Dentures, also known as false teeth, are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth, and which are supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Conventional dentures are removable; however there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth or dental implants. There are two main categories of dentures, depending on whether they are used to replace missing teeth on the mandibular arch or the maxillary arch.


Complete dentures can be either "conventional" or "immediate." Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.


A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw.


Dentures are removable pre-fabricated teeth that can replace missing teeth and help restore your smile. If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay or injury, replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. That’s because dentures make it easier to eat and speak better than you could do without teeth. Basically, a denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues.

So, when does one need to get dentures? The obvious answer is when one has lost his/her teeth, may be due to old age or due to gums diseases or perhaps because of an accident. When you lose all of your teeth, facial muscles can sag, making you look older. Dentures are helpful in filling out the appearance of face and profile. They can be made to closely resemble natural teeth so that the appearance does not changes much.

How are dentures made and what are they made out of?

The denture design and development process take a few weeks and several appointments. Once your prosthodontist (a dentist specializing in the restoration and replacement of teeth) examines what type of appliance is best to fit in order to give a natural feel of teeth, the general steps taken by a dentist are as follows:

  1. Going through extensive tests and taking several scans and X-rays to establish a structure.
  2. Making several impressions of your jaw and taking several measurements of how jaws relate to one another, while fitting in the space between them.
  3. Once the structure and impressions are taken, casts and models are created either from wax, and/or plastic in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. The patient has to try this model several times and the dentist examines the denture for its color, shape, and fit before the final denture is cast
  4. Finally, after examining the denture model a final product is made from - Acrylic-resin, modified acrylic-resins, porcelain and composite-resins. Acrylic teeth are commonly used because they are not easily fractured or broken.

There are basically two types of dentures available – complete dentures and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.

Complete Denture are also of two types, conventional or immediate.

Conventional dentures are made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.

Whereas, immediate dentures are made in advance and could be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. This leads to the wearer enjoying the comfort of teeth even during the healing period. Now during the healing period, the bones and the gums relaxes and changes in forms as they heal and thus shrinks in size. Therefore, a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and therefore it is advisable to consider it as a temporary solution until conventional dentures are made.

Partial Denture

A removable partial denture (also called bridge) consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is most of the times connected by a metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when the patient has one or more natural teeth remaining in the upper or the lower jaw.

A fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. The bridge is then cemented into the place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural-looking appliance.

Also called, Overdenture sometimes some of the teeth can be saved to preserve the jawbone and provide stability and support for the denture. An overdenture fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth after they have been prepared by the prosthodontist. Implants also serves the same functions.

How to clean dentures? Is it same as cleaning natural teeth?

While using dentures, one has to practice good dental hygiene. Brushing gums, tongue and roof of mouth every morning with a soft-bristled brush before inserting dentures to stimulate circulation in tissues and removing plaque. Like teeth, dentures should be brushed daily to remove food particles and plaque. Brushing also can help keep the teeth away from staining.

  • Rinse dentures before brushing to remove any food particles stuck.
  • Brush the denture gently using soft bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleanser so they don't get scratched.
  • When brushing, clean the mouth thoroughly - including gums, cheeks, roof of the mouth and tongue to remove any plaque. This is helpful in reducing the risk of oral irritation and bad breath.
  • When not wearing the dentures, put them in a safe place covered in water to keep them from warping.
  • Occasionally, denture wearers use adhesives. Adhesives come in different forms- creams, powders, strips or liquids. Therefore, it is advised to properly clean the adhesive and use it after consulting the doctor.

How to preserve dentures while not wearing?

When dentures aren't in the mouth, it's important to store them in liquid so they don't dry out. If dentures dry out, they may become fractured or cracked. After one removes the dentures, it has to be cleaned thoroughly and gently, and then it is placed in water or a denture-cleanser solution. Never store dentures in hot or boiling water, since this may damage the base of the denture. It is important to take care of dentures. Improper care can lead to breaking, cracking resulting in no longer fitting in the mouth perfectly.

Following queries are mostly raised by patients when discussing dentures-

Do dentures make patient Look Different?

Dentures are made to closely resemble your natural teeth so there should be negligible or in many cases no change in appearance. In fact, dentures in some of the cases may even improve smile and fill out facial appearance.

Are there alternatives to Dentures?

Yes, dental implants can be used to support cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. But the cost is usually greater and the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Consult your dentist for advice.

How does it feel, when eating with dentures?

Initially, eating with dentures will take a little practice and is uncomfortable for some wearers for few weeks. Hence, it is recommended to start with soft foods cut into small pieces and chew slowly using both sides of your mouth. One has to be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells. And, avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You should also avoid chewing gum while you wear the denture.

Will Dentures Change How I Speak?

With dentures one may have difficulty pronouncing certain words. Therefore, one has to practice by saying the difficult words out loud and with time one gets used of speaking properly with dentures. Dentures may occasionally slip while laughing, coughing, or even smiling. Reposition the denture by gently biting down and swallowing. It is advisable to consult dentist if any speaking problem persists.

Can one wear dentures 24 hours a day?

During the initial days after receiving denture, one may be asked to wear it all the time, including while sleeping. Although this may be uncomfortable, but it is the quickest and best way to identify the areas on the denture that may need adjustment. Once adjustments are made, you should remove dentures before going to bed thus allowing gum tissues to rest and normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva.

Should one use a denture adhesive?

A denture adhesive may be considered to enhance satisfaction with a properly constructed denture and hence enhances the retention and stability. It also assists individual with dry mouth conditions. Dentures adhesives also provide added stability and security to those who place high muscular strengths on facial muscles, such as public speakers.