Removable Prosthodontics is the prosthetic branch including the construction and insertion of complete dentures, partial dentures and overdentures on teeth or implants.
Full (complete) dentures are removable prostheses manufactured for patients who have lost all of their natural teeth, on one or both jaws. Patients who have lost all of their teeth are called edentulous patients while patients who have lost some of their teeth are called partially edentulous. Edentulous patients often receive full dentures to feel better by chewing and speaking and look better. Full dentures consist of an acrylic base (simulating gums) and acrylic teeth, which are mounted on this base. In most cases on the upper jaw the retention of a full denture is good because of the quantity of bone offered on the upper jaw in comparison to the lower jaw. At the lower jaw dentures are possible to offer as a solution to edentulous patients too but they often appear with a problem of retention. The problem is that most of the times the bone at the lower jaw is too thin or not high enough to support a denture with good retention. In these cases it is advisable to place two or four implants and provide the patient with an overdenture. An overdenture on two-four implants on the lower jaw can highly increase retention of a full denture and improve quality of life for the edentulous patient.
An overdenture is actually a conventional full denture, but in this case full denture “wedges” on natural teeth or implants. When teeth are used they need to be prepared before the final placement of an overdenture (e.g root canal treatments or simple tooth preparations). The advantages of an overdenture is not only their high retention but also the fact that patients get used to them much fasted due to their smaller volume in the oral cavity in comparison to conventional full dentures. Overdentures are an ideal and cheaper alternative option of restorations to rehabilitate edentulous patients and provide them with good chewing, biting abilities and also a good appearance.
A partial denture is a also another kind of removable prosthesis, made for partially edentulous patients on one or both jaws. It consists of a metal base (metal frame) coated with acrylic, on which acrylic teeth are mounted and held in place by metal clasps or precision attachments on the remaining teeth of the patient. Partial dentures have better retention when compared to full dentures but have a lower retention in comparison to other solutions provided by the Fixed Prosthodontics branch with bridges or solutions of Dental Implants. Their advantage is that they can be manufactured easier and are sometimes cheaper as a solution for partially edentulous patients.
All restorations belonging to Removable Prosthodontics can be removed from the mouth as they are not permanently cemented. They have to be removed at least once a day by the patient and cleaned thoroughly. Because acrylic containing dentures can cause problems such as mucositis or oral candidiasis patients are advised to sleep without their dentures to let gums “breathe” free from acrylic coverage.