Transitional Dentures: What are they?

One of the most difficult transitions patients have to make is going from their natural teeth to dentures.  Most of the problems arise from the fact that the dentures sit on top of the gum tissue and do not have anchorage in the bone, like the natural teeth do, for stabilization.  Another problem is that there is no biofeedback from the teeth and gum tissue like there is with the natural teeth.

One way to preserve some to the biofeedback and stability is by saving unbroken and non-decayed teeth and placing a transitional denture.  Transitional dentures are used to bridge the time between having a full set of natural teeth to having none and placing a denture.  Prior to construction of a transitional denture, all broken and severely decayed teeth are extracted and the bone and tissue are allowed to heal.  Then an impression is taken and a resin based partial denture is constructed around and is supported by the remaining teeth.  The final step is placement and adjustment of the transitional denture.

The advantages of a transitional denture are: 1)  It allows the remaining teeth to help stabilize the denture and maintain the biofeedback from the gum tissue and teeth, 2)  It allows the patient time to get used to having a denture-like experience without having to have all their teeth missing.  This allows them to get used to eating and talking with the transitional denture while still having some of their natural teeth to help with the adjustment, 3)  If additional teeth need to be extracted, they can easily be added onto the transitional denture until it is deemed necessary to go to a complete denture.

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