As a prosthodontist, Dr. Kopecky plans the complete and partial denture treatments at our office. Dentures are removable false teeth. They replace the teeth you have lost and support the cheeks and lips for normal facial features. Dentures can be complete or partial. Complete dentures cover your entire upper or lower jaw. Partial dentures replace one or more teeth. Advances in dentistry have made many improvements to dentures. They are more natural looking and comfortable than they used to be, but they still may feel strange at first. When your removable appliances are first inserted, Dr. Kopecky may want to see you often to assess their fit. Examinations every 6 – 12 months are still needed to assure proper fit, comfort and function of the appliances.
What are the limitations with conventional dentures?
Chewing efficiency is significantly altered with complete and partial dentures. You should anticipate about 30 % of normal function with complete dentures and around 50-70% of normal function with partials. This happens because teeth roots supply chewing information to the brain. When the teeth are removed the brain no longer receives information from their roots. It must rely on gum pressure from the denture bases for information and this is just not as efficient or complete as teeth roots.
One must also consider that dentures and partials are removable teeth that cover the gums. Although it may be embarrassing to take out the dentures or partials, it is extremely important to the soft tissue health and underlying bone that they be removed at least 6-8 hours per day. You must also find an opportunity to clean them after each meal. Failure to do these things can lead to more frequent replacements, relines, repairs and adjustments.
Finally, when teeth roots are absent, the bone will resorb or atrophy. This happens because there is no stimulation in the bone from chewing function. Over time it becomes harder and harder to use dentures and partials because there is less bone to retain and support them.
Can I improve the fit of my partials or dentures?
In situations where teeth are still present, the roots can sometimes be saved in bone and used to your advantage. Dr. Kopecky will reduce these teeth down to the level of the gum and retain the roots. This will help maintain bone stimulation and prevent bone loss. If root canals are completed in the teeth, special “caps with attachments” are used. The dentures or partials can fasten to them for additional support and retention.
If teeth are no longer present, Dr. Kopecky can evaluate your mouth for placement of dental implants. The implants act like roots and stimulate the jaw bone to prevent bone loss. Like natural tooth roots, special “attachments” can be placed on the implants to allow the dentures or partials to fasten to them for additional support and retention.