When considering full or partial dentures to replace missing teeth, clinicians must decide which option will be most suitable for their patients. Important considerations include: relevant anatomical, psychological, and physiological factors and the patient’s medical history.
Dentures can be implant-retained or supported by the oral mucosa, while partial dentures may be supported by dental clasps or special attachments. Partial dentures can be constructed with lightweight metal framework or made entirely from acrylic or plastic. Some dentures will use more than one type of material, combining the very best aspects of each to create a functional, yet aesthetically-pleasing appliance. Several points must be evaluated when deciding which type of denture will be most suitable.
Partial or Full Dentures?
Dentures are custom-made in a laboratory from impressions taken of the patient’s mouth. However, depending on how many teeth the patient has lost. An ideal candidate is someone who is missing several teeth in a row, but whose oral health is otherwise good. For someone who is missing most or all of their teeth along the dental arch, full dentures may be the right solution. However, if the patient is missing only a few teeth, then a partial denture may be the ideal solution.
Removable or Implant-Retained?
Implant-retained dentures offer patients improved stability and retention. Greater patient awareness and demand for these prostheses has increased their popularity. implant-retained prostheses can improve patients’ quality of life and confidence, and that most people, when given the choice, would choose fixed prostheses over removable options. The amount of bone present will determine appropriate treatment. A patient should consider whether they can tolerate bone augmentation and the higher costs involved if bone is inadequate. The overall health of a patient is always an important consideration and medically-compromised patients may not be able to undergo this treatment.
Metal or Plastic?
Acrylic full dentures can be aesthetically-pleasing, especially when using the highest-quality denture teeth. However, for partial dentures, it is often preferable to have a lightweight cobalt chrome framework. This provides strength, structure and comfort- removing some of the bulk from the prosthesis results in a more comfortable wear. Alternatively, flexible denture materials can be used, conforming closely to the natural shape of the mouth and creating a comfortable and discreet appliance. Cobalt chrome framework can also be combined with flexible denture materials like Valplast and CustomFlex. This combination gives partial denture wearers the best of both worlds: a strong, lightweight, aesthetically-pleasing denture with good overall stability.