Conventional and Immediate Dentures

Conventional Full Dentures

This type of denture is a removable appliance that is used when all teeth in either the upper or lower arches (the upper or lower jaws) are missing. This denture is fabricated after all natural teeth are missing and the gum tissues have been given ample time to heal. During this time, you will be without any teeth.

Advantages of Conventional Full Dentures:

  • Less financial burden versus bridges of implants
  • Provides reasonable ability to chew
  • Allows for normal speech
  • Provides support for facial muscles to eliminate the “sunken face” look
  • Helps create a positive self-image

Disadvantages of Conventional Full Dentures:

  • Will cause gradual bone loss over time due to the pressure they place on the underlying bony ridges
  • Can be unstable. This is especially true of the lower denture that can be moved out of place by the tongue.

Immediate Full Dentures

This type of denture involves taking impressions and measurements of your mouth prior to having all natural teeth removed. The denture is fabricated and is then inserted immediately after all the remaining teeth are removed. The gum tissues are allowed to heal under the denture.

The advantage of immediate dentures versus conventional dentures is that you do not have to spend any time without teeth during the healing period. However, after the healing period is complete, you will need to have these dentures redone or “re-lined” in order to compensate for gum and bone shrinkage during the healing process.

Conventional Partial Dentures

An example of a prosthetic partial dentureThis type of denture is a removable appliance that replaces one or more missing teeth in the arches. To replace the missing teeth, this denture incorporates an effective and esthetic customized design using both the soft tissue ridges and some existing natural teeth to hold the denture securely in place. The foundation of a partial denture can be acrylic (which is pink or “gum-colored”) or a combination of acrylic and metal.

There are different methods used to secure the partial denture in your mouth. Metal clasps, which may or may not be visible, are the most commonly used for retention. If the appearance of the metal clasps is not desirable, precision attachments can sometimes be used to hide partial denture attachments and provide a retentive fit. Often times, this type of denture can be made to fit the existing shape of your teeth or it may be necessary to slightly alter the shape of some existing teeth.

Some patients are not good candidates for fixed, permanent bridges or implants and have to rely on partial dentures. Although partial dentures are less expensive than bridges or implants, they can be uncomfortable to wear for some people.

Advantages of Partial Dentures:

  • Less financial burden versus bridges or implants
  • Can replace multiple missing teeth with one appliance
  • Allows teeth to be maintained in their correct positions without them shifting into or towards open spaces
  • Easier to clean your natural teeth because partial dentures are removable
  • Helps create a positive self-image

Conventional Full and Partial Denture Considerations

Both full and partial dentures are removable and both contain denture teeth made of acrylic resin or porcelain. Dentures are not inherently natural and always require varying lengths of adjustment time.

In order to provide an ample foundation on which to chew, dentures press on the gum tissue. Due to the fact that gum tissue is soft and not solid, there is usually some movement of the denture. Some denture wearers say that their appliances feel bulky, loose, or that they feel like there is not enough room for their tongue. These factors will affect eating and speaking for varying amounts of time. Eventually, your mouth becomes trained to eat and speak with your dentures, and they will gradually start to feel more comfortable.

It is important to note that complete retention is often not possible and some patients will require adhesives for their dentures. Also, dentures may never feel completely or perfectly comfortable, but they are still a much better alternative than not having any teeth at all.