Complete dentures serve to substitute for missing teeth among people with no remaining teeth. Dentures that are worn by people who have lost several teeth fall into the category of partial dentures or overdentures.

A removable partial denture is an apparatus that replaces several teeth and is constructed around existing natural teeth. An overdenture is a removable device that is placed on top of one or more remaining tooth roots. Both overdentures and removable partial dentures may be attached to the remaining teeth or tooth roots with metal or plastic anchors. These anchors increase stability and the preservation of both types of dentures.

Tooth loss may be a consequence of tooth decay, periodontal disease, or traumatic injury. It is essential that missing teeth are replaced, for many reasons that include movement of remaining teeth and ineffective ability to bite and chew properly. Additionally, tooth loss contributes to a sagging and aging facial appearance.

Dentures nowadays are designed so that the wearer is comfortable and can effectively perform the functions of the teeth. Dentures look like natural teeth and can improve a smile or facial appearance.

Selecting a Dentist for Dentures

If you are a candidate for dentures, be sure to learn the extent of the dentist’s training and experience. Although many general dentists are able to carry out the denture procedure, prosthodontists have an additional three years of advanced training in restorative dentistry. You may obtain more information about the training of prosthodontists in the U.S. from the American College of Prosthodontists.

Procedure for Placing Dentures

To determine your need for dentures, your dentist will first examine your gums and supporting bone structure. He or she will then develop an appropriate treatment plan. Once your dentist has decided that dentures are indicated, an impression of your gums will be made. This impression will be used to detect every ridge and crevice in the mouth so that the best denture fit can be obtained.

In some instances, bony ridges of the mouth may potentially cause poor stability of the denture, and oral surgery is required to correct the problem. In other cases, extraction of the remaining teeth may be required before the placement of dentures.

If tooth extraction is called for, your dentist will usually place an immediate denture that enables proper healing of the extraction sites and makes an esthetic replacement for natural teeth. Your dentist will consider the most suitable shade and shape in selecting replacement teeth for your immediate dentures.

The immediate dentures can be easily adjusted for changes in the gums and underlying bone structure during the healing process. The healing process of tooth loss usually takes from 6 to 12 months, during which the gums will naturally shrink. Adjustment for the immediate dentures may incorporate soft and hard relining procedures.

After the healing period, when the gums are restored to a healthy condition, the complete dentures are constructed and placed. Final custom-designed dentures are constructed by dental lab technicians for a perfect fit.

Care of Dentures

Complete dentures, overdentures, and removable partial dentures should be taken off at night while you sleep. Rinse and store your dentures in cold water to help remove food particles. Having your dentures off allows the gums to be covered by saliva, which has important properties in maintaining a healthy mouth.

Cost of Dentures

The cost of dentures is influenced by several factors:

  • The services of a prosthodontist in creating the dentures may cost more.
  • Additional procedures may be required in the process of replacing your teeth, such as tooth extractions or oral surgery to even out bony ridges.
  • The degree of complexity in the creation of the dentures varies.
  • The dental materials selected affect the cost. Highly cross-linked polymer dentures are more expensive, but they are also more esthetically pleasing and more durable than those made from conventional plastic. Various metals may be used in removable partial dentures that can also increase the cost.
  • Warranties offered for the dentures range from one to 10 years.

Complete dentures can cost from $300 up to $8,000, not including extra procedures like tooth extractions or oral surgery. The whole process of making a set of complete dentures may take an experienced dentist 15 hours over five to six dental visits. Depending on your dental insurance coverage, insurance companies may offer a reimbursement of 15 percent or up to 50 percent absorption of the costs.