Full dentures are an entire set of artificial teeth which are used to replace a person's natural teeth. Reasons for needing dentures vary greatly and can include tooth decay or an injury that resulted in a loss of teeth. Some patients have some of their teeth removed, even if they are not damaged, in order to receive full dentures because the price of getting a full set is often less than receiving individual teeth where they are needed.
There are various types of full dentures that are available, each being different in both cost and authenticity. The most realistic way to replace all the teeth is to get dental implants, although this is the most expensive option. Implants come in the form of individual teeth that can be screwed directly into bolts which are surgically placed in the gums. Insurance may not cover this type of full denture, because it is often considered cosmetic rather than health-related, especially since cheaper options are available.
Full dentures can also refer to full sets of teeth which are already connected with artificial gum tissue. The teeth often connect to the mouth through suction against the bone, although denture powders or creams may be needed to aid in the suction. This type of denture may need many fittings in order to ensure the sets are a perfect fit for each individual’s mouth. Refitting may also be required as the dentures age.
Care for full dentures is much like that of real teeth. They should be brushed every day and many types should be rinsed or soaked overnight. Unlike authentic teeth, dentures do not rot or get cavities, but they can stain if they are not properly cared for, or the owner drinks beverages such as coffee or smokes cigarettes. Dentures may also become worn, cracked and loose over time, so occasional updates will likely be necessary.
In some cases, a patient may also require what are known as immediate dentures. These are full dentures which are given on a preliminary basis while the real ones are being fitted and constructed. They are placed over the gums directly after the natural teeth have been removed and help promote healing much like a bandage or gauze pad does for a wound. Immediate dentures may also allow the patient to eat more comfortably until the permanent dentures are in place.
Another option is the Cu-Sil® denture, which is full dentures with openings that allow healthy natural teeth to remain and poke through the gums. This is a good option for those with unusually shaped mouths, because they provide a tighter fit than traditional dentures, or for those who want to keep as many of their own teeth as possible. These, too, will have to be specially fitted and may require several visits in order to get the best fit.