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Differences between fixed and removable dentures PDF Print E-mail

"Every tooth in a mans head is more valuable than a diamond."

- Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Sadly, not many realize the truth of the above statement. Like many things, the value of a tooth is often realized when it is no longer there. However, such an affected person need not suffer through life without teeth. There are numerous solutions available depending on the patients condition. Dentures are usually used as a last resort if teeth replacement is needed but the patient is not a good candidate for other methods, such as crowns or implants. Here, we will talk about dentures.

Dentures are artificial devices used to replace missing teeth, and which are supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Dentures are not a recent development in human medical history, but have been in use in various forms over several thousand years. The earliest dentures were made by Etruscans in northern Italy as far back as 700 BC, out of human or other animal teeth. These survived till the 16th century, when wooden dentures made an appearance in Japan. The first porcelain dentures were made around 1770, and were used with subsequent developments till the 20th century when plastics and acrylic resin began to be used.

Basically, dentures are of two types - fixed and removable.

Fixed dentures

A fixed denture is a prosthesis that is fixed inside the mouth using the support of adjacent teeth so that it cannot be removed by the patient and behaves like natural teeth. Fixed dentures can be complete or partial .

Complete dentures or full dentures are fixed on patients who are missing all of the teeth in a single arch (i.e. the maxillary (upper) or mandibular (lower) arch). They are placed directly on the gums and usually require several appointments in a long process that involves taking impressions of the mouth for a natural fit, as well as working with the dentist to choose a size, shape and color of teeth.

Fixed partial dentures, also known as "crown and bridge", are used to replace one or a small number of missing teeth. They are made from crowns that are fitted on the remaining teeth to act as abutments and pontics made from materials to resemble natural teeth. Bridges often look more natural than removable dentures and are generally more expensive.

Removable dentures

Removable dentures are partial dentures. These include artificial teeth and gums on a metal framework that holds the dentures in place with metal clasps or other attachments. This type is referred to as a removable because patients can remove and reinsert them when required without professional help. On the other hand, a "fixed" prosthesis can and should be removed only by a dental professional.

Getting used to dentures does take time, as they can affect the normal way you eat and speak. However, with the latest developments, dentists can effectively replace missing teeth with dentures that feel almost like the real thing.

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