Partials & Dentures
Complete Dentures • Lower Dentures • Partial Dentures • Flipper Dentures
Complete dentures cover your entire jaw, either upper or lower. Some people call them "plates." Complete dentures rest directly on the gum that covers the bone.
Complete dentures are custom made for you. The process involves multiple appointments, usually about five. The dentist first takes impressions of your mouth. At later visits, you and the dentist select the size, shape and color of the artificial teeth.
Learning to chew food with complete dentures takes patience and practice. You might have to cut your food into smaller pieces than you did in the past when you had your natural teeth.
On occasion, one or more natural teeth are kept when a denture is made. These teeth usually have root canal treatment and are shortened to fit under the denture. This type of denture is known as an overdenture.
Lower Dentures tend to be more difficult to keep in your mouth than upper dentures. Therefore, an overdenture can be particularly helpful for the lower jaw. However, it is an option for almost anyone who has a few teeth remaining.
Overdentures also can fit over implants instead of natural teeth. In fact, implants originally were developed to give people "artificial roots" for bridges or dentures in the lower jaw. The denture can fit onto the implants directly, or onto a metal bar between implants.
Partial Dentures consist of a metal framework with plastic teeth and gum areas. The framework includes metal clasps or other attachments that hold the denture in place. However, partial dentures are removed easily for cleaning.
Fixed partial dentures, which most people call bridges, are cemented in place. They look more like natural teeth. Bridges are more expensive than removable partial dentures, however. They also have to be supported by nearby healthy teeth.
Bridges are made in several ways. Some are made entirely of porcelain. Some are made with porcelain covering a gold framework. Two types of attachments are used in partial dentures, metal clasps and precision attachments.
Metal clasps are C-shaped, I-shaped and Y-shaped parts of the denture framework. They fit around neighboring natural teeth. These teeth may require shaping to help hold the clasps and keep the denture securely in place.
Flipper Denture is made of acrylic and is intended to be temporary. It replaces one or more teeth temporarily until another form of treatment (bridge, implants) can be made or decided upon. Such a denture can be placed immediately or soon after a tooth is extracted. However, it is not meant to be a permanent solution.