While dentures are usually a last resort, sometimes a denture is the right choice. Sometimes the cost of fixing many teeth is too great, even if the teeth are fixable. At other times, the teeth may not be fixable due to tooth decay or gum disease. In our Charlotte dentist office, we work hard to help people avoid dentures, including LANAP to stop gum disease. If it’s time for dentures, we don’t just give people a “plate,” though – we give people their smile back!
What makes a denture look natural and real?
If you have ever seen a patient with a denture, you know that a lot of dentures LOOK LIKE dentures – they don’t look like real teeth. Is that really something you want? Do you want everyone to know you have dentures? Or do you want people to simply think that you have a great smile and never even know that your teeth aren’t real?
If you don’t care if everyone knows you have “falsies,” then you don’t want to come see us. If what you want is a SMILE that looks like a smile and not like a “plate,” then we’re the place for you. But what makes our Smile Design Dentures different? What makes them look like a real smile and not like Chicklets?
Most of it comes down to the quality of the materials used. The rest of it comes down to the time that we spend talking to you about your expectations, then making sure that we meet them.
- Premium teeth vs. cheap teeth: there is a HUGE difference in how high-end teeth look compared to bargain-basement ones. Cheap ones have no shine, look “flat,” are square, and are usually lined up almost too perfectly, which is not really natural.
- Premium acrylic bases with natural pigments vs. cheap acrylic: look at the “gums” of cheap dentures, and it’s pretty much impossible not to notice them, right? They’re super-bright pink, are pretty shiny, very polished-looking (ever see a person with polished shiny gums? Yeah, I didn’t think so. 🙂 ), and just look fake. But Smile Design dentures don’t look like that – they have natural-looking texture, pigmentation, and don’t have that shine.
- Customized tooth arrangements: on cheap dentures, the teeth are lined up totally even, which is not how real teeth look. For Smile Design dentures, you get to pick exactly how you want your teeth to look, including any little “imperfections,” which actually make a denture look more natural – rotate 1-2 teeth slightly – leave a little gap between some teeth – have the teeth slightly uneven. It’s one of those weird little things – by making the denture less perfect, we actually make the denture look far more natural-looking.
Smile Design Dentures Custom-Made for You
There are basically 4 kinds of dentures:
- “Immediate” Dentures – if you still have a bunch of teeth to come out, and you want teeth right away, this is how we do it. Step one is to take molds of your teeth, choose the color and shape and size of your new teeth, send that to the lab for the denture to be made, and when you come in to have the teeth removed, we put in the denture that day. Quite literally – you walk out that day with your smile in place, that’s why they’re “immediate.”
- “Regular” Dentures – if you are already missing your teeth, whether you have a denture now or not, and you need one. This process takes a bit longer, usually 4-6 weeks (we do our best to make it faster, but to get it right, sometimes it takes this long), and 3-5 appointments.
- “Implant-Supported” Dentures – honestly, lower dentures suck, because they don’t have as much to support them. They move around, fall out, etc (see the YouTube video of the skydiving granny who loses her denture). BUT….if you put in dental implants, we can attach the dentures so they’re WAY more secure!
- Partial Dentures – for patients who still have some good teeth but find multiple implants and crowns too expensive, we can make partial dentures. These come in 2 flavors:
- one has a base made only of acrylic, these are less expensive, usually a little flexible, and are generally less comfortable.
- one with a metal framework, or substructure, which is covered with acrylic. These are much stronger and longer lasting and are usually more comfortable, but of course, they’re more expensive.
Kinds of Implant-Supported Dentures
There are 3 types of restorations that we can put on top of dental implants. The first 2 kinds described below are made of the same beautiful denture teeth and acrylic described above; the 3rd kind is actually a bridge, and it’s made of porcelain over metal or a super-strong ceramic called Zirconia.
“Snap-On” Dentures with Locator attachments:
On the lower jaw, this can be done with just 2 implants, although 3 or 4 will give you even more security and peace of mind. On the upper jaw, we always need 4 implants to do this. Once the implants have healed, we screw attachments called “Locators” onto the top of the implants. They’re like a ball-and-socket, so the ball on top of the implant snaps into the socket that’s inside the denture. They’re nice and snug and will keep the dentures from falling out, but you do still have to be careful when biting into things with your front teeth. The socket pieces inside the denture usually need to be replaced every 6-12 months, depending on how tough you are on them. And yes, you should take these out at night.
“Screw-on” Dentures, aka All-on-4, aka Fixed Hybrids
Don’t worry about the terminology so much, but the main differences here are: 1) 4 implants are needed on the upper or lower no matter what. 2 implants are put in straight, while 2 are at a steep angle, which creates a kind of tension so we can actually use screws to attach the denture. This means that only a dentist can remove it, and you leave it in full-time. These are so strong, you can bite into anything you want with your front teeth and chew anything you want with confidence.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridges
Beautiful, Secure Dentures to Chew, Talk & Smile Confidently!
In the end, our goal is to provide you with a new set of teeth, whether secured by implants or not. If this is what you’re seeking, please give us a call 704-364-7069 or send us a request for a consultation today by the form below. We’ll have a new Before/After Gallery of Dentures up soon, too!