Dentures, also known as false teeth, are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth.
Conventional dentures are removable. However, there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth or dental implants. There are two main categories of dentures, the distinction being whether they are used to replace missing teeth on the mandibular arch or on the maxillary arch.
Patients can become entirely edentulous (without teeth) for many reasons, the most prevalent being removal because of dental disease typically relating to periodontal disease and tooth decay. Other reasons include tooth developmental defects caused by severe malnutrition, genetic defects such as dentinogenesis imperfecta, trauma, or drug use.
Removable partial dentures are for patients who are missing some of their teeth on a particular arch. Fixed partial dentures, also known as “crown and bridge” dentures, are made from crowns that are fitted on the remaining teeth. They act as abutments and pontics and are made from materials resembling the missing teeth. Fixed bridges are more expensive than removable appliances but are more stable.
Another option in this category is the Flexible partial, which is widely considered to be the most comfortable. The final restoration can now be made very quickly with innovations in digital technology. Flexible partials are becoming much more popular due to their aesthetic qualities. While the cost may be higher than a partial made with visible metal clasps, the results of the flexible partial are beautiful, with high levels of satisfaction. Flexible partial fabrication involves only non-invasive procedures, and serves as a virtually invisible tooth replacement option.
Complete dentures are worn by patients who are missing all of the teeth in a single arch (i.e., the maxillary (upper) or mandibular (lower) arch).