The following dental information pages answers many of
your questions on complete and partial dentures.
What are dentures?
Dentures are artificial substitutes used to replace all or some of the
lost teeth and adjoining tissues to maintain function, health and esthetics
of the tissues. So in simple words dentures help replace lost teeth.
Why are teeth lost?
Teeth are lost due to a number of causes. The two main reasons for loss
of teeth are dental decay and periodontal diseases (gum diseases). Both
dental decay and gum diseases are a result of poor oral hygiene.
Is it necessary to replace lost teeth?
It is very important to replace lost natural teeth. Loss of teeth affects
chewing of food and also affects the esthetics of the person by altering
the lip and cheek appearance. When a lost tooth is not replaced there is
a tendency for the adjacent and opposing teeth to move into the space left
by the lost teeth. Thus the person's occlusion or bite is altered. In addition
the loss of teeth causes shrinkage of the bone at that area. To avoid all
these problems it is advisable to replace lost teeth by artificial dentures.
What are the different types of dentures?
Dentures are broadly classified as partial and complete dentures. Complete
dentures replace all the teeth while partial dentures replace a few teeth.
Partial dentures can be again classified as removable partial dentures and
fixed partial dentures. Removable partial dentures replace a few teeth and
are designed to be removed and replaced by the patient. The fixed partial
dentures also replace a few teeth but cannot be removed by the patient.
A new type of denture gaining popularity is the Implant retained denture
that can be used to replace some or all teeth. This type of denture comprises
of metallic implants that are embedded into the bone and give support for
How long do I need to wait after extraction of teeth
to get my dentures?
It is advisable to wait for at least 4 weeks after the extraction of teeth
before the dentist can initiate the process of denture construction. This
gives sufficient time for the extraction wound to heal and for the underlying
bone to remodel.
What is a complete denture?
A complete denture is a dental prosthesis that replaces all the teeth and
contiguous oral tissues in order to help restore the function, health and
the appearance of the patient. Complete dentures can be made for the lost
upper and the lower teeth. Under certain circumstances only the upper or
the lower denture is made and this is called a single denture. Complete
dentures fabricated before the extraction of the teeth and inserted soon
after the extraction are called immediate complete dentures.
What are dentures made of?
All dentures are made of a denture base and teeth. The denture base is
usually made of acrylic resin, which is usually colored pink to resemble
the oral gum tissues. Sometimes the base can also be made of metals such
as chromium cobalt alloy or certain titanium alloys. The teeth are made
of acrylic resins, which is the most preferred, or porcelain. Teeth are
available in various sizes, forms and colors to suit the needs of the patients.
How do complete dentures stay in place?
Dentures are made to stay in place by their close fit to the underlying
tissues. When the dentures are manufactured so that they adapt closely to
the underlying tissues, it creates a vacuum seal that retains the denture
in place. The thickness and quantity of saliva plays an important role in
the retention of the denture. Dentures can also be made to stay in place
by using mechanical means such as springs, magnets, or by use of denture
Do you need to replace dentures after a few years?
Ideally dentures have to be replaced every 5 years. With the passage of
time there will be a change in the shape and form of the tissues that hold
the dentures. So in due course of time the dentures loose their exact fit
and can cause injury and irritation to the underlying tissues. In addition
the acrylic artificial teeth also wear off in due course of time and they
no longer cut and chew food as effectively as before. So it is advisable
to replace the dentures after every 5 years
Do new dentures cause sores?
Yes very often the new dentures may cause areas of soreness in the underlying
tissues. Even the most nicely made dentures may cause some irritation when
newly worn. These are usually due to a sharp spot on the denture that irritates
the tissue or may sometimes be due to a sharp bony area in the tissues.
These areas of irritation should be brought to the notice of the dentist
to do the necessary modifications in the denture to relieve these areas.
What is denture sore mouth?
Denture sore mouth is an inflammatory condition of the tissues beneath
the dentures. The tissues appear reddish and the patient may complain of
a burning sensation. This condition may be due to an allergic reaction to
the denture base material and sometimes superimposed with bad oral hygiene
and unclean dentures.
Do I have any restriction on the food I eat?
Even the best of the dentures may not perform as well as the natural teeth.
It is something akin to asking if one could run as well on artificial legs.
One has to learn to use the dentures. It is best to avoid hard foods like
raw carrots, nuts, etc. Soft foods cut into small pieces are ideal for denture
wearers. The food should be chewed on both sides of the mouth simultaneously.