A denture, or a complete denture as it is often called, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips as well as providing the patient with the ability to chew most foods. (It is important to note that dentures will not provide the same chewing function as natural teeth or fixed prosthetics like bridges or implants).
Most dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways.
- A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed.
- An immediate denture is fabricated and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture. (Immediate Dentures are case specific and can not always be utilized).
- An upper denture has acrylic, usually flesh colored, that covers the palate (roof of the mouth).
- A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue.
The teeth are made of resin, porcelain or a combination of both. Dentures can be fabricated to fit over root canal treated teeth and a complete denture can also be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Dentures over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. Regular dental examinations are still important for patients that wear dentures so that the oral tissues and bone can be checked for disease or change.