When it comes to dental treatment, permanent dental work isn't always an option -- imagine wearing an orthodontic retainer or a night guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week! Or not being able to remove your dentures for cleaning. In these cases, removable dental appliances may be a better choice.
There are many different types of removable dental appliances, covering a wide range of products and services. Removable dental appliances are used to restore and protect your teeth, as well as to keep them from shifting out of place. Some removable dental appliances are used solely for cosmetic purposes.
Removable dental appliances are often used to replace missing teeth. It's incredibly important to restore missing teeth as they can cause your existing teeth to shift and lead to bite problems, speech impediments and bone loss. There are several types of removable dental restorations:
Flexible Partial Dentures -- Flexible partial dentures use a flexible base to adjust to the movements of your mouth. Flexible partial dentures don't contain the metal found in traditional partial dentures and provide a better fit to feel more like your natural teeth.
Full Dentures -- If you've lost all your teeth, full dentures are needed to restore basic mouth functions and slow down bone loss. Full dentures have been around for many years but have seen some changes recently. Removable dentures can now be secured with magnets attached to dental implants to help keep them in place.
You'd be amazed by how much wear and tear your teeth go through in a lifetime. Although our teeth are strong enough to tear food, they're still susceptible to tooth erosion, chipping and breakage. There are several types of mouthguards designed for protection and other corrective treatments:
Mouthguard -- A mouthguard protects your teeth during sports activities. Mouthguards cushion your teeth against force helping prevent broken teeth, knocked-out teeth or other injuries. Mouthguards can be purchased over-the-counter; for a better fit and more protection, a custom-fit mouthguard is recommended.
Night Guard -- Like a mouthguard, a night guard is a removable dental appliance that covers the surface of your teeth. The major difference is that a night guard is worn at night to protect from bruxism (teeth grinding), which can wear teeth down and cause trauma to the jaw.
Snoring Devices -- Some night guards, such as the Silent Nite® device, can help prevent snoring. These removable oral appliances reposition your jaw or tongue to open the airway and reduce the soft tissue vibrations that causes snoring. Although snoring devices aren't necessarily designed to protect your teeth, you won't have to worry about nighttime bruxism while you're wearing one.
Tongue Thrust Dental Guard -- Severe tongue thrusting may require an oral appliance to block the tongue from putting pressure on the front teeth, which can cause them to shift.
Removable Orthodontic Appliances
The following removable dental appliances are designed to help preserve orthodontic work (or completely prevent the need for braces altogether).
Orthodontic Retainers -- Removable orthodontic retainers are a standard post-treatment option following the removal of orthodontic braces. Most orthodontic retainers are removable for eating and cleaning, but they should be worn as much as possible to maintain the structure of your newly formed smile.
Removable Space Maintainer -- Premature tooth loss in children can cause multiple problems in their development. Besides the usual trouble with eating and speaking, a gap can allow the other existing baby teeth to shift, blocking the path of the permanent teeth forming below it and causing a malocclusion. Removable space maintainers keep teeth from moving when a child loses a tooth too early.
Removable Dental Appliance Care
Just like your teeth, your removable dental appliance requires daily care and professional dental maintenance. Removable oral appliances are susceptible to dental calculus buildup, staining and breakage -- but proper care can enhance the life of your appliance. Care will vary from appliance to appliance so ask your dentist about dental care guidelines for your apparatus.
Many dentists can provide you with any of the removable oral appliances listed above. If you're interested in a removable dental appliance, talk to your dentist or call us at