Types of Dentures & How to Choose the Best Option for Your Smile

Forty million people in the US have no natural teeth left. However, this doesn’t mean all these people are walking around with gummy smiles. Many are flashing a healthy, beautiful set of pearly whites thanks to dentures.

There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding dentures — don’t fall for them. Modern dentures are much more durable, natural-looking, and effective than the dentures your grandparents wore!

The problem with missing teeth

Let’s start at the beginning and take a moment to understand why missing teeth are such a big issue. There are the obvious reasons:

  • Inability to chew normally
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Tremendous effect on your appearance

These should be reason enough, but we’ve got you covered if you need more convincing.

Missing teeth spell disaster for your dental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re missing all your teeth or just one — the health implications are the same.

  • Your jawbone beneath the missing tooth will begin to dissolve. This irreversible process is known as resorption, and it will leave your cheeks with a sunken, sucking-on-a-lemon look.
  • Neighboring teeth may begin to shift and reposition, causing pain in your jaw or bite.
  • Your risk of decay and gum disease increases.
  • Empty spaces in your mouth allow bacteria to grow and travel throughout your body.

Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. When your dentist says you need to find a tooth replacement option, they want what is best for your health.

What are dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth. This tooth replacement option is comprised of artificial teeth and gums and can replace all your teeth on the top and bottom or just a few missing teeth.

The concept of dentures has been around since as early as 2500 BC. People initially made these false, removable teeth from animal teeth. Centuries later, dentures were fashioned from bone, wire, and animal and human teeth.

Over time, dentures underwent various iterations, constructed from materials like wood, repurposed human teeth, ivory, porcelain, plastic, and vulcanite (a hardened rubber). Today, most dentures are made of biocompatible acrylic resin and metal.

Most people consider dentures an unsightly set of removable teeth that could easily fall out of your mouth by accident and are strictly reserved for grandparents. Thanks to advancements in dentistry, this just isn’t true!

Modern dentures aren’t only for seniors and are nothing like what you’re probably envisioning. They allow people of all ages to restore the appearance and functionality of their mouths. Plus, not all dentures are removable. Today, there are many denture designs based on your needs.

Three popular types of dentures

As you’re considering the different styles of dentures below, remember that dentures are an option when:

  • All the teeth in your mouth are missing (called complete dentures)
  • You have some natural teeth remaining and need a few replacement teeth (called partial dentures)

1. Removable dentures

Also called “traditional dentures,” removable dentures are the most simple style of denture available. They are meant to be a simple, non-surgical solution to missing teeth.

Unlike traditional dentures of years past, modern removable dentures from Ericson Dental are crafted using the most advanced techniques to ensure durability and a comfortable fit.

Additionally, special attention is given to the teeth’ shape, color, texture, and placement to ensure a life-like and natural appearance.

Removable dentures allow you to smile confidently and ensure you can continue eating and speaking naturally. However, you should also consider that they do not improve the structural integrity of your jaw and cannot stop bone loss.

2. Implant-retained dentures

This type of denture is held securely in place by dental implants. While these dentures snap in place and won’t slip out while talking or eating, they are technically removable and must be cleaned at night.

One difference between this option and implant-supported dentures is that your gums, rather than the implant, absorb most of the bite impact.

Implant-retained dentures also use fewer implants and can often be placed with mini dental implants. This diminishes or eliminates the need for any bone grafts.

3. Implant-supported dentures

Unlike implant-retained dentures, implant-supported dentures are not removable. This fixed denture stays in your mouth forever and is held in place by several dental implants. The exact number of implants will vary but can be as many as eight.

Additionally, unlike implant-retained dentures, this type is designed to take the full force of your bite, absorbing it evenly through the implant and into your jawbone.

Due to the number of implants required for this type of denture, combined with the implant bearing the full force of your bite, your jawbone and gum tissue must be in good condition before treatment. You may need to undergo bone or soft tissue regeneration to ensure the implant-supported dentures are a success.

Which type of denture is right for you? Let’s chat!

The best type of denture will vary from person to person. Remember, modern-day dentures don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach! There are a few things to consider when finding out which type of denture is right for you:

  • How many teeth do you have missing
  • The health of your gum tissue and jawbone
  • Your age and whole body health
  • Whether or not you want to invest in implants
  • Amount of time you can devote to the maintenance of your dentures
  • How quickly you want to restore your smile

Ultimately, only a highly qualified denture dentist can recommend the best type of denture for your health and smile. To learn more about your options and which type best fits you, contact Pathway Dental Group today.