Dentures are removable dental appliances that replace missing teeth. Unlike dental implants and dental bridges, which are more or less permanently affixed to the bone, dentures are prosthetic teeth attached to a supporting structure. Dentures can be removed at night, for cleaning, or whenever desired. The most affordable dentures are those made with traditional plastic prosthetic teeth, but even more expensive porcelain cosmetic dentures usually cost less than implants. Types of Dentures There are several types of dentures available; their cost will vary depending on the materials used:
Full dentures are for those patients who have lost all of their natural teeth in the upper or lower jaw, or both. Full dentures restore confidence in one's appearance, and help the wearer to speak and eat normally.
Conventional dentures are those that are placed once the bones and gums have healed after the removal of natural teeth. While there is a waiting period that can be frustrating, the dentures normally fit right the first time, since the new shape of the mouth and gums has been established. Conventional dentures are also the most affordable dentures option.
Immediate dentures, as the name implies, are placed as soon as the natural teeth are removed. With immediate dentures, the patient need not face the world without teeth, can eat normally much sooner than with conventional dentures, and does not have the speech problems associated with the normal denture process. However, since healing of the gums and jaw will change the fit of immediate dentures, the patient will typically need a new set in about six months.
Instead of traditional plastic prosthetic teeth, natural looking cosmetic dentures are made with modern ceramic porcelain teeth. The dentures are usually individually crafted, and look more like real teeth than the plastic variety. Cosmetic dentures also have a more natural looking support structure, and though they may cost a bit more than conventional dentures, they are truly difficult to distinguish from real teeth.
For those who have lost some teeth, but don't want to get dental implants or bridges, partial dentures are an affordable option. Removable partial dentures are held in place by natural teeth, gums, and a connective structure made of plastic and metal.
The cost of dentures can vary considerably, depending on the type of dentures chosen. Many patients feel that dentures are worth their cost because they help to eliminate the discomfort, inconvenience, and embarrassment caused by missing teeth.
For those who want more stable and comfortable denture alternatives, dental implants and dental bridges may be an option. Implants are similar to dentures, in that they are prosthetic teeth used to replace natural teeth, but they are attached to the jaw by means of metal studs implanted permanently into the bone. Bridges are groups of just a few prosthetic teeth attached to adjacent natural teeth with metal and plastic connectors. Bridges help to preserve some of the mouth's structural integrity by leaving as many natural teeth in place as possible.