Natural teeth and the underlying bone provide a framework that supports the structures of your face including your lips, cheeks, and nose. When teeth are lost the ability to eat and chew properly is impaired, and it becomes difficult to maintain a proper diet. Without support from your teeth, the face will sag creating a look of premature aging. Additionally, without teeth we cannot speak clearly and distinctly.
A denture, or a complete denture as it is often called, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, and replaces the natural teeth in the upper and lower jaw, or both, sitting on the soft (gum) tissue of the mouth that covers the bone ridge. Drs. Ressler, Hirschl and Lelchuk use several different procedures to make sure your denture will fit the shape of your mouth and provide the necessary support for the cheeks, lips and face. The design of the denture and position of the teeth will restore good speech and appearance.
Most dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways. A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed. An immediate denture is fabricated and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture. An upper denture is acrylic and usually flesh colored that covers the palate (roof of the mouth). A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue. The teeth are made of plastic, porcelain or a combination thereof. Dentures can be fabricated to fit over endodontically treated teeth and a complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Dentures over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. It is important that Drs. Ressler, Hirschl and Lelchuk see you for regular dental examinations. This is still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.
Removable Partial Dentures
A removable partial denture is used when there are still natural teeth left. The missing teeth are replaced by this type of denture in an effective and esthetic design using both the soft tissue ridges and teeth to hold them securely in place. This tooth replacement is removable by you, which makes cleaning easier. Because removable partial dentures use teeth and soft tissue for support, you may be given the opportunity to choose a variety of treatment plans. We will discuss these options after a thorough examination of your teeth, soft tissue (gums and cheeks), remaining bone and surrounding anatomy. The examination should also include x-rays (radiographs) or impressions to make models of the mouth.
Your new teeth will look natural and are made from the most durable materials on the market today. The foundation of the partial denture can be plastic or a combination of plastic and metal. There are different methods used to secure the partial denture in your mouth. Metal clasps are the most common and they may or may not be visible. Where the appearance of metal clasps are not wanted (as along your upper front teeth), there are precision attachments that can be used to hide the partial denture attachments and provide a secure fit. The denture can often be made to fit the existing shape of your teeth, or it may be necessary to alter your remaining teeth. We will indicate which design will be most appropriate for you.