THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO AFFORDABLE DENTURES
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Dr. Reza Khazaie, DDS, Prosthodontist
Known As The Best Dentist in Concord, CA
What Are Dentures?
Most people think of dentures as old-fashioned prosthetics from a bygone era.
However, you may be surprised to learn that dentures are still very much a part of modern dentistry and prosthodontics.
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 90 percent of edentulous (toothless) patients rely on dentures to meet their daily functional and aesthetic needs. Of that number, 15 percent have a new set of dentures made every single year.
Dentures today are a far cry from the old and clumsy false teeth of the past.
Modern materials and manufacturing techniques allow for the custom fabrication of dentures that not only fit perfectly but also look great as well. They can even be prototyped in hours as opposed to weeks.
What Are Modern Dentures?
Modern dentures often referred to as “false teeth,” are prosthetic devices designed to replace missing teeth. Like the false teeth of the past, conventional dentures today are still made from artificial materials and are supported by a patient’s gums to stay in place.
New technologies in dentures allow for a variety of new forms depending on the individual needs of the patient.
These include partial dentures and implant-retained (permanent) dentures, to name a few.
These new types of dentures share some similarities with conventional dentures but differ drastically in design and application. Partial dentures, for example, rely on adjacent teeth for support. Meanwhile, implant-retained dentures mechanically fasten to underlying jaw bone via dental implants.
In addition to these new types of dentures are technologically advanced materials. In the past, dentures have been made from everything from animal ivory to wood. Today, dentures can be made from a variety of long-lasting and aesthetic dental-grade materials including resin, acrylic, porcelain ceramic, zirconia, metal alloys, or a combination of these materials.
Rapid advancements in digital scanning, 3D printing, and CAD/CAM fabrication have made custom dentures more accessible and technologically advanced than ever before.
As recently as a decade ago, the vast majority of custom dentures required an artisan’s input. Whether it be a dentist taking a dental impression, a lab technician sculpting a stone mold, or a prosthodontist putting finishing touches on a custom design --- denture fabrication wasn’t that far removed from its artisanal roots. Hand making anything, let alone a set of highly intricate teeth, takes time, and can be very costly. Today oral data is taken digitally, with the assistance of an oral scanner. It is then modeled in a computer CAD/CAM program and then printed with precise details with little need for an artisan’s hand -- thus less time and yes, less cost.
Characteristics of Modern Dentures
Removable (except for implant-retained dentures)
Custom-crafted to fit your mouth
Can be partial or full dentures
Made from resin, acrylic, porcelain, zirconia, or a hybrid of materials
Supported by the gums (except for implant-retained dentures)
Require periodic refitting and replacement
Requires less time in dental chair
Less expensive for quality dentures
Where Did Dentures Originate?
There is no one-recorded inventor or moment in history that gave us the modern removable denture as we know it.
Even recent innovations such as partial dentures and implant-retained dentures were built on the gradual accumulation of past knowledge.
What we do know is that human beings have been playing around with the idea of dentures for millennia. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Etruscans, and Chinese all had their opinions on dentures. Nearly every ancient civilization had some ideas about how to best replace missing teeth from using river pebbles to metal wire and even animal teeth.
In more recent history, one famous example of dentures is George Washington’s famous wooden teeth. In reality, there is no actual evidence that the famed founding father ever sported wooden teeth. Instead, historical documents point to Washington using metal wires, screws, and ivory amongst other notably ineffective methods.
Thankfully, modern dentures have significantly progressed since the 18th and 19th centuries when everything from solid gold to vulcanite was experimented with for tooth replacement or restoration.
The discovery and application of acrylic resin and other plastics revolutionized tooth restoration. For many, it’s this early adaptation of plastics that they think of when they think of their grandparent’s dentures. However, it wasn’t until 1986 when the light-cured acrylic resin was introduced to the marketplace. Finally, prosthodontists had materials that could be easily shaped to a custom form then rapidly cured.
This was the advent of today's modern dentures.
How Are Modern Dentures Better?
