Full dentures are used to replace a full arch of missing teeth. Meaning, they replace all of the teeth in the upper arch or all of the teeth in the lower arch or both. Partial dentures, which we discuss on another web page, are designed to replace some missing teeth in an arch where several natural teeth will remain to help support the partial.
Full dentures are made in a process very similar to partial dentures with the exception that you may not have any natural healthy teeth to help guide the making of the denture. This then requires skill and an eye for aesthetics by the dentist.
Our goal when creating a full denture is NOT to create the perfect set of teeth. Rather, it is to recreate a NATURAL set of teeth. The greatest compliment our patients receive is that no one really realizes they had a set of dentures made, at least in the first impression. If the new teeth jump out at someone as seeming too unreal, we have not done our job well.
If you believe that you might be a candidate for a full denture and don’t have a denture now that you will be replacing, relax. We can make the new denture and have it ready to put in your mouth at the tooth removal appointment. So you will never be running around without all of your teeth.
One thing I will tell you having worked with hundreds of denture patients is that lower dentures are very difficult to wear. If you have any opportunity to hold on to some lower teeth for any significant amount of time, do it.
Think about it. The upper jaw is part of the skull. It doesn’t move and therefore is an easy base on which to build a denture that can be comfortable and highly functional. The lower jaw is just the opposite. It moves and the tongue is also moving, adding to the difficulty with keeping the denture solidly in place.
What should you do if you feel you need a lower denture and don’t want the typical headaches that go with it? Have two or three implants placed in the lower jaw and have the denture snap on to them. This can produce a very firm hold.
If you are thinking, “If I’m going to place several implants why not just have it all done that way?” then you are asking the right questions.
The short answer is, if you can handle the financial aspect, then by all means get your arch rebuilt with implants. It is the best way to go. If, however, you find the price tag (often in the $25,000 to $30,000 range) a bit rich for you, getting the implants and then spending only around $1,500 or so on the denture will chop that cost by 75% or even more.
It’s your mouth and your wallet. We offer all the options. We will make recommendations. You must be the one to decide.