Upper False Teeth Options
When a patient is missing one or more teeth, it often makes them feel self-conscious and insecure. Some patients even avoid smiling because of their missing teeth. When a patient is missing most or all of their teeth, it can be incredibly challenging. When a patient is missing a large number of teeth or they are damaged beyond repair, dentures are often recommended. Many patients want to avoid dentures as they can be uncomfortable to wear and impact the patient’s ability to eat the foods they love. Dentures can also slip while speaking and be uncomfortable to wear in social settings.
Below is a summary of the various types of dentures available to patients.
- Traditional or Complete Full Dentures: Complete full dentures are used to replace the entire arch of a patient’s teeth. This type of dentures sits directly on top of the gums and an adhesive is used to secure them in the mouth. Dental bridges, in comparison, are secured in the mouth using the existing teeth adjacent to the missing teeth. In most cases, complete dentures are placed within a few months after the teeth are removed.
- Partial Dentures: When a patient still has some natural teeth present, partial dentures or partials are often used. These dentures contain a pink-colored base which is connected to a metal piece which contains the prosthetic teeth. These pieces secure the denture inside the mouth. Partial dentures are convenient and can be removed as needed. Partials aid in preventing the other teeth from moving. They are typically made from an acrylic material.
- Custom Dentures: Custom dentures are created from more expensive teeth. Using the more expensive product creates a more natural-looking smile. Patients have the ability to see their new denture before it is completed. Custom dentures are customized to each patient’s mouth, making them more natural and comfortable to wear.
- Immediate Dentures: In most cases, immediate dentures are placed on the same day when the teeth are extracted. This allows patients to avoid the gap or space where the missing teeth are located. Unfortunately, not all patients are candidates for this type of denture.
- Implant Supported Dentures: Implant supported dentures involve the use a dental implants to secure the denture inside the mouth. The denture is an effective method for replacing multiple missing teeth and the implant provides an extremely secure foundation which has a long lifespan.
- Snap-in Dentures: In terms of stability, snap-in dentures are considered to be the most effective tooth-replacement solution. The dentures are secured into place through dental implants or by existing teeth acting as anchors. Snap-in dentures are unique in that they use locator attachments which are embedded within the tissue side of the denture. The locator attachments connect to the implants or to the locator receptors. This allows for the convenience of having a removable option, similar to partial dentures. In most cases, snap-in dentures are used when a patient is missing all of their teeth and have adequate bone to support implants.
- Overdentures: An overdenture sits on top of the gums and is held in place with dental implants. It can be placed on the upper and/or the lower jaw, depending on the patient’s needs. The overdenture is also removable.
- Upper Dentures: As implied by the name, upper dentures are dentures for the teeth located on the top half of the jaw. For patients who are missing more than one tooth in their upper jaw, upper dentures may be a good solution.
- Economy Dentures: Economy dentures are one of the most affordable denture solutions available. This type of denture is generic, meaning they are not customized to the patient’s mouth. An adhesive is required to secure the dentures.
Some patients want to avoid the use of dentures and are interested in alternative tooth-replacement options. The three non-denture solutions for the replacement of missing teeth include dental implants, overdentures, and dental bridges. Work with your dentist to determine which solution may work best based on your unique oral health, jawbone density, and the number of missing or damaged teeth. Each of these solutions are explained in greater detail below.
Dental implants are becoming an increasingly popular tooth-replacement solution. Implants are incredibly secure, durable, and natural in their appearance. Dental implants are typically made out of titanium. The implant screw is surgically placed into the jawbone and act as an anchor for the prosthetic teeth. The implant works by fusing to the existing jaw bone.
Compared to dentures, implants are durable and can last a lifetime when they are properly cared for. Dental implants are permanent and cannot be removed. This makes them incredibly comfortable and does not impact eating or speaking. To be a candidate for implants, a patient must have healthy gums and an adequate amount of bone structure in their jaw. Dental implants are also incredibly attractive and natural in their appearance. The crown, which is attached to the implant, is custom-made for each individual patient to ensure it matches the natural teeth.
When a patient has lost most or all of their teeth, overdentures are commonly used to restore the smile. Contrary to dentures, that are secured using an adhesive, overdentures are secured in place through dental implants or the remaining teeth. This makes them much more secure and stable. Overdentures do not move or slip when talking or chewing as is common with traditional dentures. Overdentures are also known for being a much more comfortable tooth-replacement solution. Because the overdentures are held in place using implants, they stimulate the jawbone. This aids in preventing bone resorption or shifting of the remaining teeth.
For patients who are missing a single tooth, the dentist may recommend they receive a dental bridge. Dental bridges use a prosthetic tooth which is secured with crowns or dental implants on each side. Unfortunately, healthy tooth structure must be removed from the adjacent teeth when a bridge is used. Dental bridge are quite secure and provide patients with an excellent alternative to dentures.
If you are missing teeth in the upper jaw, follow up with your dentist to discuss your tooth-replacement options. Within a short time, the dentist can aid in restoring your smile and returning your confidence.