A denture is a prosthesis, a series of artificial teeth that are designed to replace missing teeth, and can be either fixed (attached to the teeth or the jaw by some mechanism) or removable (inserted and removed from the mouth at will).
Typically, the word “denture,” commonly signifies the removable kind. Fixed dentures are typically known by other names such as “bridges.”
Dentures are also categorized by whether they replace all teeth or some teeth. If all teeth are being replaced, they are called Complete Dentures; otherwise, they are called Partial Dentures.
A bit of history:
Dentures did not come about in recent years. They have been around for thousands of years. Around 700 BC, in part of the world that is now known as Italy, people used human and animal teeth to make dentures. In the 1800s, with consumption of sugar, tooth decay increased many times (some data argues that in Britain alone the sugar consumption in that era was increased by 500%). The clinicians at the time started to improve on their designs and materials used per increased demand. Ivory from an animal like elephants was in vogue then as the primary material for dentures. In fact, one of the most famous denture wearers was the very first U.S. president, George Washington, who had his dentures made right here in Maryland.
With the advent of technology and materials, dentures today are much more advanced and made out of very esthetic and more comfortable materials. Typically, the main body of modern dentures is made out of some kind of plastic: either Acrylic (Poly Methyl Methacrylate) which is the more conventional type, or Nylon. Those that are made out of Nylons, are flexible and tend to have a lifetime warranty against breakage. Many people prefer them because of this and the fact they use less or no metal, hence more presentable, and more comfortable to wear. However, there are some restrictions on their prescription. For example, if a person has a very deep bite or is a heavy grinder, they may not be the optimal solution. Even within each class of material, there are different options with different properties. The best thing to do is to consult your dentist for an evaluation.
Dentures are, in a way, like new shoes. Many patients need some time, from days to weeks, to get used to them. No matter what, they may move in the mouth while chewing or affect speech. Denture wearers, typically, get used to their new teeth and learn how to use them optimally. In recent years, dental implants have proven to be a successful treatment to replace teeth. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel and function of real teeth. Though recommended instead of dentures if a patient is a candidate, sometimes, it might be better to find a compromise where the patient gets a denture; however, they secure their dentures to the jaws using implants. There are different ways of doing this that can range from using only 2 implants (over denture) or using 5-6 implants per jaw (hybrid), which is a combination of fixed and removable mechanisms that can make a patient get closest to having an artificial complete set of teeth that are closest to the real teeth.
What to do next:
Contact us at Happy Smiles Dental for a complimentary second opinion and consult or talk to your dentist.
We are conveniently located in Urbana/Clarksburg Maryland.