Get Your Smile Back

Untreated full or partial tooth loss doesn't just affect your self-image—it can also increase the risk of developing nutritional problems and other systemic health disorders.

Fortunately, there's a reliable and time-tested method for treating this condition at Laurel Dental Group: full or partial dentures.

All About Dentures

Dentures are excellent for replacing missing teeth; other options include fixed bridgework and dental implants. Each method has its pros and cons, so we'll work with you to determine which option is the best for your smile.

Several varieties of dentures are available to address specific issues, including partial dentures and implant-supported overdentures. The best option for you will depend on your situation.

How Do Removable Dentures Work?

Full or partial dentures use a gum-colored base made of plastic resin that fits over the remaining alveolar (bone) ridge that formerly held the teeth. The prosthetic teeth projecting from the base look and function like natural teeth to restore the function of your smile.

Dentures are held in place primarily by the suctioning effect of their close fit against the alveolar ridges—that's why it's so important that they fit correctly. The upper denture also gets extra support from the large surface area of the roof of the mouth (palate), which generally makes it extremely stable.

Wearing dentures may take some getting used to as they become "balanced" in the space, mainly when talking and eating. Over time, the mouth's muscles, nerves, and ligaments learn to work in new ways, allowing these functions to occur as usual.

Dentures also help support the facial skeleton and the soft tissues of the lips and cheeks, which can help create a more youthful appearance.

Types of Full Dentures

Immediate Dentures

These are usually a temporary way to help you transition to successful denture wearing.

Because of the muscular readjustment required and the natural shrinkage of gums, the dentures placed immediately after tooth extraction won't fit as well as the permanent dentures made when healing is complete.

They do, however, provide you with new teeth right away and give you time to adjust.

Conventional Full Dentures

After some time, we can create permanent dentures that conform to your mouth with near-perfect accuracy. These are carefully crafted to look like your own natural teeth and function properly in your mouth for a long time.

Implant-Supported Dentures

To increase the stability of a lower or upper denture, Dr. Thames can securely anchor it using two or more dental implants.

The upper jaw requires more implants (generally three or more) than the lower jaw due to a lesser bone density. This option offers a great balance of comfort, functionality, and value.

Types of Partial Dentures

Transitional Partial Dentures

These relatively inexpensive removable plastic dentures serve as a temporary tooth replacement and space maintainer as you wait for your mouth to heal from tooth extraction, for example. Once the healing process is complete, we can place dental implants.

Removable Partial Dentures (RPDs)

Usually made of cast Vitallium, these well-constructed, metal-based removable partial dentures are much lighter and less obtrusive than plastic ones.

They are a little more expensive than plastic dentures but will fit better. They are, however, much less costly than implants or fixed bridgework.

How We Make & Fit Your Dentures

Making quality dentures is a blend of science and art. First, an accurate impression (mold) is made of the alveolar ridges on the top and bottom of your mouth. The denture base is made from this mold in a dental laboratory.

Working together, the dentist and lab technician choose from many different sizes and shapes of prosthetic teeth to re-create a natural-looking smile. When everyone is satisfied with the result, the temporary dentures are made in permanent form.

A balanced bite is the best way to enable normal speaking and eating, so the upper and lower dentures will come together and properly stabilize each other. Your dentist will carefully check the form and function of your dentures to ensure they work and fit correctly.

What to Expect With Dentures

If you've recently lost your teeth and received an immediate denture, it's normal to find some tissue shrinkage and bone loss occurring. Therefore, you may find that your immediate dentures no longer fit well in several months.

You will have two choices: You can have your immediate (temporary) dentures re-lined. This means that material is added under the denture's base to better conform to the new contours of your alveolar ridge.

A better option is to move to a set of conventional full dentures, which will last longer and fit better. With proper care, dentures offer a functional, aesthetic and economical solution to the problem of tooth loss.