What Are Dentures?

Dentures are removable tooth replacements. These can be partial dentures, which replace less than a full arch of teeth, or full dentures, which replace a full arch of teeth and might be designed for either the upper or lower arch.

In most cases, dentures simply sit in the mouth. Full dentures are held in place by suction, while partial dentures are partly supported by your remaining natural teeth.

Benefits and Limitations of Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are replacements for one or more missing teeth, but less than a full arch of teeth. The replacement teeth are attached to a plastic, metal, or rubber framework. These are held in place partly by suction but also by arms, hooks, or clasps that secure around natural teeth.

  • The benefits of partial dentures are:
  • The appearance of a whole smile
  • Prevent drifting of natural teeth

Partial dentures are primarily cosmetic appliances. They help your smile look whole, especially at first glance. In addition, partial dentures keep your natural teeth from drifting. This maintains the natural spacing of your teeth and can help you avoid tooth damage related to unbalanced bite forces. However, partial dentures come with significant tradeoffs. This includes:

  • Potential interference with eating
  • Wear or decay on supporting teeth
  • Gum disease risk
  • Discomfort
  • Dentures coming out in public situations

Partial dentures don’t really assist with eating. They can’t sustain the same forces as your natural teeth, so at best they don’t get in the way of biting and chewing. However, some people find that they make it harder to eat, and they prefer to take dentures out for eating.

In addition, partial dentures can cause plaque to accumulate against your natural teeth. This can increase the risk of cavities, and dentures with metal clasps or hooks can wear down your natural teeth. Bacteria and food can also collect under the partial denture, which leads not only to bad breath but can also increase your risk of gum disease.

Partial dentures can also be uncomfortable to wear, and they can sometimes come out in public situations when you talk, laugh, or sneeze.

Benefits and Limitations of Full Dentures

Full dentures are a replacement option for when you have lost all your teeth either on the top or bottom arch. They let you chew better, help you maintain balance and avoid falls, and they make it more comfortable to interact socially.

Numerous studies show that people who wear full dentures live longer, richer, and happier lives than those who lose their teeth but don’t wear dentures.

Nonetheless, full dentures without dental implants have many drawbacks. They:

  • Limit your ability to bite and chew
  • Don’t stay in place
  • Can get uncomfortable to wear
  • Encourage the loss of jawbone
  • Need to be replaced frequently

Dentures rest on your gums, which are not designed to support teeth. This makes it hard to bite and chew effectively. You will have less bite force than you did with natural teeth and may have to give up many of your favorite foods. In addition, dentures tend to not stay in place. They slide around in the mouth and can come out at unfortunate times. They are only held in place by suction, which is not a strong force. The combination of sliding around and putting force on your gums makes dentures uncomfortable to wear. Many people end up not wearing them unless they absolutely need to.

Once your teeth are lost, your body tends to remove bone from the jaw that it considers unnecessary. Dentures can actually speed this process by putting forces on the gums that stimulate more loss of jawbone. Dentures need to be replaced often not just because they wear out, but because the changing jawbones cause them to lose fit regularly.

Are You considering Dentures?

If you have lost some or all of your teeth and think that dentures might be the best tooth-replacement option for you, please call (586) 977-8413 today for an appointment at Skowronski Family Dentistry.