Chris S. Brown, DDS
Complete Family Dentistry & Cosmetics
CONTACT US 651.385.9348
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including partial and complete dentures.Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned into a patients mouth to take the place of where the natural teeth used to be. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jay. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached go a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place in the mouth. A fixed partial denture acts the same as a removable denture, but it is cemented into place using the adjacent teeth for support. This fills the space created by missing teeth, as well as creates a support for remaining teeth to prevent shifting.
New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you are comfortable eating and speaking. This may require some practice, but soon you will adjust and enjoy the benefits that a full mouth of teeth can provide.
For individuals who wish to replace missing teeth, dental implants may be an effective long-term solution. Dental implants provide greater structural support and last longer than either dental bridges or dentures. Dental implants serve as the artificial root to which new teeth are bonded. They are typically constructed of titanium, a strong and safe material that effectively attaches to bone. The procedure to insert dental implants typically involve three steps: the implant insertion stage, osseointegration (the period of healing for the jawbone), and the attachment of the restoration or new tooth.
In implant dentistry, the most popular form of dental implant is the root implant. This type of dental implant is very effective and mirrors the size and shape of a patient’s natural tooth. Many times, this implant will be as strong structurally as the original tooth’s root. Once the dentist applies the local anesthesia, he or she makes an incision in the gum in order to gain access to the jawbone. The bone is then prepared, and the dental implant is inserted into the jawbone with care and precision. Finally, the dentist stitches the gums and, if necessary, prescribes an appropriate medication. During the osseointegration step, which lasts anywhere from three to eight months, the jawbone firmly attaches itself to the dental implant. Once osseointegration is complete, the patient returns to the dental office, where the dental implant is fitted with the new tooth.
Another form of implant dentistry is the plate form implant. This dental implant is ideal in situations where the jawbone is not wide enough to properly support a root implant. The plate form dental implant is long and thin, unlike the root implant, and anchors into thin jawbones. The insertion process is the same as for a root implant, but in certain cases, plate dental implants are immediately fitted with the restoration without waiting for the osseointegration period.
The last type of dental implant used for implant dentistry is the subperiosteal implant. These dental implants are utilized when the jawbone has receded to the point where it no longer supports a permanent implant. These implants are placed on top of the bone and embedded in the gums, but not in the jawbone as with the other types of dental implants. The dentist applies a local anesthesia, and makes a mold of the mouth and jawbone. From this impression, a dental lab constructs implants to custom fit the patient’s jaw. On the second visit to the dentist, the dentist exposes the jawbone and inserts the dental implant on top of it. Over the next month the gums grow up and around the implant. This same type of implant can sometimes be performed in a single procedure with the use of an initial CAT scan of the gumline and jawbone.
As with any cosmetic surgery, complications for implant dentistry are rare but can include infection, slight damage to nerves, and mild discomfort. Although very unlikely, infection of the gums or jawbone is a possibility but can be treated through antibiotics or another medication. Surgery to the upper or lower jawbone can result in mild nerve damage. Nerve damage typically subsides in several weeks but can persist for longer periods of time. As the jawbone heals, patients may experience some discomfort, which can be tempered through medication. Discomfort should subside within seven to ten days.
Although you should always practice proper dental hygiene, this is especially true once a dental implant has been put into place. When teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, bacteria can attack sensitive areas, causing the gums to swell and the jawbone to gradually recede. Enough recession of the jawbone can weaken dental implants and eventually necessitate their removal. You should visit your dentists’ offices at least twice a year in order to ensure the health of your teeth and dental implants. Following an implant dentistry operation, smoking should be avoided, as it impairs the ability of the gum and jawbone to heal. Given the proper care, dental implants should last 25 years or longer.