Multiple options are available in the case of a toothless jaw. Many people tend to lose their teeth when they grow old due to periodontitis, which calls for a replacement – frequently in the form of a prosthesis, commonly and lovingly referred to as the “third teeth“. However, there are also other situations in which natural teeth can be missing or impaired in terms of their most important functions. In cases of toothlessness, a removable denture in the form of a prosthesis may very well constitute a reasonable solution.
Synthetic materials are frequently applied in these types of situations, but there are also alternatives: For instance, a dental prosthesis consisting of synthetic material and exhibiting holding devices made of wire represents a typical inexpensive option. Similarly to the procedure involving a sessile denture, a molding of all teeth is performed, followed by the production of the prosthesis in the lab.
The dental prosthesis must be worn continually, even when feeling strange in one’s mouth at first. Whenever the gap remains open for any longer period of time, neighboring teeth may change their position and chewing or eating may be corrupted.
Depending on the degree of toothlessness, multiple different forms of dental prostheses can be distinguished.
The full prosthesis or total prosthesis, commonly just referred to as “(false) teeth“, replaces a completely toothless upper or lower jaw. It enables the patient to partake in public life in a self-determined way. Ample grip is key: A dentist or dental technician can make adjustments wherever necessary.
Whenever the patient still has healthy teeth, a partial prosthesis is in order as it merely replaces part of the row of teeth. This way, the front part of the palate can remain free, i.e. sense of taste and natural pronunciation are hardly affected.
The clasp prosthesis is a particular form of partial prosthesis: In this case, the denture is attached to the existing teeth by means of a clasp. This type of treatment is uncomplicated in terms of manufacturing and therefore inexpensive and subsequently extendable. Unfortunately, clasp prostheses do not tend to last for very long and can therefore damage the clasped teeth actually meant to provide secure grip. In addition, the clasps are frequently visible from the outside.
Telescope Prosthesis / Attachment Prosthesis / Bar Prosthesis
Prostheses can also consist of removable components firmly embedded in the jaw. Strictly speaking, they are then to be attributed to the so-called combined dentures. Telescope prostheses, attachment prostheses, and bar prostheses all belong to this group, yet differing from each other in terms of their respective connecting elements.
The telescope prosthesis is held by means of telescope crowns, one of which is solidly placed on the tooth, while the other is firmly incorporated into the prosthesis. These elements can slide into one another and adhere by means of friction and wedging, ultimately resulting in a remarkably stable grip. Telescope prostheses can be extended at a later point in time or combined with implants and are easy to clean. They are frequently made use of for these reasons, however, unfortunately they tend to be on the expensive side and must be distinguished from natural teeth due to their complex construction.
An attachment prosthesis is characterized by a debris holding the prosthesis close to the natural teeth. The “mattress“ sits on top of the crown while the “partize“ (?) is connected to the prosthesis. Telescoped, these two parts adhere to one another. This type of treatment tends to be cost-intensive as well, however, in contrast to the telescope prosthesis, the attachment prosthesis is not as easy to clean or to extend.
When applying a bar prosthesis, two to four implants are placed and subsequently connected with a bar consisting of thin metal rods which provides the necessary support for the removable, immediately loadable prosthesis. Similarly to the attachment prosthesis, the bar prosthesis is not easy to clean and yet rather expensive. On the other hand, this type of prosthesis can be repaired and extended easily and is considered to be a reliable type of care particularly due to its solid grip.
The interim prosthesis seals the gap for the period of time until the final prosthesis has been produced in the lab. This enables the dentist to gain time for wound healing and regeneration of the alveolar crest, which is inevitable for the period after the tooth has been removed. Interim prostheses usually consist of synthetic material, are attached by means of wire clamps and hold for some weeks or even a couple of months.