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Choosing Between Full Dentures and Partial Dentures
Partial dentures and full dentures are both effective solutions for people who are missing their teeth. Up to 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least a tooth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. Missing teeth can affect your confidence and quality of life. If you are thinking of getting dentures to replace your lost teeth, you may have to choose between full or partial dentures.
What are dentures?
Dentures are dental prostheses that have been used for several decades for replacing lost teeth. They are created from hard acrylic, are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth and look like natural teeth. They may not be as strong as natural teeth, but getting dentures can help patients eat, smile and speak normally once again.
Partial dentures, often simply called partials, are removable varieties of dentures. Partials are a good option for patients who still have many healthy teeth on their jaw, because it would be unreasonable to remove fully functional and healthy teeth. The denture will replace the missing tooth and prevent other teeth from shifting out of alignment.
Partials are often confused with fixed bridges, but they are different because partial dentures are removable and fixed bridges are not. Fixed bridges attach to the adjacent teeth permanently. On the other hand, partial dentures use an acrylic metal frame with clasps that snap onto the nearby teeth for support, filling the gap with the artificial prosthetic tooth.
Dentists usually recommend full dentures for people who have lost most or all their teeth. Conventional full dentures are used for the upper or lower jaw. If there are any teeth left on the jaw and the patient opts to have them removed, the dentist needs to perform tooth extractions. Afterward, the dentures will be provided. There are generally two types of full dentures.
Conventional dentures: These usually take several weeks to produce, and the process only starts after the remaining teeth are removed and the gums have healed completely. The patient will get temporary dentures while the permanent dentures are being made.
Immediate dentures: These types of dentures are created ahead of the tooth extraction procedure and are placed in the mouth immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. The dentist may need to adjust the denture after the gums have healed. Patients can eventually have the dentures replaced by traditional dentures.
Making the right choice
If you are missing several or all of your teeth, partial or full dentures are good dental restoration options to consider. The cost of the procedure typically depends on the patient’s requirements and the quality of the materials chosen. A conversation with the dentist is the best way to know which type of denture would be more appropriate for replacing lost teeth.
Although full or partial dentures may not be the same as your natural teeth, newer dentures are custom made to look and feel natural and comfortable. Contact the general dentist today to know how you can restore your smile and confidence with dentures.
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