Upper False Teeth Options
If you need to replace your upper teeth, there are several options you may be a candidate for depending on your specific situation. In this article, we will discuss different types of dentures and dental implants to give you an idea of what options are available.
Dentures are one option to replace missing teeth. Contrary to what many might think, there are actually several different types of dentures that can be used to replace your upper teeth.
- Traditional Dentures. Dentures are intended to replace all the teeth, and can be made for upper teeth, lower teeth, or both. Traditional dentures rest on top of the gums and are held in place with adhesives. Once remaining teeth have been extracted, dentures are usually able to be worn after an 8- to 12-week healing period.
- Partial Dentures. If you still have some of your natural teeth, partial dentures could be an option. Partial dentures have a base that is attached to a metal piece to hold the denture in place. They are removable and have the added benefit of preventing the other teeth in the mouth from moving.
- Custom Dentures. Custom dentures are similar to traditional dentures but are customized and molded to fit snugly against your gums. Thus, they don’t generally require denture adhesive to keep them in place.
- Immediate Dentures. Immediate dentures are not a long-term solution for missing teeth. These are generally placed the same day your teeth are extracted but are intended to serve as a temporary solution to protect your mouth while it heals and while your permanent dentures are being made.
- Economy Dentures. Economy dentures, as the name would imply, are often the most cost-effective type of denture—however, because they are not customized, they often do not fit that well or look as natural. Denture adhesive is required to keep these dentures in place.
When people think of “dental implants,” they often think of implants that replace the whole tooth (see “Dental Implants” below). In actuality, the dental implant itself is a metal post inserted into the jawbone to make an artificial root.
Implant-supported dentures, sometimes called “implant overdentures” or “snap-in dentures,” are secured to the underlying bone in your jaw by snapping on to the metal implants inserted into the jawbone. Usually, two to four implants are required for this type of denture.
Implant-supported dentures require a longer process than traditional dentures and involve a surgical procedure to place the implant into the jawbone. After this procedure, it usually takes about two months for bone to grow around the implant. After the implants have healed and are secure, the implant-supported denture can be placed. These are usually removable for cleaning purposes.
This option is popular because it offers the following benefits over other types of dentures:
- Prevents Bone Loss. Over time, traditional dentures gradually become loose because the bone structure of the mouth shrinks due to bone loss in the jaw. Teeth replaced with implants or implant-supported dentures, however, allow the same amount of bite pressure as natural teeth and thus, encourage bone growth. This allows for the added benefit of not needing regular adjustments over time. Bone loss can also affect the appearance of the face, thus, implant-supported dentures help prevent changes in appearance.
- Better Speech. Poorly fitting dentures can move within the mouth, causing changes in your speech. Implant-supported dentures avoid this problem because they are more secure and stable in the mouth.
- Improved Functionality/Nutrition. With implant-supported dentures, people have normal biting and chewing functionality, so most people can eat the foods they want to without worry. Because implant-supported dentures provide a strong bite function, they do not require any dietary adjustments to accommodate traditional dentures, which are more fragile. This promotes better nutrition.
- Permanent Solution. Because the implants become part of your jaw, implant-supported dentures are a permanent solution to tooth loss. Other methods of tooth replacement, including standard dentures and bridges, often need to be replaced over time as your bone structure changes.
- Affordability. Implant-supported dentures are often less costly than individual dental implants that replace several or all missing teeth.
Fit and Performance. Another major benefit of implant-supported dentures is the fit and performance. With the secure foundation provided by the implants, denture glues are no longer necessary, and the stability makes them more comfortable.
- Enhanced Self-Confidence. With implant-supported dentures, you won’t have to worry about your dentures slipping or becoming loose while you eat or talk, and you won’t have to worry about your speech being affected by the dentures. This helps many people feel more confident in social situations.
Dental implants are the most permanent and durable option for replacing missing teeth. When cared for correctly, dental implants can last for up to 25 years or longer. Dentures and bridges often require replacement due to breakage, or regular adjustments due to shifting mouth structure and issues with comfort. With successful dental implants, you can expect several decades of use with no special care or upkeep beyond that required with your natural teeth.
Dental implants are artificial teeth that are permanently attached to your jawbone. They consist of three components: the post, the abutment, and the crown.
The process for placing dental implants involves three steps.
- The first step is placing a small titanium post into the jawbone. This requires removing the tooth’s original root, then drilling into the jawbone and placing the post. To hold the post in place, new bone must grow around it. This process usually takes around two months.
- After the post is secure, the second step is to place a piece called an abutment onto the post. The abutment is screwed onto the post above the gums. This piece is the foundation onto which the crown will be secured.
- The final step is securing the crown onto the abutment. Once placed, the crown looks and acts like a natural tooth and will be customized to fit your mouth.
Dental implants provide many of the same benefits as implant-supported dentures, but because they are permanent, they are the closest you can get to a “natural” set of teeth. Care and maintenance is essentially the same as with natural teeth. One significant downside is that dental implants are quite costly.
Deciding how to replace your missing teeth relies on many factors that are individual to you, including how many teeth you need replaced, the condition of your gums and jawbone, general health and lifestyle, cost, and other factors. It is important to discuss all options with your dental health care professionals so they can help guide you to the best solution based on your specific situation and preferences.