Dentures are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth, and are supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Conventional dentures are removable; however there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth or dental implants. There are two main categories of dentures, depending on whether they are used to replace missing teeth on the mandibular arch or the maxillary arch. Patients can become entirely edentulous (without teeth) due to many reasons, the most prevalent being removal because of dental disease typically relating to periodontal disease and tooth decay. Other reasons include tooth developmental defects caused by severe malnutrition, genetic defects such as Dentinogenesis imperfecta, trauma, or drug use.
Dentures can help patients in a number of ways:
1. Mastication – chewing ability is improved by replacing edentulous areas with denture teeth.
2. Aesthetics – the presence of teeth provide a natural facial appearance, and wearing a denture to replace missing teeth provides support for the lips and cheeks and corrects the collapsed appearance that occurs after losing teeth.
3. Phonetics – by replacing missing teeth, especially the anteriors, patients are better able to speak by improving pronunciation of those words containing sibilants or fricatives.
4. Self-Esteem – Patients feel better about themselves.
Removable partial dentures: removable partial dentures are for patients who are missing some of their teeth on a particular arch. Fixed partial dentures, also known as "crown and bridge", are made from crowns that are fitted on the remaining teeth to act as abutments and pontics made from materials to resemble the missing teeth. Fixed bridges are more stable than removable appliances.
Complete dentures: conversely, complete dentures or full dentures are worn by patients who are missing all of the teeth in a single arch (i.e. the maxillary (upper) or mandibular (lower) arch).
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