What are dentures? Which type will work for you?

Dentures are removable appliances that have the aim of replacing natural dentition. They can cover a whole arch or just individual teeth. Restorations help patients improve their appearance, confidence, and comfort in speaking, eating, and laughing.

Dentures typically last 5 to 10 years. Most need maintenance such as adjustments or relines. Below you can find an informative guide we prepared with our dental team. Compare types and materials and discover the pros and cons.

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Types of dentures

There are several options to choose from depending on the condition of your mouth. Not everyone is a candidate for each type.

If you are toothless, you will need a full denture. If you have some teeth remaining, it is up to your dentist to decide whether to create a partial, a flipper tooth, or to extract the remaining dentition.

Full dentures

Full dentures include 12 to 14 teeth per arch. Some end at the first molar, but a second molar is sometimes added for sturdiness. The determining factors are the space available and presence of opposing teeth.

The choice is between conventional, overdentures, or immediate dentures. The last are fashioned before remaining teeth are removed. In conventional dentures, the upper arch covers the whole roof of the mouth and may be attached by suction.

Implant-retained dentures provide the most support. They also help reduce bone loss which means the state of the mouth won’t continue to deteriorate.

Partial dentures

If you have some teeth remaining per arch, you may want to consider partial dentures. This solution can be supported with metal clasps that hook onto neighbouring teeth.

A pink or otherwise gum-colored plastic may be added to the fake teeth to make the prosthesis more realistic. The resin often covers a metal framework or the implants.

Flipper teeth

A flipper tooth is another solution for those who don’t want to go without teeth at all. It can be made before the natural tooth is removed. Less visits are necessary. Flippers can replace more than one tooth.

They may be held by clasps, similar to a retainer. By placing a flipper tooth in a gap, other teeth are less likely to shift. It is very easy to take out at night and for cleaning. Some claim that flipper teeth are more appealing than other temporary solutions such as cast partials.

What are dentures made of?

There are three main components of dentures: the base, the teeth, and the framework.


Denture bases are almost always made of acrylic resin or chrome cobalt metal. The first is better for aesthetics, as the color can be matched to the patient’s gums. The second is more sturdy and less likely to break if the denture is dropped.

Flexible dentures are made of thermoplastic materials, most often nylon or valplast.


Acrylic resin is the most popular material for the fake teeth. It is lightweight and cheap. The material also sticks to the base easily. The color is easy to control as well. This makes it particularly convenient for partial dentures, when teeth need to match the preexisting dentition.

Fake teeth can also be made from porcelain. The look and feel of tooth enamel can be matched exactly. This option is more durable than acrylic. The downsides include the fact that porcelain is expensive and prone to chipping. When such a tooth is damaged, it is much more expensive to replace.


Denture frameworks need a sturdy material to maintain the shape. This is usually some form of metal such as nickel chrome, stainless steel, or gold.

When it comes to partial dentures, the clasps are most often made of cobalt chrome. It combines sturdiness and elasticity, allowing it to last for many years.

How are dentures made?

Most dentures take at least 3 months to land in your mouth. The process includes several appointments. This is to ensure the best fit and durability possible.

The process is more complicated if there are implants involved. The whole thing might take up to 2 years.

Initial consultation

It’s a good idea to ask about dentures during periodic exam with your dentist. He or she will propose a treatment plan and schedule possible extractions. The type of denture will also be determined. This includes the materials and whether the prosthesis is to be full or partial.


Taking impressions is a necessary step to determine the shape of the denture. In the case of an immediate denture this might take place before teeth are removed.

The dentist will place a soft putty in your mouth after cleaning it. This might be done twice if you need a denture for both the top and bottom arches.

Lab technicians use it to make a dental cast and then the denture. This stage can take a few weeks.


Patients often come in several times at this stage to make adjustments. It rarely happens that a prosthesis will fit perfectly straight away. It might be thickened in some spaces if the denture is loose.

Getting your denture

When you finally get your denture the dentist will instruct you on how to best take care of it. Make sure to follow this exactly.

Follow-up appointments are common as well as relines every year or so. It’s important to visit your dentist regularly to make sure your denture fits properly. If it doesn’t it could cause irritation and lesions which can lead to denture stomatitis.

Pros and cons of dentures


  • Can make eating and speaking easier
  • Cost-effective compared to alternatives
  • Custom-made to fit your mouth


  • Often feel awkward for a few weeks
  • Minor irritation and soreness are common
  • Lesions are a possible complication
  • Must be kept in water when not in the mouth
  • Separate denture and mouth maintenance
  • Saliva flow temporarily increases
  • Fit must be regularly checked and adjusted
  • Relines are needed every year or so
  • Adhesives are often necessary
  • Patients should avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods
  • Have to be taken out when you go to bed
  • You may have to go without teeth for a while

Dentures facts and statistics

Find dentures near you

The first challenge on your way to new teeth is to find a reliable prosthodontist in your area. Despite being an affordable tooth restoration solution, dentures can still cost you a few thousand dollars. It seems wise to trust an experienced specialist with your health and money.

Manufacturing dentures requires excellent manual skills and years of training. These ensure durability, aesthetics, and comfortable use of your new teeth. With a huge database of dental professionals, we can help you find the most qualified dentist near you. The service is 100% free. Call now 855-429-8573.


Can you sleep with dentures?

Dentures are removable, which means patients should take them out at night and for cleaning. Neglecting to do this may lead to faster deterioration of the denture and damage to oral health.

There are other, permanent, solutions to missing teeth. The most popular is dental implants. Such rods may support entire arches. These fixed bridges can only be removed by the dentist every few months for proper cleaning.

How long does it take to get dentures?

The average time for getting dentures is about 12 weeks after any possible extractions are done. Immediate dentures and flipper teeth are the exception. The patient can start wearing them straight away, but casts still need to be taken a few weeks beforehand.

What dental specialists can make dentures?

If you want to go to a specialist, you can reach out to a prosthodontist . General dentists, however, can make dentures as well.

What does it take to get used to wearing dentures?

It is essential to manage your expectations, especially during the first few days. A denture will not feel as comfortable as natural teeth. This gets better with time, so you have to be patient and practice. Your denture will surely need an adjustment after a few days.

In the beginning, eat soft foods and wear your denture as much as possible. Rinse your denture with warm salt water to ease sore spots. Eating candies can help with increased salivation, as you will swallow automatically. Reintroduce harder foods into your diet when you start using adhesives. This is usually after about 2 weeks.

Practice speaking. At first, you may want to try this when you are by yourself. It’s a good idea to bite on something before talking. This pushes the denture into the right place, and speaking may be easier. Learn to relax your jaw and face muscles. You can find it difficult for a while due to the foreign object in your mouth.

How long should you wear dentures each day?

Wear your denture for at least a few hours every day. You have it for a reason. A break of no more than 6-8 hours per night is recommended. Make sure to store it properly during that time!