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Dentures are a prosthetic device constructed to replace missing teeth. Dentures are also commonly called false or artificial teeth. They are placed over surrounding bone in both the upper and lower jaw and supported by soft and hard tissues in the mouth. They are a removable replacement of partially missing or completely missing teeth.

There are three types of dentures available. The most commonly used ones are as follows:
  1. Complete Denture:  These are also known as full dentures and are worn by patient having all teeth missing in a single arch (upper or lower jaw bone) or both upper and lower arches. They are made after complete removal of all teeth. Following extraction, the raw areas are left untouched for proper healing and tissues to get back to normal. Complete denture can further be constructed in two ways; either as immediate dentures or conventional dentures.
    - Immediate dentures are given immediately after the surgical extraction of teeth.They are made in advance and can be placed as soon as teeth are removed. For this, a prior primary impression of the mouth is taken, and from this, a precise model of the mouth is made, and then from these models, the denture is made. These are more beneficial than conventional dentures as the wearer does not have to be without teeth and healing occurs properly without any exposure of extracted raw areas to foreign particles
    - Unlike immediate dentures, conventional dentures are placed in the mouth 8 to 12 weeks after the removal of teeth. It is not beneficial to use this denture type as it is very time consuming, and it takes about one month from the start of removal of teeth and more so the process of healing takes several months for the complete procedure. However, this type is more successful, durable and comfortable
  2. Partial Denture:  These are a removable dentures constructed for a few missing teeth by taking support of the original teeth over a gum-colored plastic base which is further attached, either on one corner or both to metal framework, to hold the denture in one place in the mouth. It not only fills the space of missing teeth but also prevents the movement of other teeth from changing their position. However, sometimes the metal framework attached is painful and can cause trauma to supporting teeth
  3. Long-term dentures:  Since the soft tissues of the mouth keep changing their position and size throughout life, it is beneficial to change dentures after 4-5 years and adapt to metal dentures on which teeth are attached and look like natural ones.  This type of denture is more durable, successful and can bear mastication forces as compared to other types of dentures. But, sometimes this type can be painful

Advantages of Dentures

  1. The most important advantage of dentures is anyone can afford dentures which range from relatively cheap to the costlier ones
  2. Dentures can be removed easily for cleaning thus avoiding inflow of bacterial or fungal infections
  3. Dentures are easy to adjust, even at home
  4. Dentures give a more natural look of teeth than any other type of dental treatment
  5. Dentures keep the bone of the mouth (both the jaws) healthy

Disadvantages of Dentures

  1. It may be difficult to chew properly and equally on all the sides as the denture movements require muscle control and that is not easy for everyone to control and adjust calmly
  2. The complete procedure from the very initial stage to its final is very time consuming, painful and can be costly
  3. Most of the time, complete dentures require adhesive (sticky) material to properly fit.  This can be very messy, irritating and invite the deposition of food particles and bacteria
  4. If adequate oral hygiene is not maintained, dentures can lead to caries in the present teeth and gum problems may also arise
  5. Many people have psychological disturbances to the full acceptance of denture and this can lead to stress


Important Principles of Good Dentures

Support: How well are the underlying tissues supporting the denture when moving vertically and deeply into the mouth? Excessive movements can lead to breakage and discomfort. For lower dentures, the gums and side tissues play a major role in preventing movement against the forward movement of the tongue. The sides of denture also help in providing the best support, so the larger the sides, the better would be the support.

Stability:  How well are the underlying tissues supporting the dentures from moving horizontally and in forth and back movements? The more the smoothness and intact contact with the underlying bone of denture base, the better would be the stability.

Retention: How well are the dentures adapted on the palate and in spite of hard mastication forces, do they remain intact and support all the movements of jaw?

Complications associated with dentures
  1. It is not easy to fabricate a well-organized, beautiful and very successful denture.
  2. If there is more bone loss in either of the jaws, it becomes difficult for patient to adapt to the irregular movements and adjust the denture properly.
  3. Time to time problems like loosening, infection and injury to soft tissues and gums can occur.


