Complete prosthesis, also known as “dentures”:
- It is used to replace all the teeth (14 in all) in a dental arch (upper or lower jaw).
- It covers and rests on a good part of the gum. The full upper jaw prosthesis also covers and rests on the palate.
- It is held in place in the mouth by the suction effect created by the saliva that accumulates between the denture and the gum.
There are 2 types of dentures: partial and full. They are all made in a laboratory, using a mold (or an impression) of the mouth.
The partial denture (or removable partial denture) is held in place by clasps that grip onto the neighboring healthy teeth. It replaces one or more teeth and must be removed for overnight cleaning.
It can be used when the neighboring teeth are not strong enough to support a bridge or when many teeth are missing.
Basic types available
2 basic types are available:
- Pink resin (acrylic): The color mimics the natural gum. Full dentures are almost exclusively made of acrylic; they are sometimes reinforced with other types of materials, such as fiberglass or a metal alloy.
- Metal Alloy: The metal structure is very thin and lighter than the acrylic base, but stronger, so it often acts as reinforcement to the acrylic base.
The artificial teeth mounted on the base of the prosthesis are made of resin (acrylic) in the color of the natural teeth or porcelain (ceramic) (less used nowadays).
Who can benefit from dentures?
- A person of any age who has suffered partial or total loss of teeth due to several reasons, such as accident, disease, congenital condition, age or poor oral hygiene.
- A person with a significant health problem, especially cardiac patients, for whom surgery may be contraindicated.
- Patient with insufficient jawbone support to consider other available treatment plans
Immediate prosthesis when it is installed immediately after the extractions; it is then made before the extractions by taking measurements of the jaw to model it afterwards. It has the advantage for the patient to have a prosthesis while the gums are healing. However, it needs to be adjusted more frequently, because during the healing process, the gums and jawbones change shape, so the prosthesis can become very uncomfortable.
Conventional prosthesis when it is placed in the mouth only after complete healing of the gums and jaw following dental extractions. The main disadvantage of this type of prosthesis is that the patient remains completely or partially edentulous during the healing process.
What is the cost of a denture?
- Consult your dental professional for the cost of a removable prosthesis.
- A removable prosthesis remains less expensive than treatment plans involving dental implants.
- Some dental insurance companies will reimburse part of the cost of a removable prosthesis in part or in full.
Steps and timelines for denture placement
It may take a few days to a few weeks to complete the following steps, depending on how the prosthesis is fabricated (on site at the clinic, in an external laboratory, etc.):
- Denturological examination and taking of several impressions of your mouth in order to obtain details on the shape of the gums, the position of the internal structures of the mouth or adjacent to the future prosthesis, such as the tongue, lips and cheeks.
- Measurement of the jaw position and choice of teeth (color, shape and material) and base material according to the complete physiognomy of your mouth and your preferences.
- Fabrication of the prosthesis in the laboratory (internal or external to the clinic). You may be able to have a temporary prosthesis while the final custom-made prosthesis is being made.
- Fitting of the prosthesis, during the fabrication period, to verify its function and aesthetics with your physiognomy, as well as preliminary adjustments. Several fittings may be necessary for a complete prosthesis.
- Placement of the final prosthesis in the mouth, as well as the adjustments and corrections necessary to optimize your comfort.
If you have had dental extractions, a denture adjustment 3 to 6 months after the extractions is recommended as a result of the gingival loss experienced during healing of the extraction sites.
The benefits of dentures
- The manufacture of a removable prosthesis is low cost compared to alternative treatments (e.g. dental implants).
- The manufacturing period is much shorter than the time required to complete some other alternative treatments (e.g. dental implants).
- Removable prosthesis is a non-invasive treatment plan as no surgical procedures are required, except if tooth extractions are necessary.
- Another more permanent treatment plan could be considered in the future if you decide to stop wearing your removable denture and if your medical condition allows it. In other words, wearing a removable denture is “reversible” under certain conditions.
- Your smile (final result) after the prosthesis is placed in your mouth can be predicted by the color and shape given to the teeth of the prosthesis so that they completely match the remaining teeth (partial prosthesis) or the old teeth (complete prosthesis).
- You can remove it and put it back on afterwards.
- It can be readjusted as needed to ensure it is always comfortable.