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Denture types

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Two types of dentures are available – complete and partial. Complete dentures are used when all teeth are missing in an arch (upper or lower) and partial dentures are for when some natural teeth remain. If your few remaining natural teeth are mobile, heavily decayed or worn down, your dentist may suggest extracting them and opting for complete dentures – always consider the consequence of tooth extractions though. Complete dentures are either of the “conventional” or “immediate” type, depending on when they are made. Immediate complete dentures are made in advance so that they can be placed right after your teeth have been extracted. This saves you the embarrassment of being seen without teeth as your gums heal from the extractions. During the healing process though, your bones and gums shrink, so your immediate dentures will require regular adjustments to ensure proper fit – therefore, immediate dentures are a temporary solution. Conventional dentures are made 2 to 3 months after your teeth have been removed and healing is complete. They are better fitting and only need occasional adjustments. The second type of denture is a partial denture. A removable partial denture consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. Clasps built within the partial denture framework circle and hold onto natural teeth for increased retention. They are usually placed around back teeth to keep them hidden.Complete dentures are designed to adapt perfectly to the mouth contour. Adaptation to the bone and gums, as well as the patient’s unconscious neuromuscular control, helps retain complete dentures in the mouth. Because of the tongue, lower complete dentures are more difficult to keep in the mouth than their upper counterpart. Partial dentures are removable but have internal attachments, such as clasps, that attach to adjacent teeth, helping to keep them in the mouth. Partial dentures are therefore considerably more retentive than complete dentures.

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