentures are a trusted solution for replacing missing teeth. At James R. Tharp, DDS our patients frequently ask Dr. Tharp about dentures to determine if they are a good solution for their particular needs. As with any dental solution, there are pros and cons to wearing dentures and whether or not they will work for you depends largely on your lifestyle and the goals that you have for your appearance and the functionality of your smile.

Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position.

Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.

Complete or full dentures are made when all of your natural teeth are missing. You can have a full denture on your upper or lower jaw, or both.

Complete dentures are called “conventional” or “immediate” according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth. Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient`s jaws during a preliminary visit.

An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing may take at least 6-8 weeks.

An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture.

Regular Dentures vs. Cosmetic

There are several differences between regular and cosmetic dentures. With standard dentures, teeth are lined up resembling a picket fence, which may look unnatural. Shapes and teeth sizes vary within cosmetic dentures to give a more natural look. Subtle layers of color are also added to cosmetic dentures to mimic the natural color of teeth, whereas regular dentures are primarily white. When placing cosmetic dentures, the height and width of the dentures is heavily considered in relation to the patient’s face. Dentures have an impact on the muscles of the face – cosmetic dentures weight these factors into the equations – regular dentures do not.