Complete and Partial Dentures

Complete and Partial Dentures

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A denture is a removable dental appliance replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.

There are two types of dentures – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.

A Complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. During this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.

Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years, but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.

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Reasons for dentures:

  • Complete Denture – Loss of all teeth in an arch.
  • Partial Denture – Loss of several teeth in an arch.
  • Enhancing smile and facial tissues.
  • Improving chewing, speech, and digestion.

Dentures

There are two types of dentures: partial and full dentures. Both types are made in a dental lab, based on a mold (or an impression) of your mouth.

A partial denture is also called a "removable partial denture" or a "partial." It is made up of one or more false teeth, and held in place by clasps that fit into nearby teeth. You can take the partial denture out yourself, for cleaning and at night. A partial denture may be used when nearby teeth are not strong enough to hold a bridge, or when more than just a few teeth are missing.

A full denture is also called a "complete denture" or "false teeth." It can be used when all your natural teeth are missing. Remember, you need to care for a denture as carefully as you would look after your natural teeth.

How to Care For Dentures

  • Step 1: Keep your denture clean

    Plaque builds up on a denture just like it does on natural teeth. Unless plaque is removed from your denture, it can spread to your natural teeth and gums, causing gum disease and cavities.

  • Step 2: Remove your denture every night.

    Brush your natural teeth and your gums carefully with a soft toothbrush. If your toothbrush hurts you, run it under warm water to make it softer, or try using a finger wrapped in a clean, damp cloth.

  • Step 3: Soak your denture overnight.

    It can be soaked in a special cleaner (called denture cleanser), in warm water or in a half-and-half mix of warm water and vinegar. If your denture has metal clasps, soak it in warm water only. Soaking will loosen plaque and tartar, so they will come off more easily when you brush. Brush and rinse your denture before you put it back in.

  • Step 4: See your dentist regularly.

    Your mouth is always changing, so your denture will need adjusting from time to time to make sure it fits well. If you have a partial denture, regular dental exams are important to make sure that your natural teeth and gums get the care they need.