There are several different types of dentures that can fulfill many different roles. Full dentures can be fabricated to replace all the teeth on an arch (the boney ridge where the teeth used to be). Often, a conventional denture like this provides adequate function and aesthetics for people’s needs.
If there has been severe bone loss due to periodontal disease, or the teeth have been missing for a long time, it is possible that the dentures may not have great retention (they come loose easily) or stability (they move when chewing or talking). Sometimes this can be improved with a simple adjustment, and other times extra features need to be added to make the dentures more stable.
This is where implants come into play. We can typically use the very same denture you are currently using, and connect it to implants so that it no longer relies on suction to hold it in, but there are now mechanical features holding the denture in place. This option is not for everyone, but many of our patients are very pleased with this option.
Partial dentures are used when some teeth have been lost, but there are still teeth that are healthy and in good shape. Partial dentures can use several methods to improve retention (how well the denture stays put) and stability (how much the denture moves when in use).
Typically they have metal or acrylic clasps that wrap around some healthy teeth, and this give the denture good stability and retention. If the teeth allow, simply being very close to the teeth is enough to hold the dentures in place, and clasps can be avoided, but this only works well in special cases.
Implants can also be used and, in most cases, are the best option for long term success with holding the denture in place and eliminating clasps on the healthy teeth. The number of implants varies from person to person, and special care is taken to have the correct number of implants for each situation.