What Type of Dentures is Best for Missing Teeth?

Learn about different types of dental prostheses available for replacing missing teeth: full and partial conventional and flexible removable partial and implant-supported prostheses.

What Type of Dentures is Best for Missing Teeth?

A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. There are two main types of dentures available: full and partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when there are a few natural teeth left. Full dentures, or complete dentures, consist of upper and lower sets and are removable devices that can be used to replace missing teeth.

The teeth of the prosthesis are made of porcelain or acrylic and are held together by an acrylic or metal base. Full dentures may be needed when all your teeth are lost and can help you regain your appearance, making you feel more confident to smile. A removable partial denture (RPD) is a prosthesis that goes in and out of the mouth and replaces any missing teeth you may have. A single removable partial denture can replace 1 tooth or almost all of the teeth in a single arch. They are generally the cheapest treatment option available.

However, many find that having to go in and out can be annoying. Dentures fall into different categories based on the number of teeth they replace, how they are secured, and how quickly they can be used. Since there are several types of dentures available, it's important to discuss your options with a reputable dentist before starting the process. You may want to consider the cost of each type, as well as its aesthetic and functional benefits. Conventional dentures rest on the gums or on the remaining natural teeth.

In most cases, traditional dentures are removable. Depending on the extent of the tooth loss, your dentist may place a full traditional denture to replace an arch of teeth or a partial denture to fill the spaces in your smile. For patients who are missing most but not all of their teeth, an overdenture offers a unique solution. Supported by both the implants and the remaining teeth, an overdenture can be removable or fixed. Also known as hybrid prostheses, overdentures allow you to preserve as many natural teeth as possible.

However, this type of restoration is more expensive and time consuming than conventional dentures. In addition to the different types of dentures available, there is also a range of quality. Custom cosmetic dentures are a high-end solution for patients who lose a large part of their teeth. Made from durable, realistic materials, cosmetic dentures are often indistinguishable from natural teeth. However, many dentists can also make more affordable dentures for patients who need to replace their teeth on a limited budget. It's important to discuss every aspect of your new dentures with your dentist to make sure you choose the optimal restoration for you.

Full dentures are probably what comes to mind when you think of traditional dentures. They consist of artificial teeth and a base the color of the gums. If you are missing several or most of your teeth in one or both of your jaws, partial dentures may be an option. Partial dentures are similar to full dentures, since they also rest on the gums and underlying bone. However, partial dentures also have special clasps that hook around the remaining natural teeth, providing additional stability.

A newer, more aesthetic removable partial denture option is the “flexible removable partial denture”. The hybrid type of partial dentures also has a metal structure with supports, but the clasps (which can be an eyesore in certain areas and, therefore, a disadvantage of metal structures) are made of the same type of thermoplastic material that “removable and flexible partial dentures” are made of. You should also replace your dentures every one to two years or every time you notice changes in the way your dentures fit. Most flexible dentures are made of thin thermoplastic, such as nylon, compared to the thicker, stiffer acrylic used in full dentures. The main reason for this is that flexible dentures do not have supports that prevent the denture from pressing on the gums.

Unlike other types of dentures, implant-supported prostheses (also called permanent dentures or hybrid dentures) are not removable. Flexible dentures are a type of partial denture, but they are made from different materials than common partial dentures. Implant-held dentures tend to offer more stability than traditional prostheses because they “hook” to implants embedded in the jaw. The disadvantage of a non-removable denture is that it requires more thorough daily cleaning, including the use of dental floss under the denture. Finally, re-lining or repairing broken teeth or adding more prosthetic teeth to flexible dentures is much more difficult.

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