If you have lost all of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury, complete dentures can replace your missing teeth – and your smile. Replacing missing teeth will benefit not only your appearance but also your health. You’ll be able to eat and speak – two things that most people often take for granted until their natural teeth are prematurely lost.
The framework of the complete denture, called the base, generally is made of gum-colored acrylic plastic. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of the mouth) while that of the lower is shaped like a horseshoe to allow room for the tongue. The gum and bone tissues of the dental ridge support the denture. The base, which conforms closely to the ridge, is held in place with a thin film of saliva. When the base of the upper denture rests over the gums and palate, a seal is created, which holds the denture in place. Cheek muscles and tongue also help hold the lower denture in place.
The good thing about dentures is that they can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth. There may be little change in your appearance and full dentures may even restore the look of your smile.
Replacing missing teeth is important if you want to maintain a healthy smile and good chewing function. When teeth are missing, the remaining ones can change position, drifting into the surrounding space.
If you are missing multiple teeth, a removable partial denture may be for you. A removable partial denture helps you chew your food properly, which often is difficult when teeth are missing. By supporting your lips and cheeks, a removable partial denture also can help improve your speech and prevent your face from sagging.
Removable partial dentures usually have replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases connected by a metal framework. They may attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or in special cases, devices called precision attachments may be incorporated into crowns to attach the removable partial denture. With our without precision attachments, crowns on your natural teeth may improve the way a removable partial denture fits your mouth. Consult your dentist to find out which type is right for you.
(American Dental Association 2009)