Dentures (also known as false teeth) are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth, and which are supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Conventional dentures are removable, however there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth or dental implants. There are two main categories of dentures, depending on whether they are used to replace missing teeth on the mandibular arch or the maxillary arch.
Causes of tooth loss
Patients can become entirely edentulous (without teeth) for many reasons, the most prevalent being removal because of dental disease typically relating to oral flora control, i.e. periodontal disease and tooth decay. Other reasons include tooth developmental defects caused by severe malnutrition, genetic defects such as dentinogenesis imperfecta, trauma, or drug use.
- Mastication as chewing ability is improved by replacing edentulous areas with denture teeth.
- Aesthetics because the presence of teeth provide a natural facial appearance, and wearing a denture to replace missing teeth provides support for the lips and cheeks and corrects the collapsed appearance that occurs after losing teeth.
- The improvement of pronunciation of those words containing sibilants or fricatives by replacing missing teeth, especially the anteriors enabling patients to be able to speak better.
- Improving Self-Esteem
Removable partial dentures
Removable partial dentures are for patients who are missing some of their teeth on a particular arch. Fixed partial dentures, also known as “crown and bridge”, are made from crowns that are fitted on the remaining teeth to act as abutments and pontics made from materials to resemble the missing teeth. Fixed bridges are more expensive than removable appliances but are more stable.
Conversely, complete dentures or full dentures are worn by patients who are missing all of the teeth in a single arch (i.e. the maxillary (upper) or mandibular (lower) arch).