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What are dentures?

Dentures replace missing teeth and their nearby tissues with a removable dental appliance. Dentures are made of acrylic resin or a combination of acrylic and metals.

What are the different types of dentures?

There are 2 main types of dentures:

  • Complete. This type of denture replaces all of the teeth and their nearby tissues in an arch.

  • Partial. This type of denture is used to replace some, but not all, of the teeth in an arch. This is because the person is only missing certain teeth.

Complete and partial dentures can be placed after the teeth are removed and the gums have healed (conventional). Or they can be placed right after the teeth are removed (immediate).

  • Conventional. Conventional dentures allow a recovery time (often 4 to 8 weeks) after all of the teeth are extracted before the dentures are placed in the mouth.

  • Immediate. This type of denture doesn't allow a healing period after all of the teeth are removed. The denture is immediately fit into the mouth after all teeth are removed. More adjustments in the fitting of this type of denture procedure may be needed as healing occurs.

In some cases, certain roots are kept, or dental implants are placed, and the complete or partial denture is made to fit over these roots or implants. The appliance is called an overdenture. Saving some key roots or placing implants can help retain the bone in the jaw that supports the denture. 

Oral health and denture care

  • Every day, remove and brush the denture carefully with a brush and toothpaste, both specifically designed for denture cleaning. Regular toothpaste or a hard-bristle brush is too harsh for cleaning dentures. Clean the denture over a towel or bowl of water in case you drop it.

  • Don't use harsh abrasive cleaners on your denture.

  • Don't clean or sterilize your denture in hot or boiling water. This can damage the denture.

  • If a partial denture is in place, remove it before brushing your natural teeth.

  • Once it's removed, keep the denture in a safe place, out of the reach of children and pets.

  • Once removed, soak the denture in a correct cleansing solution or water. The denture can lose its shape if it isn't moist. Don't use bleach solutions. They will attack the metal and bleach the color out of the resin.

  • Don't wear your dentures at night while you are sleeping. This will irritate the tissues and promote growth of fungus.

  • Have any remaining teeth cleaned every 6 months by an oral health professional.

  • Contact your dentist if your denture becomes loose, is too tight, or is irritating the tissues in any way.

Online Medical Reviewer: Amy Finke RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Michael Kapner MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2023
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