Whether from disease, malnutrition, genetic disorders, or an accident, an individual must sometimes have some or all of their teeth extracted. While this can be devastating, partial or full dentures can be fabricated to restore an attractive smile, provide needed support for normal facial contours and reestablish a highly functional occlusion. A denture consists of natural-looking artificial teeth set in a supportive base. It may be fabricated to replace a small group of teeth, an entire upper arch, an entire lower arch, or used to restore both dental arches.
A complete denture refers to the replacement of all of the teeth in a dental arch. It can be inserted either in two ways. It can be added some weeks after the extraction sites, and all surgical procedures have had a chance to heal, or as an “immediate” denture is placed the same day, the last remaining teeth are extracted. An immediate denture offers the advantage of not having to go without teeth for any period of time. It can require multiple adjustments as the tissues remodel and heal following dental extractions or other surgical procedures. In situations where some sturdy teeth remain, partial dentures can be fabricated. Partial dentures can achieve adequate retention and stability by having clasps on the teeth surrounding the edentulous areas. In some cases, added security for the dentures can be provided by strategically placed implants.