Over time, gum disease, decay, and accidents can cause a person to lose his or her teeth. When a patient is missing one or more teeth, dentures are often the first option discussed. Unlike dental implants, which are permanently grafted to the patient's jaw, dentures are removable replacement teeth.
The first step in the dentures process is a consultation with a qualified cosmetic or restorative dentist. During this visit, the patient and dentist will discuss whether the patient is a good candidate for dentures, as opposed to other tooth replacement options such as dental bridges or dental implants. If a patient is missing only a few teeth, partial dentures may be a good solution. Full dentures are used when patients have no remaining natural teeth. Once the proper type of dentures has been decided, the dentist will take an impression of the patient's mouth, which will be sent to a dental laboratory which will custom-craft dentures to fit the patient's mouth and match his or her natural teeth, if applicable. The patient then returns to the dentist's office to have his or her dentures adjusted for the most comfortable and natural-looking fit.
Unlike dentures of the past, which were made from tooth-colored plastic, many patients are now opting for dentures made from natural-looking porcelain, which tend to look more natural. Often, patients prefer dentures over other tooth replacement options because they are removable for convenient cleaning and for sleeping. Another benefit to dentures is that they are significantly less costly than permanent dental implants.