A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available: complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
Complete dentures can be “conventional” or “immediate”. Once the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready to be placed in the mouth approximately eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.
Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are manufactured in advance and can be placed as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the user does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.
However, the bones and gums contract over time, especially during the healing period after tooth extraction. Therefore, a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared to conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and, in general, should only be considered as a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a base of pink plastic or chewing gum, which is sometimes connected by a metal frame that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on each side of the space and joining artificial teeth.
This “bridge” is cemented in its place. Not only does a partial denture fill the spaces created by the missing teeth, it also prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal fittings instead of clasps that adhere to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural looking device.