Removable Denture Choices

Not all Dentures are Equal

Most people know them as “just plain dentures.” However, not all dentures are equal. Denture prices can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, with the least expensive denture being quite different from a more expensive one.

Cheaper dentures require one impression in the dentist's office, the teeth are set up in blocks and they will probably be made from plastic. This is a fast, cost effective method. There is no customization and the result is a uniform appearance, what some refer to as the “white picket fence” look, sometimes called the “Chiclet” look.

Methods vary until you reach the custom denture. In that case, the doctor will usually require multiple appointments for impression accuracy and measurements. The teeth will most likely be poly-bonded acrylic, which means they won’t stain. They might even be porcelain teeth, which look very nice, but sometimes have problems with breakage. The teeth are placed one at a time, resulting in a more natural looking denture with teeth of different shapes and sizes, naturally varied color and texture with a lot of individualization. People who have worn a well-made denture often tell us, “My best friend doesn’t know I wear dentures.” At Northgate Dental we often have patients who bring in pictures of movie stars or models and say, "Make my new teeth look like theirs." A skilled dentist working with a good lab very likely can create that kind of look.

Another cosmetic consideration with dentures is the color of the teeth. Many people will say, "I want really, really white teeth." At Northgate Dental we will make the teeth as white as you want, but you might want to consider a shade that matches your skin tone or even something a little closer to your natural tooth color. If the new teeth are made too white, the result is a denture that looks fake.

No matter how well made, it is still a denture. A few people can wear “plain” dentures well. Many cannot. The reasons are varied, but the most common problems are due to poor fit or lack of good bone support. A person who doesn’t have good bone (and many denture wearers don’t) will have problems with dentures.

One of the biggest negatives of dentures is that they need to be replaced. Even the best denture should be replaced every four to seven years. Good fit and frequent replacement slows the loss of bone (called resorption).

  • Partial Dentures: Partials are used to replace several missing teeth in the same arch. The best ones are constructed with a metal frame over which pink acrylic is placed, then the teeth are set in the acrylic. The down side to partials is that the metal frame often places stress on the remaining teeth and can cause them to break down faster. It is difficult to construct a partial where the metal clasps do not show when the person smiles. Many dentists are moving away from recommending partials and prescribing Implants instead. Discuss this choice with your dentist.

  • Cu-sil Overdentures: Cu-Sil overdentures can be a great treatment choice for people who  have a few teeth that can be saved for a few more years, but the teeth are mobile due to loss of bone and they don't anticipate being able to keep them indefinitely.

    A Cu-Sil overdenture is constructed with openings in the denture that fit over the remaining teeth. A soft jell ring provides comfort and stability around the teeth. When the teeth are eventually lost, they can be added into the denture.

    Cu-Sil stabilizes, cushions and splints teeth with an elastomeric gasket that provides retention and seals out food. It is unsurpassed for comfort and esthetics. There are no special tooth preps or impression techniques to follow with Cu-Sil and... it allows low cost add-ons, repairs and relines.

  • Immediate Dentures: We call them Immediate Dentures because they are the first denture most people receive. We pull all the teeth and insert the denture at the same appointment.

    The process begins with a Comprehensive Exam. Dentures are usually the last option to consider. Investing in natural teeth is always the better solution if that is feasible. If not then the process to construct a denture begins. The process can vary some, depending on whether one arch is being replaced with the denture, or whether the prescription is for full dentures, i.e. both arches.

    The first appointment will usually be the impression appointment. Several measurements will be taken and impressions made of your existing teeth. The impression and measurements will be sent to a denture lab. Sometimes a wax tryin appointment will be made to be certain you like the cosmetics. The teeth are set in a wax mockup and you are able to see something close to the finished results.

    Final appointment you will come into the office for your extractions. Most people prefer to make this a sedation appointment where the doctor sedates them with IV medications. The teeth are taken out and the new denture is inserted.

    Next day the patient returns for a followup visit. It is usually at this appointment the person is given care instructions and any adjustments are made to the denture to make it fit properly.

    Often, but not always, the immediate denture is constructed as an interim denture. When healing is complete in three to six months, the final treatment is performed. The final product may be a custom denture or it may be implant supported bridges or a Hader-Bar denture.

  • See Care Instructions for New Dentures

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