Dr. Jay Lopez not only enjoys customization of the highest quality dentures, but he also has studied advanced, in-depth denture procedures and has expertise and experience in a wide range of treatments for patients with missing teeth.
Dentures are appliances that are made to replace a person’s missing teeth. They can restore your function and even improve your smile. Today’s custom fabricated dentures are nearly undetectable. A “full” denture is used when all the teeth are missing on the upper or lower arch. A “partial” denture is used when only some of the teeth are missing. And, today, there are treatment options that include dental implants for better-than-ever long-lasting results.
Different Types of Dentures
Full Dentures are made of an acrylic plastic base that is colored to look like gum tissue, and they support a full set of prosthetic teeth. Traditionally, a full denture is held in the mouth by forming a seal with the gums, but today full dentures can be supported on dental implants that are surgically placed in the jawbone. This provides for more stability.
Partial Dentures are typically made with an acrylic plastic base that is colored to look like natural gum tissue and will support the number of teeth that need to be replaced. Partial dentures are held in the mouth by using clasps and rests that are attached to the adjacent natural teeth. The partial denture that uses a metal framework is the traditional design, due to the rigidity and strength of the metal. Today, there are multiple materials (including flexible Valplast) and forms of partial dentures, but all partial dentures attach to adjacent teeth and have a gum-colored portion meant to blend into the existing gum tissue. Partial dentures are removable by the patient for cleaning.
Combination Partial Dentures are made to show as little metal as possible. The clasps are designed in flexible, clear, tooth colored or pink acrylic to minimize their appearance.
Implant Supported Dentures are full or partial dentures snapped into place on implants surgically placed in your jaw. They can be removed at night for cleaning. There are two types of implant-supported dentures—locator retained and bar retained. In the Bar-Retained type of denture, three or more implants are surgically placed in the gums. Attached to these implants is a metal bar that runs along the gum line. The denture then rests on the metal bar and is attached using clips or other types of attachments. In the Locator-Retained type, a locator abutment and retention cap are used to attach the denture to each implant.
Mini Implants often can be used with full or partial implant-supported dentures as an interim treatment. Each miniature implant acts like a tooth root. Dr. Lopez can quickly and easily insert the mini implants using local anesthesia or sedation to help make you more comfortable. This is a one-step procedure that involves minimally invasive surgery. After impressions of your mouth are made and Dr. Lopez designs the denture with the lab, the placement of the mini implants and attachment of a custom denture can be achieved in one day
Hybrid (All-on-4) Dentures are a fixed alternative to full dentures. They are called “All-on-4” because edentulous patients can have upper and lower dentures fixed on as few as 4 dental implants in each jaw. A hybrid denture can also be fixed on just one jaw, depending on the needs and desire of the patient. This is an especially desirable type of denture for the lower jaw where a traditional full denture has less adhesion and the tongue easily dislodges it.
A benefit of hybrid dentures, compared to traditional dentures, is the reduction of bone loss where the implants are placed, making the procedure more successful in the long run and helping to preserve facial structural integrity. Many times, bone enhancement procedures such as a sinus lift or alveolar bone graft are not needed prior to all-on-4 treatment. After digital scans have been completed and a CBCT obtained, Dr. Lopez will design your hybrid denture with the lab, plan the placement of your implants, and schedule you for your treatment to be achieved all in one day.
Immediate Dentures are interim dentures that can be worn while your bone and gum tissues heal after tooth extraction. The bone and gums remodel and shrink during the healing phase. If the definitive dentures are fabricated at the time of tooth extraction, they will not fit and be loose several months post-extraction of the teeth. Dr. Lopez will discuss the possibility of this option with you.
