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The Word of Mouth on Dentures: How do They Differ?

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According to the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), 41.23 million Americans used dentures in 2019. As a denturist, that tells me that a large subsection of the population is either partially or fully edentulous, meaning without teeth. And those people are likely looking for an effective and viable tooth replacement solution. 

As one of the denturists at MyBite, the number one question I get from patients is, “I’m confused about the different types of dentures available, how do they work and which is best for me? 

And that’s understandable. With the huge advances in the dental professional in the last couple of decades as we shift into the digital world, there are more choices than ever. Gone are the days of a one size fits all solution. Today, the options are almost endless and 100% customizable.

So back to the question, “How do they work and which should I choose?” Let’s investigate a few of the denture options I work on every day at MyBite.

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures, also known as full dentures, are a popular solution when you don’t have any natural teeth. They are removable, artificial teeth and gums made out of porcelain or acrylic resin. Complete dentures can either be a whole mouth solution (top and bottom) or partial (top or bottom). 

Custom dentures are made from precise measurements and custom moulds of your mouth to perfectly fit your gum line and jaw bone ridges. They are affixed in place via natural suction, but a dental adhesive may be used to keep your dentures stable and secure.

Benefits of Complete Dentures

  • They are a full tooth and gum solution 
  • They look like natural teeth and gums
  • Are removable for easy cleaning and ease of wear
  • They support your facial structure for a more youthful appearance
  • You can enjoy more of the foods you love 

Complete Denture Quick Facts

  • Only used when you have no teeth on top or bottom row, or both
  • Removable – not permanently affixed in mouth
  • Lasts on average between 5-8 years
  • Take dentures out only to sleep
  • May take up to 4-5 appointments to finalize denture solution, depending on if teeth need to be extracted
  • Must be brushed or soaked at least once per day
  • Many packages and options available, from standard economy to quality custom dentures

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are removable, prosthetic teeth that replace one or more missing teeth. Unlike complete dentures that replace all teeth, partial dentures replace only a few.  

Like a retainer of sorts, the partial denture is made from acrylic material for the teeth portion and a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth to keep the partial denture in place.

Benefits of Partial Dentures

  • They are a removable solution
  • They fill in tooth gaps to complete your smile
  • Are highly customizable to your mouth
  • They look and feel very natural

Partial Denture Quick Facts

  • Used when you are missing one or more teeth
  • Use clasps or clips to attach to nearby natural teeth
  • Precise colour-matching to existing teeth
  • Can take up to 4-5 appointments to finalize
  • Partial Denture will last on average 5-8 years
  • Take partial denture out to sleep
  • Must be brushed, cleaned, and soaked daily
  • There are many packages and options available

All-On-4 Dental Implants

An all-on-4 dental implant translates to “all” teeth being supported “on four” dental implants. Much like a complete denture solution, it is an “all mouth” solution used when all upper or lower teeth are missing or extracted. However, unlike a complete denture, they are a permanent, affixed option implanted to the jawbone. This means they are not removable and therefore act more like natural teeth.

To understand all-on-4s, we need to understand how dental implants work.

To begin, 4 small posts, or abutments, are inserted into either your top or bottom jawbone. These posts will act as the structural anchors for your dentures. Then, your customized denture will be affixed to the posts, adjusted and positioned perfectly to match your jaw and bite.

Benefits of All-on-4 Dental Implants

  • Can be used for the top or bottom row of teeth, or both 
  • They provide a full mouth solution when all teeth are extracted or missing
  • Often a more affordable solution over traditional dentures
  • Closely replicates natural teeth
  • Less deterioration or shrinkage of the jaw
  • Virtually no loss of chewing function
  • Provides same force and chewing strength as  natural teeth
  • Do not need to be removed after meals or at night
  • An effective long-term solution that can last for decades if cared for properly

All-On-4 Quick Facts

  • Non-removable option
  • Provides a stronger foundation than removable denture solutions 
  • Only used when you have no teeth on top or bottom row, or both
  • Requires enough jaw bone to support the implants
  • Requires daily brushing and flossing
  • Is a quicker solution and can be completed in 2 appointments

In Conclusion

These are just a few denture solutions we offer at MyBite. Before I can determine which is the best fit for you, I’ll first examine your mouth, discuss your expectations, budgetary considerations, and comfort level. 

When all is said and done, the teeth restoration process is highly individualized. Just as every mouth is unique, so is every denture. For me, this is the joy of the work: many denture options equals an optimal solution for every one of my patients.

Written by Wade Klimpke

Wade Klimpke is a past President and long-standing member of the College of Alberta Denturists. Wade leads a number of industry working groups which help advance and monitor old, current, and new industry developments. This has allowed him to gain a number of industry relationships with implant dentistry suppliers in Canada and the United States.
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