Dental procedures explained… (Not quite sure what your dentist meant? Here it is explained in “layman’s terms”)

Dentures – what are dentures?

Dentures, otherwise known as false teeth, are prosthetic replacements for missing teeth. There are many different types of dentures and many different reasons why you may be in the situation where you require them. You may require upper dentures, lower dentures, flexi dentures or partial dentures and then there are fixed dentures or implant supported and removable dentures – the list goes on. We will take a look at each of these denture options in a little more detail further on, but let’s start with the basics.

What are the advantages to replacing missing teeth with dentures:

Price – dentures are generally cheaper then other restoration options and are therefore the most common method of replacing teeth.

Mastication – the ability to chew is improved when replacing missing teeth.

Speech – missing teeth can effect your pronunciation of certain words or make you lisp, which in turn will effect the way you speak – especially if it is the front teeth you are missing. By filling this gap, the pronunciation of words increases dramatically.

Aesthetics – missing teeth can create changes to your face structure depending what teeth you are missing, as they provide support to your lips and cheeks. If you are missing your back teeth, this can cause your cheeks to “sink in” and similarly, missing your front teeth will effect the appearance of your mouth. Replacing these teeth will restore the support to your face and correct the “collapsed” appearance.

Self confidence – Missing teeth can effect ones self esteem. The more missing teeth you have the more you may start to feel self conscious due to the changes in your facial features, your difficulty to correctly speak and chew and if you have visible tooth loss, chances are you are less likely to smile, resulting in you feeling less physically attractive and self conscious. Replacing the missing teeth can restore this confidence and improved looks will assist in the ability to interact socially.

Heart disease – research has shown that bacteria from diseased gums and cavity filled teeth can cause infections in the blood stream and lead to heart-disease. By extracting rotten teeth and wearing dentures instead, you can improve your health and the condition of your heart.

What is the cost of dentures?

Dentures can vary in cost due to a number of factors such as the type of denture and materials used. The different types of dentures are explained below. Your dentist and lab technician together will advise the best type of denture for you depending on the amount of teeth you have and the condition of these remaining teeth.

Types of dentures…

For a better understanding of the below explanations, click on our work tap and have a look at the dentures section – the work is labled in its denture catogry and this visual aid should help you better understand the differences…

Let’s start with one of the most common dentures, the plastic denture…

Plastic dentures.

Basically, plastic dentures are as they suggest, dentures made from a plastic material called acrylic, fitted with synthetic teeth. There are many different makes of these teeth, some of which are more expensive then others and therefore are more esthetically pleasing. The teeth on a plastic denture can be made from other materials such as resin, composite material, resin composite or ceramic and can increase in price depending on the quality of the material used and the layers or dentine and enamel.

As mentioned there are different types of plastic dentures, if you have no teeth then you will require a full upper and lower plastic denture. If you only have a few teeth missing, you will have a partial denture which will have gaps in between the teeth of the denture. To get an idea, the plastic is generally moulded to the shape of your palate to form a plate. If you have no teeth it will be made to fit snugly onto your gum. Should you have a few teeth, they may add metal clasps to the plate so that the denture can clip onto your existing teeth.

Chrome Cobalt dentures.

These dentures can also be partial or full. With this type of denture, the under structure is created out of a metal called chrome cobalt and the teeth are normally bonded onto the denture using the plastic acrylic. In some cases the chrome cobalt is completely coated in plastic acrylic.

These dentures are stronger then plastic dentures and are thinner and more streamline making them more comfortable to wear. However due to the manufacturing process of the chrome cobalt denture being more complex then that of the plastic denture, it does cost a fair amount more.

The main advantage of a chrome cobalt denture compared to a plastic denture simply put, is the precise fit – this denture is less likely to dislodge and rock in the mouth. A snug fitting denture will give you more confidence as you will not have to worry about the denture dropping while eating or speaking. The reason for this has to do with the retention and the support. To further explain, the chrome cobalt or metal based denture is cast onto a model, which is a duplication of your mouth. In addition the denture has cast clasps and rests – these clip on to your teeth, resulting in a denture that is more tooth supported and not gum supported. Due to the design of the clasps and rests and the manner in which it clips and rests on your existing teeth, the masticatory forces are distributed to the remaining teeth and not the gums – thus reducing the damage to the gums while chewing. This means less pressure on the gums which results in a much more pleasant eating experience.

