There are several options available for replacing missing teeth. Whether your teeth were lost due to malnutrition, bad oral habits, or trauma, dentures can help. Complete dentures are used if an entire line of teeth is lost, either in the upper (maxillary) or lower (mandibular) jaw. However, if just some teeth are missing on either jaw, partial dentures will be used.
There are two types of dentures. The type that is prescribed for use will depend on the health of the teeth surrounding the gap, along with other factors.
Fixed: also called a dental implant bridge, this type of partial permanently attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw either with a dental crown or with dental implants inserted directly under the gum tissue and into the jawbone.
Removable: also known as a removable dental bridge. Like traditional bridges, a removable partial denture attaches to a neighboring tooth or teeth to fill in a gap. It consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. The difference is that traditional bridges are fixed in the mouth (they are bonded to natural teeth via a dental crown) while removable partial dentures are connected by a metal framework that helps keep them in place but they can be taken out of the mouth.
Partial dentures are made in a dental laboratory using impressions and measurements taken of your mouth. Like natural teeth, they require regular cleaning to stay in good shape. A thorough brushing to remove food deposits and dental plaque will help the partials to last longer. Because they are not as strong as natural teeth, partial dentures will need to be handled with care. When cleaning them, it’s recommended to stand over a folded towel or the sink to reduce the risk of breaking them if they are dropped. It’s also recommended to use a brush specifically made for cleaning dentures. Soak dentures in a denture cleanser when they are not being worn.