Lower Dentures - A Special Case
If you should loose all your teeth you'd want to get a complete set of upper and lower dentures, or get a partial set if you still have some or most of your teeth, but not enough to support bridgework. You might naturally think that dentures are dentures, whether they are full or partial, and there's not all that much difference between upper and lower dentures expect for a small matter of shape.
The Lowers Are The Problem - If there is a difference, it might be reasonable to assume that lower dentures would be less of a problem, as they would for the most part be held in place by gravity, while the uppers need either clamps or adhesives to keep them from dropping into your bowl of soup. The truth is, lower dentures are much more difficult to fit, plus keeping them in place is actually more of a challenge than it is with uppers. Upper dentures are kept in place largely by the suction created when they're held against the roof of the mouth. We can't use suction to keep the lower dentures in place because the tongue gets in the way. The lowers have to be kept in place by the tongue and the muscles in our mouths and lips. Chances are, if a person wearing a full set of dentures has the uppers or lowers fall into his soup, the odds are greatest that it will be the lower dentures.
One way around the problem is to only wear upper dentures except when eating or in social situations, and many people have actually done just that. Going to that extreme is no longer necessary due to the introduction of implants. Many people have individual teeth replaced with a false tooth that is anchored to an implant, which in turn is anchored to the jawbone. One can have a single tooth, several teeth, or a whole set of teeth replaced this way, one implant at a time, though in the latter instance it would become very expensive to do so. Should a tooth wear down after a few years, it can simply be removed from the implant, which stays in place, and a new tooth inserted.
Dentures, including lower dentures, can also be help in place with implants. These are called mini-implants, which do not involve the lengthy and expensive procedure regular implants take, and the dentures can be attached to the implants immediately.
Mouths And Feet Change - So, you have your lower dentures, partial or full, and you're set for life, assuming and remaining permanent teeth don't continue to cause problems. Unfortunately, that's not quite the case. As we age, the shape of our face, and the shape of the bones as well as the tissue in our jaw, changes somewhat. Over time, the lower dentures will start to become less snugly held in place, and eventually will become ill-fitting. Even if they are held in place by mini-implants, they still fit less and less well over time. It's like having a pair of indestructible shoes. As we get older, our feet get bigger, and the indestructible shoes, while still perfectly serviceable, become uncomfortable to wear. There's a time for new shoes and a time for new dentures.
Will That Be Porcelain Or Plastic? - One other thing to be aware of when it comes to lower dentures, although this applies equally to upper dentures, has to do with the material the artificial teeth are made of. This can be porcelain or plastic. The obvious choice would seem to be porcelain, which as anyone knows, will far outlast plastic. The problem with porcelain is the way in which the tooth is attached to the rest of the denture, which deteriorates over time, while the teeth themselves do not. Eventually porcelain teeth may start popping out. Plastic teeth don't have this problem. Plastic teeth will wear, but that only tells you when its time to get new plastic teeth, and have the fit of your denture examined. Another problem with porcelain teeth is they can wear down permanent teeth if they make contact, eventually creating a need for yet another false tooth.