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Who's a Candidate for Dentures?

Oct 01, 2023
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As one of the most comprehensive and versatile restorative dentistry offerings, dentures are an ideal tooth replacement option for anyone with numerous gaps in their smile — including those who’ve lost all their teeth. Learn more here.

Adult tooth loss is more common than you might think: More than half of adults in the United States — or about 178 million Americans — are missing at least one permanent tooth, and an estimated 40 million people have lost all their teeth. 

Apart from making it harder to eat normally, enunciate clearly, and smile without hesitation, missing teeth increase your risk of developing serious oral health issues, including:

  • Shifting, teeth, and bite misalignments
  • Abnormal dental wear and jawbone loss
  • Tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease

As tooth loss experts specializing in helping people regain full oral function and aesthetics, Dr. Suzette Nikas and Dr. Chelsea Laucher offer a full scope of restorative dental solutions at Hazel Dell Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana. Here’s when our team might recommend dentures as the best replacement for missing teeth.   

Dentures replace multiple missing teeth

As one of the most comprehensive and versatile restorative dentistry offerings, dentures are a removable oral appliance designed to replace multiple missing teeth at once. They’re often the go-to solution for addressing a full arch of missing teeth, but they can also be used to fill the gaps left by a few missing teeth. 

Let’s take a closer look at the three basic types of removable dentures: 

Complete dentures 

Complete dentures are a non-fixed dental prosthetic designed to restore full function and appearance to your mouth. Also called conventional dentures replace a full set of teeth (top, bottom, or both), otherwise known as a full arch of teeth. 

Made to match the size and contour of your jaw and rest snugly against your gums, complete dentures consist of an acrylic gum-colored base fitted with resin or porcelain teeth. A top set of full dentures also features an acrylic “plate” that fits against the roof of your mouth. 

While complete dentures are held firmly in place by suction, many people who use them find that dental adhesive can help ensure a secure, comfortable fit.  

Partial dentures 

Removable partial dentures replace just a few missing teeth across your upper arch or lower jaw. This oral appliance consists of an acrylic gum-colored base fitted with just the teeth you need to replace, whether a few consecutive teeth or a scattering of teeth across the arch.  

Implant-supported dentures 

As the newest denture offering, implant-supported dentures use four to six dental implants to support a full arch of replacement teeth: A lower set of teeth requires two implants in the front of your jaw and two more angled implants a little further back. An upper set of teeth may require up to six implants for proper support.   

The custom overdenture prosthetic is fitted with special attachments that allow it to snap into place over the implants for a secure fit. Implant-supported dentures are more streamlined than conventional dentures and don’t have an acrylic roof plate. 

Who should consider removable dentures? 

Dentures can solve many problems related to missing teeth because they’re customized to fit your mouth and match your bite. 

While dentures are a viable therapeutic option for virtually anyone missing a significant number of teeth, they’re an ideal option — and often the only option — in specific cases. You may consider dentures if:

Implantation surgery isn’t a viable option

If you have uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, or another chronic systemic condition that undermines your body’s ability to heal dental implantation surgery may not be possible. This is also true if you’re a heavy smoker, as tobacco use diminishes your body’s healing capacity. 

Your jawbone can’t receive dental implants

If your jawbone is too shallow to hold implants — especially if it’s also too fragile to undergo a bone grafting procedure — dentures are the usually best restorative solution. This is often the case with adults who’ve been missing teeth for years, as jawbone tissue shrinks and weakens without the continuous stimulation of healthy tooth roots. 

You need the most cost-effective solution 

Dentures are more affordable than implants if you don’t have dental insurance or are simply looking for the most comprehensive and cost-effective tooth replacement option.    

Which restorative solution is right for you?

Whether you’ve lost multiple teeth to severe dental decay, gum disease, or both, we can help you regain your smile. Before recommending a specific dental restoration, we review your medical history and examine your gums, jawbone, and any remaining teeth. 

To find out if dentures are the best option for you, call our expert team at Hazel Dell Dentistry in Carmel, Indiana, today, or click online to schedule a consultation any time.