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Dental prostheses replace one or several missing teeth. If you’ve lost some teeth due to an accident, illness or poor oral hygiene, they must be replaced. Beyond impacting your appearance, missing teeth can lead to other problems, such as:

  • The other teeth tend to migrate toward the empty space.
  • Malocclusion problems may occur.
  • Chewing, digestion and speech problems can develop
  • Misaligned teeth are difficult to clean, making them vulnerable to cavities and gum disease
  • Teeth on the other dental arch, facing the empty space, have no support during chewing; they can become loose and even fall out
  • Where the jawbone is no longer stimulated, bone mass gradually decreases
  • Missing teeth can affect your appearance and self-esteem

Dental prostheses address three main issues:

  • Cosmetic corrections: Fill an empty space on the dental arch for a more beautiful smile.
  • Functional improvements: Keep the mouth well-balanced to ensure stability and prevent numerous problems.
  • Recovering self-esteem: A full set of healthy teeth will give you a more youthful appearance. Prostheses contribute to one’s self-esteem and emotional well-being by improving appearance and self-confidence.

Two types of removable prostheses: Full and partial dentures

Removable partial dentures

Partial dentures are used to replace one or several missing teeth. Dentures are custom-made using dental impressions. They are manufactured in a lab by a dental technician. For the device to be stable, measurements are carefully taken and manufacturing is very precise. In general, dentures are ready within six to eight weeks. Once installed, partial dentures will match the shape and colour of your natural teeth and gums.

Some adjustments may be needed for optimal comfort and occlusion.

Two types of partial dentures:

  • Partial dentures can consist of a pink resin base that looks like gums and supports artificial teeth. They need to fit perfectly because they rest directly on the gums. Partial dentures stay in place using suction.
  • Partial dentures can also have a metal brace with small hooks that attach to adjacent teeth. The artificial teeth are placed on a pink resin base that looks like gums. This type of prosthesis has two anchors: the hooks (that attach to teeth) and the resin (that rests on the gums). This option is very stable once placed in the mouth.

When are partial dentures the best option?

Partial dentures are the preferred option when adjacent teeth are not solid enough to support a permanent bridge, when implants are not possible, or when too many teeth are missing.

Partial dentures can

  • Give you back a beautiful smile
  • Keep adjacent teeth stable
  • Improve chewing and speaking

Advantages of partial dentures

  • Affordable
  • Can last five to ten years
  • Stable

Disadvantages of partial dentures

  • The metal brace is sometimes visible when speaking or smiling
  • The hooks could damage supporting teeth, which could eventually lead to tooth loss
  • Require special care; they need to be removed after each meal for cleaning
  • Must be removed for sleeping

Full dentures

Removable full dentures can replace all the teeth on a dental arch. Someone who has lost all of their teeth faces a debilitating situation and significant health consequences.

In addition to affecting chewing, digestion and speech, missing all of your teeth radically changes the structure of your face. This can have a direct impact on your appearance and self-esteem. Without support, face muscles sag and cheeks become hollow, making you look much older. For all these reasons, missing teeth need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Full dentures will not only help you recover chewing and speech functions, they’ll also improve your quality of life, the beauty of your smile and the youthful appearance of your face. They can really boost your self-esteem!

Composition of full dentures

Full dentures are generally made of resin and are custom-moulded using impressions of your gums. Resin colour is carefully chosen to make sure it matches your natural gums. Similarly, special attention is paid to ensuring the tooth shape matches your original teeth and suits your face.

Careful adjustments are done to ensure the denture adheres to the gums and remains stable in the mouth. The upper prosthesis completely covers the palate, creating an adhesive suction. The lower prosthesis is securely held in place by the tongue.

As with partial dentures, the prosthesis can be removed after meals for cleaning and sleeping.

Immediate dentures: A temporary solution while you heal

An immediate denture is a full denture that can be worn immediately after all teeth have been extracted, until the permanent prosthesis is ready. Immediate dentures are made using an impression of the jaw and existing teeth right before they are removed.

After the extraction process, the gums and jawbone need to heal for a period of up to six months. However, an immediate denture can be worn right away. Because the jawbone and gums shrink during the healing period, immediate dentures are designed to adjust easily. The dentist can make these adjustments from time to time to make sure the denture always fits well. Once the gums have healed and stabilized, the permanent full denture can be installed.

Advantages of full dentures

  • Affordable
  • Quick to manufacture and replace teeth
  • Easy to maintain
  • Look great

Disadvantages of full dentures

  • Unstable: If your jawbone no longer supports teeth, it will lose density over time. This reduction in mass leads to thinning of the gums, thus diminishing the contact area with the prosthesis. With less support, the denture becomes unstable and uncomfortable.
  • Full dentures require regular adjustments to ensure optimal comfort. Rebasing fills any voids between the denture and the gums, minimizing unwanted movement.
  • Dentures can be uncomfortable when chewing and talking.

Adaptation period

Despite all the adjustments made to them, wearing partial or full removable dentures is never totally comfortable. There will be differences in how you chew and speak. An adaptation period is necessary to get used to them. You will need to visit the dentist regularly so that he or she can make adjustments to keep your prostheses as stable and comfortable as possible.

If, despite all efforts, you still feel discomfort when wearing prostheses, you have another option. Dental implants serve to stabilize prostheses and are a great long-term solution. Ask your dentist if this technology is right for you.

Taking care of your prostheses

Because they are removable, partial and full dentures are relatively easy to care for. But, because food particles can get stuck under the prosthesis, it’s important to clean your dentures after each meal. If you don’t, there is an increased risk of discomfort, cavities and gum disease.

Your dentist will explain how to clean and care for your prostheses. The key is regular check-ups and gentle cleaning.

Make sure to schedule regular adjustments. Have your dentures assessed and adjusted twice a year. For more information and advice on how to care for your prostheses, check out our section Caring for and repairing your prostheses.

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We hope you found this information useful.

Keep in mind that the information contained in this site is general.  All procedures are adapted to our patients’ unique needs. Contact us if you need more information or to book an appointment.

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