Dentures

By Dr. Sepi Fatahi DMD

The teeth of a denture are typically made from various types of resin or porcelain. The latter was traditionally the preferred material because it was stronger and more durable. Porcelain is still used in some instances and has a number of advantages:

  • A glass-like ceramic material, porcelain has the same translucent appearance as natural tooth enamel, and can be color-matched closely with other teeth in the patient’s mouth.
  • Porcelain teeth feel similar to natural teeth. This makes them easier to adapt to than other materials.
  • The heating process used to make them causes the dentures to become considerably harder, which means they last longer.

The main disadvantages of porcelain dentures, however, are that they’re breakable if dropped on a hard floor and they can wear down natural teeth if they bite against them. Porcelain is better used in full dentures than in partials for this reason.

More recently, however, acrylic resin has become the go-to material for denture teeth, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whose research aimed to derive a new technique of making durable dentures using injections of a hybrid composite of resin. Acrylic adheres more securely to the denture base, and is easier to adjust to achieve the correct occlusion than harder porcelain teeth. It’s also significantly less expensive than porcelain, and much lighter in weight.

The disadvantage of teeth made from acrylic resin is that they wear faster than porcelain teeth, which causes changes in the way the teeth make contact with one another. Dentures made from acrylic resin teeth may need to be replaced every five to eight years as a result, but they are still far stronger than the plastic items used in the past.

Prosthesis

By Dr. H. Kopel
There are numerous treatment options for fully edentulous patients today. These include full upper and lower dentures, implant-assisted prostheses (overdentures), implant-supported removable prostheses (hybrids) and implant-supported fixed bridgework.

Although implant-assisted overdentures “assist” retention and stability, soft tissue and bone are still relied upon to lend support to this type of prosthesis. The overdenture will be much more stable than a regular denture and usually has 2-4 implants supporting it. The overdenture is still removable and easy to clean. It is also the least expensive implant option. Most dentures can be retro fitted with implant attachments and more implants can be added at a later date to improve stability if necessary.

With implant-supported removable prostheses (hybrids), stability, retention and support are completely provided from the implants themselves or from bars attached to the implants. The hybrid, therefore, can be much smaller than a regular denture without flanges or covering the roof of the mouth. A hybrid can be supported by 4 implants. It is screwed into place by the dentist. The patient will have no movement with this prosthesis and the patient cannot remove it. It will need to be serviced and cleaned by the dentist. Hybrids are the most affordable fixed prosthesis.

If finances permit an actual fixed porcelain bridge can be constructed on top of 8-10 implants. There will be no plastic or denture material and this will look and function as natural teeth. This will be permanently cemented in place just as any other crown or bridge. It will be maintained by the patient and dentist as with natural teeth.

The same options are available when the patient has retained some of their teeth by making a partial overdenture or hybrid or fixed bridgework. Although you cannot attach a fixed bridge to a natural tooth and an implant you may use both to support a removable partial denture. There is
controversy regarding this, but if well designed and planned this is a definite option.

Here are some of the benefits achieved by utilizing implants with dentures, partial dentures and bridges:

  • Restores proper chewing, allowing a better diet and improved health
  • Improves speech and confidence
  • Increases comfort with less irritation of gum tissue
  • Ends the cost and inconvenience of denture adhesives
  • Often can utilize your existing denture
  • Minimally invasive procedures