Any missing tooth should be replaced as soon as possible to:
- better share the stress of mastication
- avoid tooth migration
- help with diction.
When the number of missing teeth becomes more significant, we can use different types of prostheses (fixed or removable, partial or complete) to restore function.
A complete denture is used in a toothless mouth and therefore is supported by the gums and underlying bone. Its retention is done through a suction allowed by a perfect adaptation of the contour of the device. This perfect adaptation cannot be maintained for a long period of time because of the changes in the gums and bone, which is why it is important to change prostheses every 5 to 7 years.
Another option is the prosthesis on implant which allows greater stability since the retention is provided by fixed structures. The prosthesis can be fixed, removable, on retention balls, on a screwed or clipped bar, teeth can be made of acrylic or porcelain. The comfort level desired by the patient and their budget will lead us to the appropriate options.
There are two kinds of removable partial dentures: with or without metal support. The prosthesis with a metal skeleton is supported and retained by the remaining teeth to provide better stability. The prosthesis without a metal skeleton is supported by the gum, which offers less stability and greater gingival irritation. To resist the forces of mastication, the denture that does not have a metal support will be much thicker and may compromise the patient’s comfort. Of course, the prosthesis with a metal skeleton is more expensive.