During our grandparent’s and even our parent’s generation, they had few options for saving teeth that were chipped, missing or unhealthy. Dentists had to pull their teeth and dentures were the only option. The dentures of yesteryear were ill-fitting and made eating corn-on-the-cob or steak virtually off limits. Speaking could be a problem as well.
Today, improvements have made dentures a good option for a great smile that can be very natural looking. At South Florida Dental Care, we make sure your dentures are designed to be comfortable and functional, and can improve on your sagging facial appearance.
A Bit of History
Dentures have come a long way … contrary to myth, George Washington’s dentures were not made out of wood. In fact, when Washington was elected President in 1789, he only had one tooth in his mouth! His dentures were state-of-the-art for the times – they were made from Hippopotamus, Walrus, and Elephant Ivory, Pony, Horse and Human Teeth.
The Types of Dentures
There are types of dentures available today — complete and partial dentures. If you have any natural teeth remaining, you may only need a partial denture.
Similarly, there are two types of complete dentures available today – conventional and immediate. As the name implies, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be placed as soon as your teeth are removed. The big advantage is you don’t have to go without teeth! The downside is because teeth extraction can cause your bones and gums to swell, the immediate dentures may require more adjustments while you are healing.
Conventional dentures on the other hand are made after your teeth have been removed and the gums and bone have healed – anywhere from 8 – 12 weeks after being removed.
Conventional dentures rest on a plastic base that is colored pink to look gum tissue. If done correctly, most people will not know that you are wearing dentures!
Partial dentures sit atop either a plastic base or a metal framework. Partial dentures are removable and are recommended if you still have one or two natural teeth left in your upper or lower jaw by which to append a bridge. They can be attached either by metal clasps or precision attachments. A partial denture helps to fill in gaps between teeth that are missing so the other teeth won’t shift.
Both complete and partial dentures are made from prefabricated acrylic and sized to fit the shape of your jaw and mouth. The goal is to get as close as possible to the color and overall look of your natural teeth.
Why Would I Want Dentures?
Dentures aren’t always done for cosmetic reasons – many times it is a necessity for your oral health. True, dentures can increase your self-confidence and dramatically improve your smile. Missing teeth can lead to bone loss – there is a 25% decrease in the width of bone during the first year of tooth loss and an overall 4 millimeters decrease in height over the next few years. Additionally, missing teeth can lead to weight loss, particularly for people who find it difficult to chew.
Are There Other Choices to Dentures?
There are two alternatives to dentures: bridges and implants.
Bridges can be used of you have from one to three missing in a row. Bridges can be made from a variety of substances including gold, porcelain fused to gold, all porcelain, or zirconium. Since bridges are cemented in place, they are considered a “fixed, or “permanent denture.”
Implants have become very popular as a replacement for dentures. It takes approximately four months to complete this dental procedure as well, but the implants are permanent – not removable. Dental patients wear a transitional denture until healed.
Implants are more expensive than dentures … ask your dentist which would be better for you!
With our dentures, patients can experience an improvement in their smile and facial appearance. Dentureswill also improve your ability to chew and speak while providing support for facial muscles to prevent facial drooping. And you can even get same day dentures so you don’t have to go without teeth.
If you are missing all your teeth or just some of your teeth, call our office today for a free no-obligation consultation. Whether from tooth decay, injury, or gum disease, dentures are an excellent option for people who are not candidates for implants or veneers.
About The Author
Dr. Jeffrey Pass, DDS, has been in private practice since 1987 and emphasizes cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentistry. A graduate of NYU College of Dentistry, Dr. Pass practiced privately in Manhattan, NY prior to establishing South Florida Dental Care in 1993. He regularly attends continuing education classes and is a member of the American Dental Association, South Florida District Dental Association, South Broward Dental Society, and the Florida branch of The Seattle Study Club.