Robert Wong, DDS
Woodland Hills Family Dentistry
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A denture is a removable prosthesis for missing teeth and the tissues connected to those teeth. It is made of acrylic plastic and sometimes has porcelain and metal material. A denture closely resembles natural gum tissue and teeth.
Dentists make a full conventional dentures when all teeth have been lost and all extraction areas have healed. The denture process takes about a month during which there are about four to six weekly appointments. After the exam and planning, impressions and registrations of how your jaws relate are taken. Teeth are set in wax for a "try-in" visit for you to assure that the dentures will fit, function and appear to your satisfaction. If the try in is successful, the dentures will be processed and ready for your next visit.
Complete dentures replace all of the teeth while partial dentures fill in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevent other teeth from shifting position. Complete dentures are "immediate" or "conventional". Conventional dentures are made for people who have been missing teeth for a while after all teeth have been removed. An immediate denture is a complete denture or partial denture that is inserted on the same day, immediately after the removal of natural teeth. The immediate denture protects the tissue to reduce bleeding after extractions and restores some function during the early healing stages.
A partial denture is made when patients still have some of their natural teeth
New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new "teeth" because even the best-fitting dentures will feel awkward at first. While most patients can begin to speak normally within a few hours, many patients feel discomfort with eating for several days to a few weeks. Changes in facial appearance, increased salivary flow and minor irritations may also be noticed. It will often take many weeks to develop neuromuscular control to chew comfortably and not have the dentures loosen as they speak or chew.
People will lose teeth or have missing teeth for various reasons. Here are some options for replacing missing teeth to restore function and appearance.
A dental bridge is a false tooth that is used to fill the gap created by a missing tooth or teeth. An unnatural gap between your teeth can potentially cause problems to your dental health, as it may allow other surrounding teeth to shift resulting in a change in your bite that could lead to decay and gum problems Dental bridges help alleviate this problem by using the two surrounding teeth as anchors to hold a false tooth in the place where the gap is. Typically, porcelain crowns are placed over the surrounding teeth, and the false tooth, known as a pontic, is fused between them. There are three types of dental bridges that are commonly used today
1. Traditional fixed bridge - This is the most common type of dental bridge, in which porcelain crowns are placed over the two surrounding teeth and used as anchors to hold the false tooth in place. The false tooth is usually made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
2. Cantilever bridge – A cantilever bridge is used when teeth are present on only one side of the gap. These are used typically in areas of your mouth that doesn’t experience an intense chewing load, such as your front teeth.
3. Resin-bonded bridge - In a resin-bonded bridge, metal bands are bonded to the surrounding teeth with resin and used to hold a plastic false tooth in place. This type of bridge is typically used in areas of the mouth that undergo less stress, such as the front teeth.
A minimum of two visits are required for placing a dental bridge. At the first visit, three important steps are completed. First, the surrounding teeth are prepared to be fitted with a crown. This may including filing down the tooth so that the crown can fit over it. Second, an impression is taken of your teeth which will be sent to a laboratory to fabricate the bridge and crown. Finally, the dentist fits your teeth with a temporary bridge to protect them while the bridge is prepared at the laboratory.
At the second visit, the temporary bridge is removed and the new bridge received from the laboratory is fitted and adjusted. Multiple visits may be necessary to check and adjust the fit.
Dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular method for replacing missing teeth. In this procedure, titanium supports are surgically fused with your jawbone, and act as an anchor for naturally looking false teeth. Dental implants are not only used for individual tooth replacement, but can also be used when replacing multiple teeth as an alternative to dentures.
Advantages of dental implants
- Implants are extremely natural looking
- Fusion of the implants into your jaw make them very stable and comfortable compared to traditionally dentures
- They last a lifetime
Disadvantages of dental implants
- Implants are expensive and a major financial investment
- The process of getting implants can be time consuming and requires multiple visits to the dentist
- There is a chance the surgery fails (roughly 5% of the time)
Types of implants
Your dentist will be able to tell you which of the three types of implants is right for you:
- Root form implant: This is the most common type of implant where the screw is shaped like the root of a tooth.
- Plate Form Implant:A plate form implant has a flat and long shape and is better suited for a narrow jawbone.
- Subperiosteal Implants: In some cases where there is not enough bone width or height for the root form or plate form implant, a subperiosteal implant may be prescribed. This type of implant is designed to sit on top of the bone, but under the gums.