Compared to the “old-school” dentures of your grandparents, modern dentures are significantly more advanced. They’re stronger, lighter, more durable, better looking, accurate fitting, and most importantly, they are typically custom made and custom-fitted.
So how are modern dentures different than the dentures of old?
Custom made for each person
More stain resistant
Easier to manufacture
While PMMA plastic introduced in the 1930s has been in use since that time in dental applications, methodologies, and techniques for making dentures, it has evolved and changed drastically since that time.
The introduction of an injection molding system in the 1970s and the advent of rapid polymerization in the 1980s made fabrication more predictable, resulting in better fits and better long term viability.
Meanwhile, high-impact PMMA began appearing in dentures in the 2000s.
Standard heat-cured PMMA can be somewhat brittle when cured and prone to breakage when dropped or weakened over time as a result of mastication (chewing).
Finally, when it comes to aesthetics, there is simply no comparison. Old school dentures were manufactured from a single block of conventional pink. However, when you look at a person’s gums and teeth, there are many subtle contours and grooves, pigmentation, and small details such as delicate veining.
One thing that could make old school dentures jarring to look at was the clash of monolithic pink PMMA with the rest of a person’s oral cavity. Today, custom dentures can be manufactured from a semi-translucent resin material to allow the gums to be visible. Furthermore, many resin materials can be color-matched to the exact color of the patient’s gums.
Color-toning kits containing fine piments can be blended into each batch of denture-bound acrylic to provide even more considerable color variation. Characterization, weather by hand or during fabrication, also contribute to the more lifelike appearance of modern conventional dentures.
Modern dentures can meet the high aesthetic and functional demands of today’s dental patients. High-quality PMMA dentures custom designed and fitted not only look great but they are also durable and can last a long time.
In the past, replacing worn down or broken dentures was a nearly a yearly affair. Today, custom dentures can be worn for years at a time before requiring a refitting or replacement.
Moreover, with the rise of digital scanning techniques, chair-side fabrication, and one-day dentures, the process of getting a brand new set of lifelike replacement teeth is as easy as ever.
What Are The Different Types of Dentures?
You may be surprised to learn that there are many different kinds of dentures, not just the traditional full dentures.
Dentures come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can serve to replace a few teeth, or they can restore an entire arch of teeth.
Some dentures are removable, while some are permanent.
This chapter of our guide will help you learn the ins and outs of the various types of dentures.
There are four primary types of dentures:
- Full (complete) removable dentures
- Partial removable dentures
- Fixed or cantilever bridge dentures
- Implant-supported dentures
Prosthodontists also make use of temporary dentures; however, these are generally limited in use and functionality and will not be covered in this guide.
Each denture type can be used for different specific situations and come with their strengths and weaknesses. For example, full dentures are only used for a completely edentulous, or toothless, patient.
The Kinds of Dentures for Replacing Missing Teeth
Dentures come in four primary types that are generally differentiated from one another by two qualities: extent and removability.
Some denture types are used to replace an entire arch of teeth. These include full (complete) dentures and implant-supported (All-On-4) dentures.
There are denture types such as partial dentures and bridge dentures that only replace some teeth. In other words, the scope and extent of the different denture interventions set them apart.
Another characteristic that sets one type of dentures apart from another is removability.
Full (complete) dentures and partial dentures are removable.
Meanwhile, bridge dentures and implant-supported dentures are generally not removable without professional expertise and assistance.
The four types of dentures are as follows:
- Full (Complete) Dentures
- Partial Dentures
- Bridge Dentures (Fixed and Cantilever)
- Implant-supported Dentures (All-On-4 Dental Implants or similar)
To help you understand the nuances of each type of denture, I'll explain each one so that you can make the best decision when it comes to dentures.
1. Removable Full (Complete) Dentures
Full dentures are what most people think of when they think of dentures. These removable stalwarts of the cosmetic dentistry field haven’t changed much in essence from the dentures your grandparents had. They still consist of two full arches of artificial teeth and gums that replace a person’s missing teeth.
