BRIDGEWORK, DENTURES, & PARTIAL DENTURES

Missing teeth? We will help you feel confident again!

Bridgework and dentures bring you natural-looking tooth replacements to help you eat, speak, and, of course, smile! We offer a variety of options to suit every patient. No two patients are the same – we want you to get the best possible solution to make you feel great again!

Bridgework

In this section, we’re referring to Fixed Bridgework, which cannot be removed. We want to be clear with our dental terms since removable partial dentures are sometimes referred to as removable bridges (though not in this office). This can be quite confusing!

A bridge is like a connection of multiple crowns. For a “three unit” bridge, the two shaped teeth on either side are called abutment teeth.  The “crown” portions of the bridge fit over the abutment teeth and connecting them is a middle tooth, with its gum-facing surface filled in with porcelain.

At the cementation appointment, the temporary bridge is eased off and the crown portion on either end is placed over the reshaped abutment teeth; your bite is checked and adjusted if needed. Then the bridge is secured over the reshaped teeth with a cutting-edge dental cement for a natural looking result. We will show you how to floss underneath and around your new bridge.

Bridges are a faster option than dental implants. But before you choose a bridge over a dental implant, you should consider whether the teeth on either side of the missing tooth need protection. Since bridges require enamel removal, dental implants may be a better option for some if your adjacent teeth are healthy.

At Distinctively Dental, we can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of bridgework and dental implants. While there are great benefits to both, in the end, it comes down to which procedure works best for you personally.

Here’s a diagram of a bridge & how it works:

Bridgework Dentures Winston Salem Dentist

Partial Dentures

In this picture, you can see the patient has a back tooth on his left side. The partial denture has a clasp which fastens onto this back tooth. This clasp provides greater stability than the patient will have on his right side, where the partial denture has a “free end extension.”   

The flat top of the metal clasps, called a rest seat, is perched solidly on the tooth structure. These rest seats reduce biting force on the gums and bone underneath. The more rest seats on a partial denture, the less damage to the underlying jaw bone over time.

Because every patient’s mouth is unique, no two partial dentures are exactly alike in design or stability.

Bridges require a tooth on either side to stay in place. If there’s no tooth to connect to, removable partial dentures are another option if you’re not interested in dental implants.

We can make a removable partial denture for you if you have as few as two teeth, preferably the canines. But the more teeth you have, the more stable your partial dentures will be when you chew, especially foods which are stickier.

A flipper denture is a temporary partial denture with generally a small number of front teeth (often 1-3). Flipper dentures are made to be worn during healing phase after extractions or tooth loss, and often during the healing phase for front tooth implants. Example below:

Full Dentures

Patients who have lost or will be losing all of their teeth have a genuine need to eat and look normal again as soon as possible. Pizza in a blender is no fun. And if you have seen side by side photos of the same person wearing and not wearing his or her dentures, you realize that appearance is greatly affected when many teeth have been lost. Dentures will restore not only your ability to chew, but will restore the natural fullness of your face.

Properly-made dentures relieve pressure on your jaw. This is important because tooth loss tells the body you don’t need that part of the jaw bone any more, and that area begins to dissolve away. The daily pressures you place on the now toothless gum area expedite this process.  

Properly made dentures rely on the “snowshoe effect” to distribute pressures on your jaw bone, thus minimizing this effect of direct pressure causing further jaw bone loss.

A snowshoe is a wide, tennis racket-like shoe that allows you to walk on top of deep, powdery snow by distributing force over a wider area. Full dentures use a similar principal to distribute pressure more evenly across your jaw.

If you have complete dentures, you should chew your food in small bites. Chew your food on both sides of your mouth at the same time to keep both dentures in place.

Even the best fitting dentures will lose their grip over time due to inevitable changes in the underlying structures. When this happens, your dentures will require a lab reline by your dentist.

There is a big difference between upper and lower dentures when it comes to security, stability, and fit.

For most patients, a good upper denture stays in place without any adhesive. Keeping a good lower denture in place, however, is more of a balancing act. Gravity, the placement of your tongue, and distribution of your food when chewing all play important roles in holding your dentures in place while eating.

You’ll receive immediate dentures on the same day your teeth come out, so you’ll be able to chew and smile again from day one! You’ll wear your immediates during the healing phase from tooth removal until you’re completely healed.

After complete healing, we make a second, final set of dentures you get to visually approve before they are finished for the highest possible esthetics. Your immediates become your “backups” in case of fracture accidents, future lab relines, or any other issue.

Have more questions about bridgework, partial, or full dentures? We can answer all your questions at our Winston Salem dental office.

Your comfort comes first here at Distinctively Dental, let us show you how.