What are dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic devices designed to help patients without teeth chew food and improve speaking habits. Additionally, dentures improve the patient’s facial aesthetics and self-esteem. The absence of teeth can lead to a sunken, collapsed appearance to the mouth-area; by restoring the physical presence of teeth, this malformation is corrected and the patient may be seen more “normally” according to aesthetic standards.

Types of dentures

There are three types of dentures: full (complete), fixed and removable partial dentures. The former is only required in people who have lost all or most of the teeth on either of the two arches of the mouth (maxillary – top and mandibular – bottom). Most patients missing only a few teeth opt for fixed partial dentures, also known as “crown and bridge.” These must be precisely installed, especially when in between healthy teeth. Removable partial dentures are different from fixed partial dentures in that they are normally only used by people who cannot have fixed dentures or have lost too many teeth for fixed dentures, but too few for full dentures.

A frequent issue with dentures is their ability to remain in place during usage. This is rated on a series of three principles:

  • Support – The denture may have a tendency to clasp tighter and tighter to the gums as the mouth chews food. The better the support, the less likely the denture is to move vertically closer to the arch upon which it is situated.
  • Stability – Movement in the horizontal plane, sometimes described as “slipping” front to back or side to side, can be hazardous to the patient. The quality of denture base is responsible for preventing movement with good continuous contact with the edentulous crest. However, this is heavily dependent on the patient’s innate oral anatomy.
  • Retention – This is the principle that describes the tendency of the denture to move vertically away from the gums, into the lumen of the mouth. The craftsmanship of the denture is tested here, as the better the intaglio (inside of denture) copies the oral topography, the more effective the seal is.

These principles are heavily reliant on the meticulous nature of the denture’s creation. A denturist or prosthodontist is generally recommended over a dentist, with the exception of those who are exceptionally experienced and detailed. Maxillary dentures tend to achieve better unification with the toothless gums due to the improvement in suction from the smooth surface. However, mandibular dentures are much more effective if the patient still retains some teeth.

Schedule a consultation

If you are interested in Dentures and would like to see if you are a good candidate, contact our New Orleans office at (504) 486-3339 to schedule a consultation.