Generally, full dentures are only worn when all the teeth have gone missing or are needing removal due to decay or periodontal disease. If a person still has natural teeth remaining, a partial denture or bridge dentures might be a better solution.
What makes dentures, so universally popular is that they are an economical and straightforward solution to the problem of missing teeth.
Full dentures require no surgery or artificial oral attachments. Instead, they are held in place by simple suction with the aid of special denture paste adhesives. With new innovation around scanning and fabrication technologies, custom dentures have vastly improved. Today patients can have better quality, better fitting, and ultimately more comfortable dentures than ever before.
Today’s dentures, compared to dentures from even a few years ago, can be fabricated chairside from a digital model using 3D imaging with the aid of CAD/CAM technology. This has created a rise in on-demand custom dentures since prosthodontists can prototype and fit various styles of dentures for their patients often in a single visit.
Modern custom dentures should fit your mouth seamlessly and comfortably. When properly designed, fabricated, and fitted, you should not have to worry about a pair of modern dentures accidentally falling out of your mouth unprovoked.
Dentures are an excellent way for edentulous (toothless) patients to get a brand new set of teeth and an attractive and functional smile.
2. Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are, as the name suggests, cut down versions of full complete dentures.
Unlike full dentures that are designed to replace an entire arch, partial dentures are only intended to replace a limited number of teeth.
Partials are great for patients with some natural teeth remaining that are looking for an aesthetic and economical way to replace their missing teeth. Not to be confused with dental bridge dentures, partial dentures can be removed and replaced just like conventional dentures.
Also, like conventional dentures, partial dentures typically consist of a tooth replacement attached to a gum-colored base or affixed to a rigid metal framework. They can be made from flexible plastic or rigid cast metal.
Like conventional full dentures, partial dentures are highly economical. They are an effective and efficient way for patients to replace a limited number of missing teeth without the need to undergo surgery. Better yet, with the right equipment, partial dentures can sometimes be manufactured at the dental clinic itself, allowing patients to receive brand new teeth with a single appointment.
3. Bridge Dentures (Fixed, Implant-Supported, and Cantilever)
Many patients confuse dental bridge dentures with partial dentures. While they fulfill a similar role, they are two very different teeth replacement solutions.
Unlike partial dentures, bridge dentures are not easily removed or replaced. Also, unlike partial dentures, bridges dentures are supported by adjacent teeth, not by the soft tissues of the gums or by a rigid metal framework.
Bridge dentures are generally separated into three primary varieties: fixed bridge dentures, implant-supported bridge dentures, and cantilever bridge dentures.
Adjacent healthy teeth support all three types of bridge dentures in some form. These types of dentures “bridge,” a gap where teeth are missing. However, where they differ is in the exact mechanism of support.
4. Implant-Supported Bridge Denture
Implant-supported bridge dentures, for example, are supported by one or two implants that hold the bridge in place. However, with a single implant-supported bridge system, adjacent teeth can still be used to help counteract centripetal forces and prevent the prosthetic from rotating around its point of attachment. Implant-supported bridges are great when nearby teeth aren’t up to the task of supporting a conventional fixed bridge or cantilever bridge.
5. Conventional Fixed Bridge Denture
With a conventional fixed bridge denture, two crowns are placed on either side of an edentulous (toothless) area. These adjacent crowns provide support for a prosthetic piece that literally “bridges” the gap. The placement of dental crowns, however, requires the removal of some natural enamel on the adjacent teeth to accommodate the thickness of the crown material.
6. Cantilever Bridge Denture
For some, shaving down adjacent healthy teeth isn’t feasible or what they want. In that case, a prosthodontist may recommend a cantilever dental bridge.
Unlike a conventional bridge, a cantilever dental bridge is supported by a single fixed attachment point, typically an individual crown. The rest of the bridge then cantilevers over the edentulous area. This can reduce the amount of natural dental material that needs to be removed to accommodate a second crown. It is also easier to install. However, cantilever bridges come at the cost of reduced strength and resilience. Without the second attachment point, cantilever bridges are more prone to warping, being damaged, or accidental breakage.