The Denture Treatment Process
When the jawbone and gum are stable, Dr. Lopez takes an impression of the oral tissues that will support the denture. His dental lab creates a model of your mouth and fabricates your custom denture to ensure proper fit and occlusion (how your teeth will come together when you chew, bite and speak). But, before the definitive denture is created, a wax-up model is made of your mouth and denture(s) to determine the optimal position of your jaw and teeth. And, a trial denture is created and tried in your mouth to evaluate its fit, comfort, occlusal function, and esthetics. This can be adjusted by Dr. Lopez and the lab before your final denture or dentures are made of the highest quality materials. After the final denture(s) are inserted in your mouth, the occlusion is checked and modified if necessary. A proper occlusion (the way the teeth come together) will ensure comfort and longevity.
In the case of a partial denture, you may want to consider whitening your natural teeth in order to select whiter partial denture teeth. You then can do touch up whitening over time to maintain a harmonious gradation of preferred color in your smile.
Dr. Lopez uses a top U.S. based dental lab and insists on the latest, highest quality dental materials, ensuring the most beautiful esthetics and long-lasting function.
Care for Your Denture
You will be given detailed instructions on what to expect and do as you get used to wearing your denture, and how to clean and maintain your denture. Dr. Lopez will have you return to our office soon after placement of your denture to evaluate if any adjustments are needed for comfort.
Adjusting to a Removable Denture
One of the first things you may notice is that you have increased saliva production. This will gradually go back to normal over a period of days as you wear your denture.
Removable dentures are generally worn during the day and taken out at night to give the oral tissues time to relax, but during the first few days after receiving the denture, it is best to keep it in the mouth while sleeping in order for Dr. Lopez to identify areas that need modification. This is especially important if you are given an immediate (temporary) denture after teeth extraction. The gum tissues will swell as part of the natural healing process, and you might not be able to reinsert the denture if you take it out. Dr. Lopez will provide instructions for your unique circumstances during this initial period of a few days.
You will quickly learn how to insert and take out your denture for cleaning and while you sleep. You also will quickly learn to eat with your denture. We recommend starting with soft foods and chewing food equally on both sides of the mouth. Slowly introduce more solid foods and avoid chewy or sticky foods. Once your cheeks and tongue get used to the denture, they will begin to automatically help keep the denture in place.
Speaking requires a little practice but you will easily get the hang of it. If you find it is coming loose frequently, for example, when you yawn and laugh, you should return for Dr. Lopez to evaluate if it can be adjusted.
A small amount of denture adhesive (also called “denture cream”) can be applied evenly to the clean surface of a denture to “paste” it to the palate of the mouth. Various denture adhesives are available over the counter at your drug store and supermarket. Although a cream may add some stability, if your denture is not fitting properly, you should not delay seeing Dr. Lopez until your next regular checkup. Call him for a more immediate appointment.
Wearing a Fixed Hybrid Denture Retained on Implants
If you have a hybrid overdenture that is permanently attached on dental implants, only a dentist will be able to remove it. You will wear it 24 hours a day and clean your denture just like you do natural teeth with a Waterpik, brushing and rinsing. Because it is totally stable and does not cover the entire palate of the mouth, you will find eating more enjoyable. The strength of your bite will enable you to eat all the food you enjoy. Because it never slips or becomes dislodged, you will smile, laugh, talk and eat with confidence. Dr. Lopez is known for doing the highest quality dentistry, including the most naturally beautiful aesthetic dentures that predictably last, so whether you choose a conventional denture, an implant-assisted denture, or a fixed hybrid denture, you can be assured of quality.
If you choose to have an implant-assisted denture or hybrid denture fixed on implants, Dr. Lopez will perform all oral surgery and restorative procedures you need. It will not be necessary to go outside our practice for different stages of treatment. It is very unique to have all stages of treatment performed by one clinician, including IV sedation. If you have a dental benefits plan, your plan may cover some of the cost of dentures. Speak to our administrative staff about financing options. We are pleased to offer CareCredit extended payment plans and Lending Club Patient Solutions. The application process is fast and easy.
Dr. Jay Lopez offers a complimentary initial consultation appointment, so you can learn what is possible for your circumstances, ask questions, discuss your concerns and desires, and learn the relative costs of the various options that are most appropriate for you.
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