Inadequate dental care or periodontal disease may weaken gums to the point where they can no longer support the teeth. If you have missing or damaged teeth, consider using false teeth, or dentures, to improve your smile, speech and ability to eat comfortably. A dentist can help you determine the best type of false teeth for your needs, whether you're missing one or a few teeth and need a bridge, or need to purchase a full set of dentures.
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A fixed bridge often consists of a single false tooth, with a crown or cap attached to either side. The crowns fit over the top of the existing teeth, anchoring the false tooth into the gap in between. Dentists fasten this acrylic bridge into the mouth using dental cement for a secure, long-lasting bond.
A partial denture consists of a series of teeth connected by a metal or acrylic band. Known as a Maryland bridge, these dentures fasten to the existing teeth using metal clasps or resin cement. The band adheres to the back of the teeth, keeping it hidden from view. The Maryland bridge offers an effective method of replacing lost teeth at the front of the mouth without detracting from the patient's appearance.
Full dentures include a complete set of teeth which can be removed at night for cleaning. The acrylic or resin teeth are fastened to a soft plate that fits against the roof of the mouth. Suction holds the dentures in place, though some patients use special dental adhesives to reduce slipping.
Before your dentist can fit you for dentures, he must remove all of your remaining teeth and allow your mouth to heal for several months. As the mouth changes shape over the years, your dentures may need to be reshaped through a process called "debasing." During debasing, technicians remove the existing false teeth from your dentures and reinstall them on a new set of plates that better fits your mouth.
Permanent Dentures or Implants
Dental implants offer a permanent solution for patients who need a full set of dentures. A surgeon attaches a special metal screw into your jaw bone, which your dentist can then use to anchor your new teeth in place. Dental implants won't move or slip, making them a more convenient and comfortable option than traditional dentures. While dental implants are also more expensive then removable dentures, they also reduce rubbing and wear of the gums and bones in the mouth.