7. All-On-4 Dental Implants (Implant-supported Dentures)
Imagine traditional removable dentures that are fixed in place with dental implants. That’s what implant-supported dentures are. Just like regular dentures, implant-supported dentures consist of two full arches of artificial teeth and gums. However, unlike regular full dentures, implant-supported dentures sit on several strategically placed dental implants rather than directly on a person’s gums.
Dentures can be supported with as few as four dental implants per arch, though some can have up to six or even eight supporting dental implants. Implant-supported dentures that utilize the minimum number of required implants (four dental implants) are often referred to as All-On-4 dental implants.
All-On-4 dental implants are an excellent solution for complete edentulism for several reasons.
First, All-On-4 dental implants eliminate one of the most significant potential weaknesses of traditional dentures. They are fixed in place, which means you’ll never have to worry about them accidentally shifting in your mouth or, even worse, falling out at an inopportune moment.
Furthermore, the use of dental implants helps to stimulate the jaw bone underneath your gums. While your jaw bone might seem like it has nothing to do with your dentures, the type of dentures you choose will have a direct impact on the shape of your face, and the way you look. Dental roots provide natural stimulation to your jaw bone, which tells your body to retain the bone depth and density. This, in turn, keeps your face looking full and young.
Patients who lose their teeth suffer from something known as bone resorption. When bone resorption occurs, your jaw and facial bones waste away, giving your face a hollowed-out and aged appearance. This is highly problematic for patients with traditional dentures since regular removable teeth do not replace missing dental roots.
Implant-supported dentures and other implant-supported solutions do replace missing dental roots. Embedded dental implants penetrate through the gums and into the bone below, allowing stimulating forces to transfer from the mouth into the jaw. As a result, patients who opt for All-On-4 dental implants can expect bone resorption to be minimal.
A Quick Guide to Dental Restoration With Affordable Dentures
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are the go-to solution for the vast majority of patients for treating partial or complete tooth loss or edentulism. About 90 percent of all patients with complete edentulism use dentures to not only improve their looks, but to also easily and efficiently restore many critical activities such as eating, speaking, and even smiling.
Affordable, Accessible, and Aesthetic
Dentures dominate the cosmetic dentistry market for tooth loss as a result of three crucial advantages: they are affordable, accessible, and they are highly aesthetic.
How Much Do Dentures Cost?
Compared to conventional individual dental implants which can cost patients as much as $2,500 to $4,500 per tooth or $140,000+ for a full-mouth replacement procedure, a complete set of dentures with 32 teeth can cost as little as $1,500 up to $4,000 per denture (upper and lower plates).
While conventional individual dental implants have significant advantages, the cost differential can be staggering. Not only do dentures cost significantly less than alternative solutions to edentulism, but they are also less invasive, require a short or no recovery period, and unlike implants, aren’t dependent on the quality and quantity of existing underlying bone structures. Patients who have been toothless for a period of time, lack adequate underlying jaw bone depth, or just can’t or are unwilling to put up with invasive surgery and subsequent recovery periods will find dentures to be a far more accessible solution.
They can also do wonders for a person’s looks. Dazzling, natural-looking dentures crafted and carefully fitted by a prosthodontist can produce stunningly beautiful results. Well-made and appropriately fitted they can help fill in a person's facial features giving a patient suffering from tooth loss a fuller, more youthful visage.
Beautiful prosthodontic appliances with straight teeth and perfect proportions allow patients to smile, laugh, and speak confidently as well eat, chew, and bite with ease. In your set of dentures is a perfect marriage of form and function that address both the aesthetic and practical concerns of a person suffering from tooth loss.
4 Types of Affordable Dentures
Like any prosthodontic solution or appliance, there are different types of affordable dentures suited for different patients and a variety of needs.
Traditional dentures are typically divided into three broad categories: complete, partial, and implant-supported dentures.