Proper care of dentures is very important to maintain oral hygiene as well as the life of the denture. This can be done as follows:

  • Always handle dentures with care. Whether they are complete or partial dentures, they need proper handling and accidental dropping should be avoided
  • Daily brushing and rinsing the denture. Irrespective of the quality, dentures demand proper cleaning and removal of foreign debris (harmful particles). They actually also need brushing like original teeth. There are specially designed brushes called denture brushes available in market
  • When not in use, the denture should be properly placed in a container with lid or kept either in denture cleanser soaking solution or water. However, metal dentures should not be kept in water as they could tarnish. Dentures should also not be kept in hot water as the hot water may initiate denture shrinking
  • Denture cleansing tablets are also available which when used as per directions can clean, disinfect and actually prolong dentures’ life

1) What types of dentures are there?

There are mainly three broad variety of dentures available.

  1. Partial dentures: When just few teeth are missing from your jaw, partial dentures are suggested by the dentist/orthodontist. They can be attached to your natural teeth using metal clasps that easily grip the teeth.
  2. Full dentures: They are used to replace full set of teeth. A flesh coloured acrylic base is applied that covers the gum of the mouth and easily allows the denture to sit firmly in the space.
  3. Implant supported dentures: They are attached to the implants in the jawbone that extends outward from the gum.


2) How do I care for my dentures?

Dentures require proper care to keep them clean and your mouth hassle free.

  • Always run water over your dentures post every meal to make sure any food particles or debris are washed away. Trapped food can lead to complications and other tooth problems at later stages
  • Use a soft bristled tooth brush to clean your teeth. Harsh or rigorous brushing can damage your gums and make them bleed. Make sure to brush your dentures at least twice daily to make sure they are free of germs and bacteria
  • If you have removable dentures, make sure to soak them in denture soaking solution overnight to keep them moist in shape. Before putting them on the morning after, rinse them properly with water in order to avoid swallowing any chemicals present in the solution.


3) Can I sleep in my dentures?

Though there is no such compulsion to not wear dentures at night while sleeping, but it is always advised to remove them before going to bed. It allows your gum tissues to rest and also decreases or minimises the possibility of any gum injury, sore spots on the gums or any other discomfort that it can give rise to.


4) Can I eat normally with dentures?

Adjusting to eat with dentures on can take up to few days but once you get used to eat, it will feel as natural as eating with your real teeth. There are few things that you need to keep in mind while eating with dentures on that will help you get adjusted to the new arrangement easily.

  • Eat slowly and try and eat soft foods
  • Eating small bites instead of big ones will help you adjust to your dentures quickly
  • Avoid eating foods that require you to chew a lot as it can make the dentures unstable


5) How much pain is involved with getting dentures?

Feeling pain and swelling of gums is very common while getting dentures. However, as one gets use to the new arrangement in the mouth, the pain and any other kind of discomfort also subsides with time. Regular visits to your dentist will help you adjust better to dentures and in case you have any pain or swelling, he would be able to suggest you methods using which you can combat the problem. Maintain good oral hygiene to keep all dental problems away.


6) What are permanent dentures?

Permanent dentures, as the name suggests, are a stable fixtures put wherever there are teeth missing in the mouth. They are an alternate to removable dentures for missing teeth. Once you visit your dentist, he would be well equipped to tell you if you require permanent fixtures or temporary ones will do for you. Though slightly more expensive than a temporary solution, permanent dentures require mounting on implants that can take a longer time to heal. It frees a person from the hassle of slipping or popping out of dentures causing you embarrassment.

Maintaining proper oral care and using the right toothpaste plays a vital role in keeping tooth problems such as plaque, cavities, tartar and decay away. Visit our blog to know more about prevention of dental problems to keep teeth strong and healthy. Get helpful tips which helps in ensuring proper dental care.

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