A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. It is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals. There are two types of dentures: complete dentures and partial dentures. Complete dentures replace all the teeth while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position.

Depending on your need a denture can be “conventional” or “immediate”. A conventional denture is placed in the mouth after five dental visits from the point of teeth being extracted. An immediate denture is placed in the mouth as soon as the teeth are removed. These differences will vary from patient to patient.

Partial dentures are similar to complete dentures, except the plastic teeth and acrylic gums surround frameworks made of metal or flexible thermoplastic material. While the metal framework partial dentures will take five visits to place, the thermoplastic (Valplast) will take two to three appointments for final placement.

All dentures will need to be adjusted for sore spots and relined, rebased, or remade at some point. It is recommended to have annual checkups to evaluate your gums, jaw bones, and the denture relationship or “fit”.

Dentures are not for everyone due to the different architecture of the remaining bone in the Jaws. Some patients may need to have strategically placed support or implants to help retain the dentures. In some cases a permanently cemented bridge may be used, which eliminates the need for a denture. Cost will be greater for the implants and bridges, when indicated, but they more closely resemble the "feel" of real teeth. While dental implants are becoming the alternative of choice to dentures, keep in mind that not everyone is a candidate.