What Are Dentures?

Technically, the term “denture” refers to any tooth replacement. For example, dental bridges are also called “fixed partial dentures.” However, when we talk about dentures, we’re referring to tooth replacements that aren’t directly bonded to your teeth or bones. They are removable restorations that are supported by your gums.

Dentures come in two types: full and partial.

Full dentures replace an entire arch of teeth, either all the top or all the bottom teeth. It is possible to be wearing a full denture even if you have an entire arch of natural teeth opposing it. Full dentures are held in place by suction between the denture and your gums. This is not a very strong bond, which is why dentures are known to fall out regularly.

Partial dentures replace at least one tooth but less than a full arch. In a partial denture, the replacement tooth or teeth are attached to a framework that is usually plastic, though it could be metal. In addition to being secured by suction, partial dentures usually have clasps that go around your natural teeth to keep the denture in place.

Benefits of Dentures

As we mentioned above, dentures continue to be used because they do offer some benefits. People choose dentures because they are:

  • Better than no tooth replacement
  • Reasonably attractive
  • Don’t require surgery
  • Inexpensive

As any dentist will tell you, dentures aren’t a substitute or alternative to natural teeth. Instead, they are an alternative to having no teeth. Partial dentures, for example, help keep your remaining teeth from drifting.

Thanks to centuries of experience working on dentures, these replacement teeth are quite attractive. They can look natural, and it’s not always easy for people to tell if you’re wearing dentures. Many people will accept your dentures as natural teeth and may praise your smile.

People also choose dentures because the procedure doesn’t require surgery or even any preparation of your teeth. Partly because of this, dentures remain the least expensive tooth replacement option.

Limitations of Dentures

On the other hand, many people are opting against dentures because of their many limitations. Dentures:

  • Don’t stay in place
  • Offer little to no function in biting and chewing
  • Can be uncomfortable
  • Can damage teeth, gums, and bone
  • Need frequent replacement

Dentures aren’t well secured. Even with denture adhesive, full dentures readily slide out of place and can even come out of your mouth when you talk, laugh, or sneeze. Partial dentures are a little better.

When you have dentures, your biting and chewing function is considerably diminished. Dentures reduce your bite force considerably. People with full dentures have to learn how to eat with them, and often must restrict their diet considerably. Often, they are limited to a soft diet. People with partial dentures often just take them out to eat.

Dentures can be uncomfortable. Your gums aren’t supposed to support your teeth, so when dentures convey bite forces to your gums, they can become irritated. Partial dentures may also include clasps and hooks that can poke or irritate you.

The clasps and hooks of partial dentures can also damage your remaining natural teeth. They can cause wear or damage that can lead to tooth loss. Even without clasps or hooks, partial dentures can cause plaque to collect against your natural teeth, leading to tooth decay. Without the stimulation of teeth, your gums and jawbone atrophy, and dentures can accelerate the process.

While implants and implant dentures can last for decades, dentures usually last only a fraction of that time. When you get dentures, expect to replace them many times.

Considering Dentures in Torrance, CA?

If you have lost one or more teeth and are considering replacing them with dentures, restorative dentist Dr. Webber can help. Please call (310) 534-3477 today for an appointment at Simply Smiles in Torrance.