You’ve taken care of your teeth your whole life. Yet despite your efforts to maintain good oral health, you’ve lost several teeth along the way. Age, tooth decay, mouth injuries, or any other factor could have caused this loss.
When you were only missing one tooth, that small gap didn’t seem like a huge concern-especially if the gap was located near the back of your mouth and no one else could see it. But now, you’re missing multiple teeth, and the evidence is obvious.
You know that a dental expert can rectify the issue, but you wonder which gap-filling option will best serve you. In this blog, we discuss two of the most common ways to correct gaps in your teeth. Specifically, we’ll talk about dentures and dental implants. Read on to learn more about these devices, how they work, and why they’re beneficial for you.
1. Full Dentures
As the name entails, full dentures are a dental device used to replace your top row of teeth, your bottom set of teeth, or both sets entirely. You’ll only need full dentures if several of your teeth have been knocked out or you’ve lost many teeth to tooth decay or other damage.
Even if you do take good care of your teeth, you can still lose them as you age. You’ll still need a way to support your jaw, speak properly, and eat normally, and dentures can allow you to do all of these tasks.
Before you even get dentures, your dentist must take a few steps. At one appointment, your dentist will take a mold of your mouth and jaw. These molds measure the space inside your mouth so the dental lab can create a custom set of dentures. In the lab, the technicians will then use plastic or wax and make a denture model that exactly fits the mold your dentist took. Then, they’ll add artificial teeth on top.
Then, the technicians will adjust the fit, shape, and color of the denture model before they make the actual denture set. Once they correct any issues in the model, they’ll make your actual set of dentures.
Full dentures come in two different forms: conventional and immediate.
Conventional Full Dentures
With this denture type, your dentist will take the same steps listed above to make your denture set. But before your dentist can place your dentures, he or she will have to remove any remaining teeth in your mouth. Often a dentist will only choose this denture type if there is no chance of saving your remaining teeth.
After the gum tissues have healed, you’ll receive your dentures. In the meantime, however, you won’t have any teeth in your mouth.
Immediate Full Dentures
Immediate full dentures are much more convenient to receive than conventional full dentures. Your dentist will still remove any remaining damaged teeth. But your dentist will fit you with immediate dentures, meaning you won’t have to leave the dental office and live for an extended time without teeth.
However, you’ll have to revisit your dentist a few months later to have the dentures refitted. Over time, the jaw bones that support your teeth will reshape during the healing process. Your dentures will then loosen, and you won’t be able to use them as effectively unless you get them refitted.
Regardless of which type of denture your dentist chooses for you, he or she may recommend that you wear the device for 24 hours a day for a couple of weeks or more. This method is the best way for you to notice if any spots feel uncomfortable and need adjusting. After you’ve adjusted to wearing dentures, you can take them out at night to stimulate your gum tissues and keep your gums and mouth healthy.
2. Partial Dentures
If you are only missing a few teeth in a row, partial dentures may be a better gap-filling option. Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and send that mold to a denture-creation lab.
As with full dentures, the lab technicians will use the mold to create a partial denture model. They’ll also use the model to adjust the fit, color, and shape of the partial dentures before they make the actual device for you to use. Unlike full dentures, however, partial dentures can be either removable or permanent.
Removable partial dentures (RPDs) work similarly to full dentures, but with a few variations. Instead of replacing an entire row of missing teeth, partial dentures replace a few missing teeth in a row. The ends of the partial denture hook onto your surrounding teeth, and the artificial teeth cover any gaps. At night, you’ll remove these dentures.
Also known as a dental bridge, permanent partial dentures fill gaps in your smile. However, the bridge requires a dental implant to permanently replace your teeth. Your dentist will assess you for your eligibility to receive dental implants. Then, he or she will install the implants.
Once your bridge has been made, your dentist will attach the bridge to the implants and the surrounding teeth to secure it in place.
Ready to revitalize your smile? Schedule an appointment with your dentist and ask him or her which of these gap-filling options will work best for your mouth.