If you are facing the loss of all your upper teeth, you have a decision to make. You can decide to maintain your lower teeth and only get your upper teeth removed, or you can decide that you want to have both arches removed and replaced with dentures.

Set of denture molds

It is possible to have single arch dentures , but they’re not always advised because there can be many challenges in getting them to work properly.

Benefits of Keeping Your Lower Teeth

There are many reasons why you might want to keep your lower teeth. First, they’re your teeth. Losing teeth can be a traumatic experience, and to many people the notion of losing all their teeth makes the situation much, much worse. Retaining some of your natural teeth can soften the emotional blow, and help you maintain some of your confidence and sense of self.

It can also be economical to retain your lower teeth. You won’t have to pay for additional extraction procedures and the potential to replace your teeth with implant dentures. This is no small consideration, and if it makes the difference in your being able to afford quality implant dentures for your top teeth, it can definitely be worth it.

Challenges of Single Arch Dentures

The problem with single arch dentures is that it creates a mismatch between the two jaws in terms of biting and chewing. This can be bad for both jaws.

If you have traditional dentures on the top and your natural teeth on the bottom, your lower teeth can push too hard on the upper jaw. The lower teeth are anchored in the bones while the upper teeth are just resting on the gum tissue. In this situation, the excessive pressure can speed bone loss under the upper denture. The result will be that your dentures will need to be refitted often. Sometimes resorption is so bad, you won’t be able to wear dentures anymore.

Dental implants help with this, but they can also be damaged by excessive pressure. The pressure can lead to bone loss around the implants , leading to implant failure.

This can also be bad for your retained lower teeth. Without adequate pressure against them, the lower teeth might begin to emerge more from your jaw, known as super eruption. When this occurs, your lower teeth will lose some of their stability and be more vulnerable to loss.

Wear can also be a problem on both sides. Acrylic teeth are too soft for meeting natural teeth, and will be worn away. On the other hand, some ceramic teeth might be too hard for your natural teeth.

Making It Work

But it is possible to make this situation work out well. First, we have to do a careful assessment to be sure whether you are well-suited to this type of restoration. If you’re not a good candidate, this type of approach can do more harm than good, so we’ll be sure before we decide to proceed.

Next, we will perform careful measurements of your bite to ensure that we’re balancing forces between the natural teeth and your dentures. This will preserve the health of your gums, bones, and natural teeth.

Finally, we will select materials with care to ensure we have a good match between your natural and artificial teeth not just in terms of function, but also appearance.

If you want to learn whether single-arch dentures are right for you, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC denture dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.