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Dentures and Implant Supported Dentures
Dentures offer patients an attractive, lifelike appliance to restore a complete smile following tooth loss. While your grandparents may have complained about their uncomfortable dentures that were obviously artificial, today’s appliances are much improved and made of high quality materials that closely mimic the optical qualities of biological tooth enamel. They are designed to match the unique structure of the patient’s mouth for improved comfort, and implant-supported dentures feel even more like your natural smile.
The process of getting dentures takes place in a series of appointments. The dentist will first collect the information needed to determine the design of your dentures, which will then be crafted by a dental laboratory. When the dentures are ready, you return to the office to be fitted with them. Your dentist can make any needed adjustments to the fit of the appliance at this time.
Patients may have perceptions of dentures that are inaccurate or outdated, so it’s important to get the correct information before making a treatment decision. If you are exploring dentures as a treatment option, you may have some of the following questions. You should also speak with one of our dentists to get more details or to ask any other questions that aren’t included on this list.
The cost of dentures varies from patient to patient, so it is impossible to give a single dollar amount that will apply to all cases. The costs associated with dentures include the materials and time that go into manufacturing the appliance, as well as for associated items such as dental impressions and x-rays. Your dentist can outline the estimated costs of dentures for you at your first appointment.
Some insurance plans may offer some coverage for dentures, but if yours does not or if you do not have dental insurance, we can connect you with our interest-free payment plan to allow you to fit the costs of your dentures into your monthly budget. If you lack insurance coverage for dentures, be sure to check in with a member of our billing staff to discuss your payment options.
There are three main types of dentures: conventional full dentures, implant-supported dentures (also known as “permanent dentures”) and partial dentures for patients who only need to restore a portion of their smiles. Conventional full dentures are custom-designed to fit comfortably in the patient’s mouth and to match (or improve upon, if desired) the aesthetics of the biological smile. The upfront costs associated with conventional dentures are lower than with implant-supported dentures, although conventional dentures will periodically need to be re-fitted and sometimes even replaced, which will increase the patient’s costs in the long-term.
Implant-supported dentures help to hold the jaw in place in addition to securing the denture, because the dental implants act like the roots of biological teeth. Therefore, an implant-supported denture will last much longer, as long as the patient maintains it properly.
Partial dentures are removable appliances that replace a smaller number of teeth. They offer patients an alternative to fixed dental bridges.
Permanent dentures are supported by dental implants which prevent the jawbone erosion that can cause conventional dentures to lose their fit. The dentist inserts a number of dental implants into the jaw – as few as four of them can support an entire prosthetic arch – and after they are osseointegrated, the patient can be fitted with a durable, permanent denture. This approach preserves more of the functionality of the biological teeth because implant-supported dentures are more structurally complete. Therefore, they’re more effective at chewing and they also feel more like “real” teeth.
Partial dentures replace a small number of missing teeth rather than an entire arch. A partial denture consists of prosthetic teeth attached to an acrylic base, and the appliance usually attaches to the other teeth with metal clasps. In addition to restoring a complete smile, partial dentures can prevent the other teeth from shifting to fill in the empty space left behind by the absent teeth. Partial dentures can be removed from the mouth for cleaning when needed.
While modern dentures are ultimately quite comfortable, the patient is likely to go through an initial adjustment period that may involve some mild discomfort. The jaws need to become acclimated to the denture and mild inflammation may occur during the early phases of that process. You may need to take over-the-counter painkillers or adjust your diet to focus mainly on softer foods until you get through this period.
If the discomfort persists for more than a few weeks or if it is obvious that the appliance does not fit properly, patients can return to the office to have the appliance adjusted accordingly. Don’t feel that you have to suffer with uncomfortable dentures. We can make them fit better.
We encourage patients who are considering dentures to call our office for more information on their options or to schedule an evaluation. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn about all of the benefits of modern dentures!