Another name for dentures is false teeth. Dentures are made to replace missing teeth. They are usually supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Many dentures are removable. However, there are some that can be clasped or bonded on to teeth or dental implants to give a firmer grip. The two main types of dentures are categorized depending on whether they replace missing teeth on the mandibular arch or on the maxillary arch.
Causes of tooth loss.
There are many reasons as to why a patient can be completely edentulous i.e without teeth. The number one reason is usually removal due to a dental disease. Other reasons include the development of defects on the teeth, genetic problems, trauma or even drug use.
Dentures can help patients through:
- They help in improving a person’s chewing ability
- Aesthetic purposes because missing teeth usually make a person look better than one who has missing teeth
- Replacement of missing teeth can improve a person’s speech that may have been slightly impaired
- Replacement of missing teeth improves a person’s self esteem.
Removable partial dentures
If you are missing some teeth on a particular arch, then removable partial dentures are the best for you. Crown and Bridge (the other name for fixed partial dentures), are made from crowns which are fitted on the remaining teeth. This is for them to act as abutments. These abutments and pontics are usually made of material that resembles natural teeth. Even though fixed bridges are more stable than removable ones, removable dentures are less expensive.
These dentures are meant for those patients who have lost all their teeth on a single arch. This could either be the upper arch or the lower arch.
Fabrication of complete dentures
Most of the dentures manufactured nowadays are made in a commercial dental laboratory through a mix of PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate acrylic) with commercially produced acrylic teeth which are available in numerous shapes and colors..
The fabrication of a denture usually begins with the making of an impression of your maxilla or mandible. These impressions are used to make the stone models that will represent your arch. The dentist usually uses a wax rim to help him or her in establishing the occlusion’s vertical dimension. A bite registration is usually then made after this so as to marry the position of one arch with the other.
The wax rim will then be used as a base for placing the selected dentures in their right position once the relative position of each arch to the other is known. This teeth arrangement is then tried in your mouth so that the adjustments can be made to the occlusion. The moment the dentist has verified the occlusions with the patient and all the phonetic requirements have been met, the denture is then processed.
Dentures are usually processed in a lost-wax process. During this process, the dentures final form together with the acrylic denture, is invested in stone. This investment is then heated and the wax is removed via a sprue in its molten form. The rest of the cavity can then be filled through a forced injection or by pouring the uncured denture acrylic over it. Once the curing period is complete, the stone investment is removed, the acrylic polished and your denture is complete.
Problems with complete dentures
The number one problem with dentures is that the patients are not accustomed to having foreign objects in the mouths that are not food. Once the brain senses this foreign object, it sends signals to the brain that there is food in the mouth and saliva is produced. However, this usually occurs only in the first 12 to 24 hours. After this, saliva production goes back to its normal output level. Since new dentures compress the soft tissues mucosa, sore spots are likely to develop in the mouth. This problem can be solved by adjustments of the dentures by your dentist. There are some patients who complain of gagging after the placement of dentures. Most of the times, this is due to a denture that is too thick, too loose or too extended. There are other situations in which this gagging takes place due to psychological denial of the denture. Should the gagging be psychological, it can be quite difficult to treat because it is a psychological problem that is the doctor cannot control.
The loss of taste is also a common problem associated with new full upper dentures.
Keeping dentures in place can also be quite a challenge. However, there are three rules that govern the existence of removable oral appliances – support, stability and retention.