Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. There are two main types of dentures: complete and partial. Both are finely crafted and custom-fitted to the patient, and if properly maintained,will appear natural and provide a perfect smile.
Dentures can help patients in a number of ways:
1. Mastication - chewing ability is enhanced by replacing empty areas with denture teeth
2. Aesthetics - the presence of teeth provides a natural facial appearance, and wearing a denture to replace missing teeth offers support for the lips and cheeks and corrects the collapsed appearance that occurs after losing teeth
3. Phonetics - by replacing missing teeth, specifically the anteriors, patients are better able to speak by improving pronunciation of letters and words
4. Self-Esteem - Patients feel better about themselves with a complete set of teeth in their mouths
Complete dentures can be either "conventional" or "immediate." Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal.Therefore, a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered as a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
Partial dentures can be classified into removable partial dentures and fixed partial dentures, also known as bridges.
A removable partial denture is for a patient who has only a few missing teeth, and desires to have replacement teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons, and who cannot have a bridge (a fixed partial denture) for any number of reasons, such as a lack of required teeth to serve as support for a bridge or due to financial limitations.
The reason why this type of prosthesis is referred to as a removable partial denture is because patients can remove it and reinsert it when required without professional help.