What Are Dentures?
Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.
There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. We will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.
How Do Dentures Work?
With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.
Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. We will then determine which of the three types of dentures described below is best for you.
- Conventional Full Denture
- A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.
- Immediate Full Denture
- An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. (We will take measurements and make models of your jaw during a prior visit.) While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted. The reason is that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.
- Partial Denture
- A partial denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges.
Dental technology has advanced to the point where tooth colored bonding and fillings are now possible, thereby eliminating a lot of the visual concerns about having a cavity filled or a broken tooth patched up. Here is a look at exactly what each procedure consists of:
- Dental Bonding: Ideal when a tooth is chipped, cracked or discolored, bonding is a way to restore your smile without changing the complexion of the tooth. Bonding is often a drill-less process where a dentist adheres a tooth colored resin material to the tooth and then cures it with a special light so that it blends in with the rest of the tooth. When cared for properly, bonding can last for up to 5 years or more. The process is painless and can generally be performed in just one visit.
- Tooth Colored Fillings: Tooth colored fillings are just what they sound like – fillings that blend in with the color of your teeth. The process is similar to filling any cavity – the dentist first removes the area affected by tooth decay and then fills it with the tooth colored resin rather than a metal one.
Benefits of Dental Bonding
As we already noted, the biggest benefit of dental bonding is its efficiency in correcting chipped, cracked or discolored teeth in a fast and painless way. Some other benefits of the procedure include:
- Cost: Compared to alternative procedures such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers, dental bonding is a relatively inexpensive procedure. Veneers and crowns, for instance, are customized porcelain products that need to be manufactured in a dental laboratory – thereby increasing the cost significantly.
- Speed: We already mentioned how fast the process is, but to be more specific, dental bonding can take less than 30 minutes per tooth.
- Painless: Unlike other similar procedures, bonding is painless. In fact, most of the time anesthesia isn’t required for most basic procedures. Anesthesia may be necessary, however, if bonding is also being used to fill a cavity at the same time.
- Applications: While bonding is most often associated with correcting chipped, stained or cracked teeth, it can also be used to treat gaps in between teeth, fill cavities, change the shape of teeth or even protect a tooth root that is exposed by receding gums.
Benefits of Tooth Colored Fillings
In reality, the process of receiving a tooth colored filling is not much different than a metal filling. However, there are a variety of physical, health and even psychological benefits that are associated with a tooth colored filling rather than a conventional metal one. Here is a look at these benefits:
- The biggest benefit of tooth colored fillings is in appearance. There is no metal being inserted into the mouth, therefore nothing that suggests – at a glance – that there was ever a cavity in the first place.
- The benefit of appearance translates to various Psychological benefits associated with tooth colored fillings. Many people are very self-conscious about fillings, which then impacts their behavior. For instance, people may be less willing to smile or laugh in public, as they may be afraid of showing off a mouth full of metal to onlookers. Yes, believe it or not, tooth colored fillings can do a lot for a person’s self-esteem.
- Health: There may also be a health benefit to tooth colored fillings. Did you know that most metal fillings (also called Amalgam fillings) contain Mercury? While amalgam fillings are safe when properly intact, when these fillings start to break down it has been hypothesized that they may release mercury, which can be dangerous to your health. Some forms of mercury have been linked to certain types of cancer, multiple sclerosis and various other health issues. Although it has not been proven whether failing dental restorations directly contribute to any of these conditions or not, many people agree that it is just not worth the risk to wait to find out either way.
- Process benefits: Finally, tooth colored fillings adhere better to the tooth than metal fillings do, thereby reducing the likelihood that patients will have to return to the dentist to have a filling replaced. Filling repair or replacement is common with metal fillings. The enhanced durability of tooth colored fillings means less inconvenient visits to the dentist.
Both dental bonding and tooth colored fillings are dental procedures that restore your smile beautifully. Those who undergo such treatments won’t have to worry about a mouth full of metal or having to hide their smiles to prevent any perceived unsightliness from occurring.
So don’t hide that smile of yours, restore it attractively. For more information on the process, ease and benefits of the dental bonding and tooth colored fillings, contact our office today. We will be happy to consult with you and get your smile back on the path to lighting up the room.
What is an Amalgam Filling?
- Amalgam is an alloy used for dental fillings that contains approximately 50% mercury, ~22-32% silver, ~14% tin, ~8% copper and other trace metals. Amalgam has been used for dental fillings for over 150 years.
- In recent years, with the improvements in composite resin (tooth-colored fillings) and increasing public concern regarding the toxicity of amalgam fillings and the potential effects on the body, amalgam fillings have become a less popular choice among the dental industry. At FLOSS we use composite resin (tooth-colored) fillings, which are a durable, aesthetically pleasing, and mercury-free alternative.
- The public concern about the toxicity of amalgam fillings is a controversial topic. Dental amalgam does contain mercury, which can release a low level of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. High levels of mercury vapor exposure have been associated with adverse effects in the brain and kidneys. Based on the best scientific evidence available, the FDA at this point has ruled that amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and above.
What should I do?
For patients who currently have amalgam fillings which in good condition and there is no decay beneath the filling, we do not recommend that you have your amalgam fillings removed or replaced unnecessarily. Removing sound amalgam fillings can result in unnecessary loss of healthy tooth structure and may expose you to additional mercury vapor released during the removal process. However, it is important to understand that failing amalgam restorations can pose significant health risks regardless of whether there is mercury release or not, such as recurrent tooth decay, infection, tooth fracture and eventual tooth loss if left untreated.
If you believe that you may have an allergy or sensitivity to mercury or any of the other metals in dental amalgam (such as silver, tin, or copper), or if you have amalgam fillings that have been in your mouth for many years, you should consult with your dentist to have them evaluated and discuss possible treatment options.
When removing an amalgam filling, exposure to mercury vapor is a risk. At FLOSS we strictly adhere to specific protocols for safely removing amalgam fillings to reduce patient and staff exposure to mercury vapors.