Simply put, upper dentures are dentures that replace missing teeth in your upper jaw. If your denturist has given you a thorough oral examination and pronounced your lower dentition in good shape, but you have teeth in your upper dental ridge that are either already gone or in need of removal, then upper dentures may be all you require.
Upper dentures are available in many types to suit your denture needs. Let's start with a basic overview.
First of all, how many teeth will your upper denture need to replace? An upper denture can be manufactured to replace one or more missing teeth. This would be the difference between a partial, and a full standard denture.
A standard full upper denture is constructed of a pink denture base that stretches across the entire palate, or roof of the mouth. Teeth are set into this denture and are precisely positioned to align with teeth in the lower jaw. It is necessary to have a full base with this type of denture in order to achieve enough suction to provide stability. Otherwise, the denture will tend to move around, making speech and eating difficult. Sometimes a denture adhesive product may be necessary to provide extra grip.
A partial upper plate, also referred to as a bridge, does not require suction to the mouth roof for stability. These dentures typically use a clip system to attach them to the remaining teeth they will be filling in between. A precise fit will still provide some suction to the dental ridge. Partial upper dentures can also be permanently bonded to the remaining teeth. Crowns will usually be placed on these abutment teeth in order to strengthen the whole structure, giving the denture a firm permanent placement.
Some people find they cannot tolerate a full upper denture. The base over the palate may produce a gagging sensation, rendering the denture unwearable. Modifications may help this situation. The easiest solution would be to cut away a section from the back of the denture base a little at a time. This would determine how much base is still needed for suction, and exactly how much base an individual can tolerate.
If there is no happy medium to be reached, then denture implants should be considered an option. Small titanium rods can be implanted into the dental ridge in order to mount the upper denture. The full palate denture base is no longer needed for suction and can be completely removed, leaving a base that rests snugly against the gum ridge. There is an additional benefit. Now that the palate is exposed, it's possible to taste the full flavor of food again.
Your denture professional has the knowledge and expertise to guide you to an upper denture that is just right for you.