Dentures are removable appliances for missing teeth. They consist of acrylic resins and sometimes they might also include a combination of metals.

Types of Dentures

If you have a complete set of dentures, it replaces all of your teeth. Partial dentures will only fill the spaces that exist because of missing teeth. They also keep the teeth that remain in your mouth from changing position.

If you’ve lost all of your teeth, they will be replaced with a complete set of dentures. A partial denture will be made if you have some natural teeth remaining. Dentures improve your ability to chew, as well as providing support for your facial muscles. They also enhance your appearance.

"Conventional" or "immediate" refer to a complete set of dentures, as well as when they were made and inserted into the mouth. Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. The dentist takes measurements and makes models of a patient`s jaws during the preliminary visit.

The biggest advantage to immediate dentures is the patient doesn’t have to be without teeth, while healing takes place. Bones and gums can shrink over time, particularly during the healing period. This may occur in the first six months after the teeth have been removed. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may have to be rebased or relined to fit properly. Conventional dentures can then be made after tissues have healed. Healing usually takes 6-8 weeks.

An overdenture is a removable denture. It fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or possibly implants. Natural teeth are prepared to provide stability and support for the denture.

A removable partial denture consists of replacement teeth, which are attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases. These are connected by metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments have more esthetic appeal than metal clasps and they are nearly invisible. Crowns on natural teeth usually improve the fit of when it comes to a removable partial denture and are required with attachments. Partials with precision attachments generally cost more than those with metal clasps.

How Are Dentures Made

The process will take about one month. You will have five appointments. We make the initial diagnosis. After that an impression and a wax bite are made to verify the vertical dimensions and proper jaw position. We do a "try-in" to assure proper color, shape and fit. Following that, the patient`s final denture is placed, following any minor adjustment.

We will make an impression of your jaw using special materials. Measurements are taken to see how your jaws relate to one another and determine the space between them (your bite relationship). We’ll determine the color or shade of your natural teeth. Then the impression, bite and shade are given to the dental laboratory from which they complete your custom-made denture.

The dental laboratory will make a mold or model of your jaw. The teeth are then placed in a wax base. That is carved to the exact form wanted in the finished denture. Usually a "wax try-in" of the denture is done at the dentist`s office. At that time, any adjustments can be done before the denture is completed.

The "lost wax" technique is used to complete the denture. A mold of the wax-up denture is made and the wax removed. The remaining space is filled with pink plastic in dough form. The mold is heated after that to harden the plastic. After polishing the denture, it is ready to wear.

Getting Used To Your Dentures

At first, a new denture might feel awkward or bulky. Your mouth should eventually adjust to wearing it. Inserting and removing the denture will require practice. Never force the partial denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps. All dentures should fit easily in place.

Initially, the dentist may ask you to wear your denture all the time. This might be temporarily uncomfortable, but it’s the quickest way to identify those denture spots where any adjustment needs to be made. Your denture could put too much pressure on a certain area and that spot will become sore. Your denture can be adjusted to fit more comfortably. After making adjustments, you may need to take the denture out at night before going to bed. You can replace it in the morning.

You might want to start out eating soft foods cut into small pieces. Be sure to chew on both sides of the mouth. You want to keep even pressure even on both sides. Avoid sticky or hard foods, including gum. These present problems.

Care Of Your Dentures

Stand over a folded towel or a sink of water when handling your denture in case you accidentally drop it. Brush the denture daily to remove food deposits and plaque. This will keep it from becoming permanently stained. Don’t use a brush with hard bristles because it can damage the denture. Look for denture cleansers that are recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) and have the Seal of Acceptance. Pay attention when cleaning teeth that fit under the denture`s metal clasps. Any trapped plaque increases the risk of decay.

You can use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid to clean dentures. Household cleaners and many toothpastes are too abrasive. A denture could lose its proper shape if it is not kept moist. At night, place your denture in a soaking solution or water. If your appliance has metal attachments, they could be tarnished in the soaking solution.

With a full or partial denture you need to take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush every morning prior to putting in your dentures. This will remove plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for ensuring a healthy mouth.


You might have to adjust your denture over time. As you age, your mouth naturally changes. This can affect the fit of your denture. Your bone and gum ridges might recede or shrink. This may cause a loose-fitting denture. Loose dentures can cause problems, including sores or infections. Dentures that do not fit properly can be properly adjusted. Don’t use a do-it-yourself kit to adjust your dentures. This can damage the appliance beyond repair. Glues sold over the counter often contain harmful chemicals and should not be used on a denture.

When or if your denture doesn’t fit properly or if it breaks, cracks or chips, or one of the teeth becomes loose, see your dentist immediately. In most cases, your dentist makes the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day. If repairs are complicated, it may require that the denture be sent to a special dental laboratory.

Over time, dentures will need to be relined, re-based or re-made due to normal wear. To reline or re-base a denture, the dentist uses the existing denture teeth and refits the denture base or makes a new denture base. Dentures may need to be replaced if they become loose and the teeth show signs of significant wear.

Common Concerns

Eating will take some practice. Begin with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of the mouth. This will prevent the dentures from tipping. Once you become accustomed to chewing, add other foods and eventually return to your normal diet.

Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.

Some people worry about how dentures will affect their speech. Remember how your speech was affected when your natural teeth were missing. Pronouncing certain words will require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words should help. Should your dentures "click" while you`re talking, try speaking more slowly. You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition your dentures. All you have to do is carefully bite down and swallow. 

Denture Adhesives

Denture adhesives can give you added confidence. Denture adhesives, however, are not the solution for old, ill-fitting dentures. If you have a poorly fitting denture causing irritation, this may contribute to the development of sores. You should have these dentures relined or replaced. Any time dentures begin to feel loose or cause you pronounced discomfort, talk to your dentist immediately.