Dentures are custom-made removable replacements (mainly made of acrylic) designed for missing teeth and surrounding tissues . They are made in a dental laboratory after the dentist takes impressions of the patient's mouth. Replacing missing teeth helps patients improve their appearance, smile, facial expressions and also the way they eat and speak. Dentures are supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity and although they will never feel exactly the same as natural teeth, they can be made to have a natural appearance and with the right amount of support, retention and stability they can be quite comfortable.
There are two main types of dentures: full and partial.
A full denture is made when a patient is completely edentulous, meaning that there are no remaining teeth in the mouth.
A partial denture is used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw, filling in the spaces created by missing teeth and preventing other teeth from changing position.
Dentures can be either conventional or immediate. A conventional denture is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal and is ready for fitting about 2-3 months after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are delivered immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. In this case, the dentist takes measurements of the jaw during a prior visit. As a result, the patient has the benefit of never having to be without teeth during the healing period. However, the disadvantage in this case is that the bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal, requiring more adjustments and relining in the near future in order to fit properly.
It generally takes 3 or 4 appointments in order to make a set of standard dentures.