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What are Dentures?

A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. Two types of dentures are available complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.


- Complete / Full Dentures

Complete dentures can be either "conventional" or "immediate." Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.

Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.


A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-coloured plastic base, which is connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed (permanent) bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This "bridge" is then cemented into place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural-looking appliance.
A partial denture is a removable appliance replacing one or more missing natural teeth and associated tissues. It is supported by the natural remaining teeth and gums. It replaces what is lost and preserves what is left.
Basically removable partial dentures come in two types - an acrylic or metal base. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The type suited to your particular requirements can be assessed in consultation with our dentist.

A partial denture offers improved appearance and function. It helps maintain the remaining natural teeth, improves the restores appearance, speech and certainly the ability to chew.


Assessment of a patient requiring a partial denture may vary according to the age of the patient, the patient's attitude, habits and expectations. Oral hygiene, the condition and position of the remaining natural teeth, as well as the position of the opposing teeth in the mouth, also need to be considered.

A recent check up of your remaining natural teeth by a Dentist is advised prior to the construction of a new partial denture.

Tissues covered by a denture normally do not maintain the same bone density level, and tends to gradually shrink or recede.

It is therefore imperative that your partial denture be reassessed or replaced at regular two yearly intervals.

Natural teeth are continually wearing down due to masticatory forces. These are the forces that are applied when you eat.

Conservation of the remaining natural teeth is enhanced and wear and tear is minimised, by disturbing those forces of chewing and grinding evenly to all teeth, including any artificial teeth. A partial denture plays a large part in minimising the wearing down of natural teeth.

A partial denture situated around the natural teeth and opposing a full denture usually results in the full denture being more successful and stable. This is due to the better balance and distribution of all the opposing forces involved in chewing, swallowing and speaking.

To become accustomed to your partial denture more quickly, it may help to cut food into smaller portions, and to master chewing on the premolar (first double teeth) and molar regions (back teeth) first and then on both sides of the mouth at the same time. Consuming non sticky food also helps.


Retention of a partial denture is normally obtained by attachment to a natural tooth or teeth on each side and by stainless steel or metal clasps.

Friction against the remaining natural teeth and adhesion from saliva are all aids used to gain retention and stability.Metal clasps are precise fitting and will not wear or affect your natural teeth. Clasps do however collect plaque which damages the enamel on the teeth. Proper oral hygiene is therefore paramount.

Night time

Dentures invariably occupy more space in the mouth than natural teeth. Wearing the appliance continuously enables the tongue and tissues to more quickly gain tolerance of the new denture. Wearing your denture at night may be dictated by personal preference however it is recommended that dentures are removed at night.


Proper oral hygiene is just as critical for artificial teeth as it is for natural teeth. It is especially important that the gums around and between the teeth, are kept thoroughly clean, to prevent the build up of plaque or tartar, and to prevent odours.

Whenever possible clean and brush your denture after each meal to remove debris, with particular attention to the tissue fitting surfaces of the denture and areas around the clasps where food will tend to gather.

Ideally, regular soaking in a commercial denture cleaner and the use of a soft denture brush with denture paste prevents the build up of tartar deposits that tend to collect and build up around the teeth, gums and clasps.

It is advisable to never use harsh bristle brushes or abrasive materials. Use warm water only, as boiling water may distort the denture.

To prevent accidental damage by dropping the denture, chipping the teeth or fracturing the denture base, it is advisable to hold the side or the part of the denture you are actually cleaning over a sink containing a towel or face washer. All care must be taken to avoid disturbing, breaking or bending the metal clasps or retainers, as the fit needs to be precise. If a break occurs, immediately consult our dentist.


If a partial denture requires repairing, never attempt to repair it yourself, or use household adhesives. Always contact our dentist as the type of repair required may vary greatly. The stress of chewing puts enormous pressure on the teeth and denture base. If natural teeth are subsequently lost or extracted, it is normally possible to add additional artificial teeth to your partial denture, as a temporary measure.



Metal or cobalt chrome alloy dentures have superior physical properties and generally occupy less space in the mouth than acrylic dentures. They are stronger, have a greater resistance to fatigue and are less likely to break under normal conditions.



Acrylic or plastic base dentures are a quicker solution for temporary dentures. They can be used for almost all cases, but they are not necessarily the best for the majority of cases. They are a light weight and easier material to repair, but are weaker and can fracture more easily due to the forces of chewing, therefore they generally require a thicker and more extensive coverage, making the denture more bulky by design.



Yes, dental implants can be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Consult your dentist for advice.



Most dental insurance providers cover some or all of the cost of dentures. However, contact your company to find out the specifics of what they will cover.



New dentures may feel a little odd or loose for a few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you get comfortable inserting and removing them. Also, it is not unusual for minor irritation or soreness to occur and for saliva flow to increase when you first start wearing dentures, but these problems will diminish as your mouth adjusts to the new denture.



Dentures are made to closely resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile and fill out your facial appearance.

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