The latter, which includes All-On-Four Dental Implants, relies on strategically placed dental implants for support and behave very differently from traditional removable dentures. To best determine which type of denture is right for you, consult with Dr. Reza Khazaie of Willow Pass Dental Care, known as the leading dentists in Concord, CA. Dr. Khazaie can best address your dental concerns and make the right recommendations for you.
Conventional Complete (Permanent) Denture
A Conventional Complete (Permanent) Denture is a final set of removable dentures that is only emplaced after all broken, rotten, or otherwise unsalvageable teeth have been removed and the gums have been given an adequate amount of time to heal and “settle.” This healing process typically takes 8 to 12 weeks.
Immediate Complete Denture
Immediate Complete Dentures, on the other hand, are fabricated before the extraction of errant teeth and the preparation of the gums and can be placed immediately which is why they are referred to as "same day dentures." While this eliminates the waiting period for a complete set of dentures, they are typically seen as a temporary solution since subsequent fittings will be required to determine the best, final fit.
Partial Dentures are employed in cases where a patient has teeth remaining that are salvageable. Partial dentures fill in the spaces left by missing teeth. Typically, the salvaged original teeth adjacent to the area of edentulism receive preparatory work to receive and provide structural support for the partial denture prosthesis. These removable partial dentures, sometimes confused with fixed bridges, not only fill in areas of missing teeth, but they also ensure the remaining teeth do not migrate over time.
Implant-supported Denture or Permanent Dentures (i.e. All-on-Four Dental Implants)
Implant-Supported Dentures or sometimes referred to as permanent dentures are not considered traditional removable dentures in that they require a skilled prosthodontist like Dr. Khazaie, to remove and replace. Similar to a denture; however, the artificial teeth and gums are fabricated as a single monolithic component.
However, instead of being supported on the gums or periodontal layer, implant-supported dentures are attached to strategically embedded implants. While more expensive and more invasive than traditional dentures, implant-supported solutions provide some of the benefits of dental implants without the higher costs.
While dentures are an affordable, accessible, and aesthetic solution to toothlessness, they aren’t totally without their drawbacks. Prospective denture recipients should be aware of these five removable denture limitations:
5 Things to Be Aware of
When It Comes to Dentures
- Loose, ill-fitting dentures can irritate gums and even fall out. This can cause social anxiety as well as general discomfort.
- Most dentures do not prevent bone loss. Except for implant-supported denture solutions, which rely on embedded implants to stimulate bone retention, most dentures do not provide adequate jawbone stimulation resulting in gradual atrophy of underlying bone structures.
- Removable dentures require some additional maintenance. Removable dentures must be taken out for cleaning and left to soak overnight. They may also suffer damage, such as chipping and cracking when handled roughly or exposed to hard foods.
- Traditional dentures need to be replaced every 4 or 5 years. While replacing is typically no trouble at all (you simply toss your old ones and place your new ones in your mouth), it will be added costs. The reason dentures must be replaced is a result of a gradual reduction in a person's underlying bone depth and density. Without teeth roots to stimulate and transfer bite forces into the bone beneath, atrophy inevitably occurs.
- Dentures require a period of acclimation. Typically, patients who receive dentures for the first time have to get used to the way they move and feel in their mouths. This may affect the way they eat and speak. However, after a few weeks of use most patients are able to resume daily activities at a high level. It is common for very minor irritation and an increase in saliva production to occur in the initial days and weeks, though these “growing pains” typically subside rather quickly.
It should be noted that many of the drawbacks mentioned above can be easily avoided with the use of quality dental materials and proper fitting. Remember, the best way to ensure your dental procedure is done right is to procure the services of a highly trained prosthodontist like Dr. Reza Khazaie who is widely respected in the dental community and has years of experience and a lengthy track record of happy patients.
Affordable Dentures Near Me
Considering dentures? Look no further than Dr. Reza Khazaie of Willow Pass Dental Care in Concord, CA. We provide a broad range of affordable dentures, including other tooth replacement procedures in a friendly and professional environment you can call home.
Schedule a consultation today by calling 925-326-6114 or complete our online form below to schedule an appointment.