More than 70% of Portuguese are missing teeth, according data from the National Oral Health Barometer drawn up by independent consultancy QSP for the Portuguese Dental Association. The percentage is considerable and leads us to conclude that you may be reading this article on fixed and removable dental prostheses precisely because you are part of the group of people who urgently need to solve their mouth aesthetic problems and recover speech and chewing function.
Are we right? Then come and learn more about the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of these two options!
Fixed versus removable dental prostheses: what is the difference?
Although the dental prostheses have the same purpose – to restore chewing function and smile aesthetics – the truth is that there are two major categories: fixed dental prostheses and removable dental prostheses. How are they differentiated? Well, fixed dental prostheses or dentures are placed on natural teeth or dental implants and cannot be removed by the patient. They aim to partially or fully restore the crown of one or more teeth or even compensate for the absence of one or more teeth.
Removable dental prostheses, on the other hand, can be easily removed by the patient. This does not mean that they are unstable inside the patient’s mouth (because they are supported on the remaining natural teeth or directly on the gums), but they can and should come out for cleaning and oral hygiene.
Main types of fixed dental prostheses
There are several types of fixed dental prosthesis, starting with the crown which is a very common fixed prosthesis that completely covers a damaged tooth and is used to restore fractured or repeatedly restored teeth.
The so-called fixed bridge, is another type of dental prosthesis that replaces one or more missing teeth by means of dental crowns on the teeth adjacent to the empty spaces, hence the name “bridge”.
Then there are the fixed dental prostheses on implants which also replace one or more missing teeth, but which are attached to dental implants, and also the porcelain veneers which, although not dental prostheses, are fixed options to improve the aesthetics of a smile, made with thin layers of porcelain, customised and cemented onto the front of the patient’s teeth to correct aesthetic problems.
Main types of removable dental prosthesis
Do you know that total prosthesis we call dentures? It is one of the main types of removable dental prosthesis, used to replace missing natural teeth in one or both dental arches. This prosthesis is supported directly on the gum and held in place by suction and adherence to the oral mucosa. However, when the patient has only lost some teeth and prefers to place a removable prosthesis, he can opt for a partial denture supported by the natural teeth through metal clips.
The overdenture is another type of removable prosthesis, in this case supported by dental implants and can be used to replace all the teeth or only some of the teeth.
And the list of the main types of removable dental prosthesis also includes the immediate prosthesis, which, as the name indicates, is placed immediately after the extraction of the natural teeth so that the patient is not left without replacement teeth for a single day.
Advantages of fixed dental prostheses over removable ones
- Greater comfort, stability and safety.
- More appealing aesthetics, no visible metal clips!
- Return of chewing ability more effectively, because the fixed prostheses do not move during feeding.
Disadvantages of fixed dental prostheses versus removable ones
- Higher price, due to the materials, the manufacturing process and the need to prepare the adjacent teeth.
- More difficult to clean.
- Wear of natural teeth.
Advantages of removable dental prostheses compared with fixed prostheses
- Lower cost.
- More efficient cleaning.
Disadvantages of removable dental prostheses versus fixed prostheses
- Insecurity because the prosthesis can come loose while the patient is talking or eating, for example.
- Reduced chewing capacity.
- Less appealing aesthetics.
- Need for frequent adjustments to ensure a proper fit due to changes in bone and gum structure.
Hygiene care with fixed and removable prostheses
Any type of denture requires hygiene care, but while patients with fixed dentures have to brush and floss regularly and directly on the denture (and natural teeth), patients with removable dentures, take the denture off to sanitize and put it back on. Otherwise, regular visits to the dentist are essential to assess the condition of the denture and overall oral health.
Removable or fixed prosthesis: which is the best solution?
Costs aside, the best solution is always the one that corrects your problem according to your expectations in terms of aesthetics, safety and comfort. Even so, it is necessary to make an appointment with a dentist to validate the desired treatment and who knows, get to know other effective solutions to replace natural teeth.
If you live in the Algarve
Click here and schedule an evaluation appointment at Orallagos dental clinic now! We have a large group of qualified dentists to assess your specific needs and determine which type of dentures are best suited to restore chewing function… and give you back the aesthetics of your smile!