Dentures are a traditional tooth replacement option. They can replace your teeth, restoring the appearance of your smile and some of the function of your bite. Dentures have improved significantly over time, and modern dentures are much better than those your parents or grandparents had. While they’re not as good as dental implants, many people can enjoy quality lives with well-made and properly fitted dentures.
Benefits of Dentures
Dentures are the oldest form of tooth replacement still in use. They continue to be used because they offer many benefits of people who have lost teeth, including:
- Cosmetic improvement
- Some functional improvement
- Low cost
- Noninvasive procedure
Dentures don’t look exactly like natural teeth, but they are close enough for most people, especially if they’re well-made. Dentures can also provide some functional improvement. Especially with full dentures (see below) you can chew a lot better with than without them.
Dentures are also economical tooth replacement. They can be made in a very inexpensive way, making them a very accessible tooth replacement for anyone, even those on a very tight budget.
For some people, the dental implant procedure is frightening. These people may choose dentures because with dentures there is no need for any type of surgery. After you’ve lost your natural teeth, dental implants are simply made and fit into your mouth.
Partial and Full Dentures
There are two types of dentures: partial dentures and full dentures. Partial dentures replace some number of lost teeth less than a full arch. They have fake teeth set in a plastic base, sometimes with metal support. Metal clasps and hooks loop around your natural teeth for support.
Full dentures replace an entire arch of teeth. They have a plastic base and either plastic or ceramic teeth. Full dentures are held in place by suction between the denture and your gums.
Limitations of Dentures
Dentures aren’t the best tooth replacement options. That’s because they have some limitations, such as:
- Not secure in the mouth–they move around
- Can fall out when you talk or laugh
- Reduce your bite force–you often have to give up foods
- Put pressure on gums–can be painful
- Don’t protect your jawbone from loss
Dentures just rest on the gums–they aren’t secured to your jaw. This means they can move around, or even fall out when you talk or laugh. Because they rest on your gums, they also limit your bite force, so you have to give up some foods when you get dentures. The pressure on your gums can be painful, and can speed the loss of your jawbone, which naturally happens anyway after the loss of a tooth or teeth.
Implant dentures can overcome the limits of traditional dentures thanks to the power of dental implants.
There are typically two types of implant dentures. There are implant-secured dentures, sometimes called “snap-on” dentures, which are held in place by dental implants but still rest on your gums.
There are also implant-supported dentures, which take the bite force and direct it into your bones, which allows you to have basically the same bite strength you did when you had natural teeth.