Dentures are an affordable and effective way to replace missing teeth. One of the most common types of dentures, traditional full dentures, can be extremely helpful in replacing lost teeth and improving your smile’s aesthetics, but they're not the only option out there. This guide will show you everything you need to know about types of dentures, dentures before and after pictures, and how each denture is different, so you can confidently choose the right treatment option for your needs. Once you have a better understanding of the various denture designs out there, you’ll feel a lot more confident about investing in your tooth replacement treatment.
Upper and lower dentures or complete dentures are sometimes referred to as "plates." They cover the entire jaw, so you will only wear them if all of the teeth are missing or have been removed.
Conventional dentures are held in place by creating a suction against the roof of your mouth. But if it’s a lower denture, it tends to “float” more, so you’ll usually use your lips, cheeks, and tongue to help hold it in place. Lower full dentures are usually a bit more challenging to get used to.
In some cases, it may be possible for a dentist to deliver same-day dentures. These dentures are fitted ahead of any planned dental extractions, preventing you as the patient from having to go around with visibly missing teeth. Your dentist places them in your mouth immediately after your existing teeth are extracted.
However, same-day immediate dentures are not a once-and-done process. As your mouth heals, the shape of the bone and gum tissue will change, too, impacting the way your immediate denture fits. They’ll start to feel loose or even rub certain spots as your oral anatomy changes. Thankfully there’s a fix to this. The prosthesis will either need to be adjusted, re-lined, or upgraded to a higher quality denture after the healing process is complete to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
Partial dentures are removable prosthetic appliances that replace two or more missing teeth. They are used when you're missing specific teeth throughout your mouth and want to fill in all of the open spaces with a single prosthesis. Partials wrap around your other teeth for stability, but they prevent the need to remove other healthy teeth. A partial will have small clasps that hug the adjacent teeth to hold them in place and will match your remaining teeth.
Most partials have a metal base with artificial teeth attached to them. Whereas others are smaller, flexible, and made out of acrylic. In some cases, dentists can add teeth to existing partials if additional teeth are removed in the future.
One downside to removable partial dentures is that the clasps can sometimes damage the teeth they grip onto, causing enamel abrasion.
Can you get a partial as a temporary denture solution while you wait on dental implant treatment? Absolutely.
All-on-4 implants are “U” shaped, so they only cover the part of your mouth where the teeth are missing. There’s no bulky plate covering the roof of your mouth. And thanks to their permanency, All-on-4 implants feel and function more like natural teeth than any other type of denture on the market.
Since full-arch systems like All-on-4 usually only require four implants total (sometimes six), implant-supported dentures are more cost-effective than placing an individual implant for every single tooth.
When you marry the concept of traditional dentures with dental implants, you get what’s called a “snap-in,” “snap-on,” or “overdenture.” These implant-retained dentures are essentially full conventional dentures with special locators underneath them, made to “snap” or “clip” onto corresponding dental implants in your mouth.
Most overdentures only need 2-4 implants to support them. In some cases, your dentist may be able to retrofit an existing denture to clip onto the implants, especially if it’s fairly new.
Snap-in dentures give you added security throughout the day, making them more comfortable to talk and eat with. They eliminate the need for denture adhesives, which is useful for people who have short or narrow bone ridges, where traditional dentures may not fit well.
If you are missing several or most of your teeth, dentures may be right for you. If you have one or two teeth that need to be replaced or failing teeth, you may want to ask if your dentist can fit you with a partial denture or something like dental implants in that space. Both of these options are more discreet than full dentures.
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In most scenarios, dentists will want to help their patients preserve their natural teeth whenever possible. So, if a tooth needs a root canal, they’ll recommend endodontic therapy over an extraction. But in scenarios where dental disease is advanced—like chronic gum disease—or a tooth is so structurally damaged that it’s not restorable, it’s usually best to extract it. Dentures are both fast and affordable for anyone who needs to replace multiple or all of their teeth at one time, especially if it’s not in your budget to get dental implants.
Is it recommended to pull all of your teeth and get dentures? Probably not. But if you already have several missing teeth, your dentist can help you select the best type of denture for your oral health needs. Such as a partial denture or implant-supported restoration. And if you do need to remove the rest of your teeth, your dentist can plan ahead of time to arrange an immediate (one-day) denture prosthesis in some cases.
Since not every patient qualifies for every type of denture, the best place to start is a consultation with your personal dentist.
With so many different types of dentures available today, it’s easy to find the one that’s right for you. Just comparing dentures before and after pictures of traditional and All-on-4 implant styles, you can see there is something for everyone. Depending on how many teeth you need to replace and what your budget is, your dental team can help you narrow down the best pick for your new denture design. A quality denture or implant-supported appliance can restore both your diet and your confidence, giving you a real reason to smile again.
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