Spider Dentures.

Spider dentures are made the same as the above described Chrome Colbalt denture, except they only cover a section of the mouth – generally replacing 1 or 2 teeth. To see what a spider denture looks like, click on our work tab, in the denture section.

Dentures on milled coping/telescopic dentures.

This is a denture that is supported by both soft tissue – your gum, and natural teeth. Due to this dual support, which ensures that the chewing force is distributed equally onto the existing teeth and gums, overloading is prevented – overloading is one of the most common causes of tooth loss.

The telescopic denture, otherwise known as the over denture or dentures on milled copings, makes use of the remaining teeth in your mouth to create the retention needed for a well fitting denture, without the need for clasps. In some cases there is even no need for a palate plate.

The remaining teeth are prepped similarly to if the patient was having crowns, and are then covered in a metal cap – called a coping. This coping is bonded to the prepped tooth. When the denture is created, secondary metal copings are created and fitted into the denture – they are made to fit precisely over the copings that are bonded on to the teeth, so once the denture is fitted in the mouth, they slide neatly on top of each other. These copings are milled in the lab and thus when the denture is fitted, it creates a friction that assists retention.

To understand fully – take a look at our work tab for pictures of this type of denture.

It is a cheaper alternative to implants and assists in the prevention of bone loss. It is said to be able to last a lifetime, increase chewing power by up to 300% and improve speech (when compared with other types of dentures)

Dentures on implant supported milled bars with attachments/over-dentures.

To put it simply, a milled bar is a metal bar that spans across the implants in your mouth allowing the masticatory forces to be distributed evenly over the implants therefore minimising risk of failure. It acts as the support structure for the over denture – providing a solid structure for the denture to be attached to. At Newvision Dental Laboratory we generally use Chrome-cobalt or cerconium, but other materials such as titanium and gold can also be used. The milled bar is attached to an implant system, which is screw retained. This metal bar runs along your gum ridge on the jaw – where the teeth would have been. This milled bar has attachments included on the bar which allows the over denture to wedge and clip on to it. There are many different types of attachments that can be used – here at Newvision Dental Laboratory we like to utilize Presiline, Rhyne or locator attachments. This type of denture is therefore removable – this allows for easy cleaning, making it a more hygienic option compared to a fixed denture as the denture can be sterilised outside the mouth. With the denture out your mouth, it is easier to clean your gums and allows for natural cleansing by your salvia. Another benefit of a removable denture is ease of repair.

Implant supported Screw retained Denture.

This denture is very similar to Dentures on implant supported milled bars with attachments/over-dentures (described above) However, unlike this type of denture that is removable, the screw retained denture is screwed directly onto the implants in your mouth and there is no milled bar. The support for this prosthetic appliance comes from steel bars that are built into the acrylic/plastic of the denture.

Although this is a more affordable option, compared to the removable denture on milled bar, it is a lot less hygienic due to the fact that it non-removable. This denture is far more difficult to keep clean and is more susceptible to calcium build up and cigarette and coffee stains.

Flexi Dentures.

Flexi dentures, like plastic dentures, can be made as a full or partial denture. These dentures were created as an alternative to rigid dentures and are made flexible in order to adapt to the constant movement in your mouth. Due to the high translucency of the material and the fact that this denture does not have metal clasps that clip over your natural teeth, it tends to be a little less visible then other types of dentures. It is also considered to be much lighter and thinner then the average denture, which assists patients who have difficulty with their pronunciation of words while using thicker, heavier dentures. When Flexi Dentures are created, the hard acrylic is substituted with a softer, more flexible material, that could be compared somewhat to Tupperware. (For purposes of description) Due to the fact that the materials making up this denture allows for a degree of flexibility and bend, your denture should not break when dropped. Disadvantages: Flexi dentures can be harder to clean and require a special cleanser/not all cleansers can be used – you would have to check with your dentist. It is also expensive.