Replacing missing teeth with dentures is essential not only for restoring your smile but also for maintaining the overall aesthetics of your face. Without the support of teeth, the cheeks and jaw may begin to sag, leading to an aged appearance.

Full or partial dentures not only help you regain your smile but also restore your ability to chew and bite, allowing you to enjoy a wider range of foods that you may have had to avoid when you were missing teeth.

While dentures effectively replace missing teeth in terms of appearance and facial structure, they are a prosthetic replacement when it comes to function. Just as someone with a prosthetic limb may have limited function compared to a natural limb, dentures do not function in the same way as natural teeth. The stability and function of dentures can vary from person to person, which means that the variety of foods denture-wearers can comfortably eat also varies. Your dentist can provide guidance on foods to avoid or ways to adapt your eating habits, such as cutting meats into smaller pieces for easier chewing. Speaking with dentures may require some adjustment, particularly when making "s" or "th" sounds. However, any speech difficulties typically improve with practice.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic appliances consisting of a plastic base that is molded and colored to resemble your gums. The teeth attached to this base are most commonly made from plastic acrylic. Both the color of the gums and the teeth on dentures are customized to ensure they appear as natural as possible in your mouth.

Dentures are designed for individuals who have lost some or all of their teeth. Depending on the extent of tooth loss, dentures can be either a full set of teeth or a partial set intended to fill gaps between any remaining natural teeth.

Top dentures typically cover the bony ridge where your upper teeth used to be and the roof of your mouth (known as the palate). They are held in place through suction between the palate and the denture. However, because there is less surface area for attachment (no palate), dentures on the lower jaw are not as secure and may require a bit more adjustment to get used to.

Full Dentures

Full dentures are designed to adhere to your gums through suction, primarily achieved between the roof of your mouth (known as the palate) and the denture. Due to the larger surface area and better retention, upper dentures tend to be more secure. However, lower dentures, which do not have the palate for additional stability, may be somewhat less secure and may require a period of adjustment as you get used to wearing them.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are retained in your mouth by clasping onto your existing natural teeth.

There are two primary types of partial dentures: those with a metal base structure and those with an all-plastic base structure.

  • Metal-Based Partials (Cast Partials): In this type of partial denture, the base structure is made from metal, and the clasps, which hold onto your natural teeth, are also made of metal. Cast partials tend to be thinner and more durable. However, one potential drawback is that the metal clasps may be visible when you smile, depending on which teeth are present and which teeth are being replaced.
  • Plastic-Based Partials (Flexible Partials): These partial dentures are constructed entirely from plastic, and the clasps are made of plastic as well. The advantage of flexible partials is that the plastic clasps are less noticeable when you smile, offering a more discreet appearance.

The choice between metal-based and plastic-based partial dentures often depends on factors such as aesthetics, durability, and the location of the missing teeth in your mouth. Your dentist can help you determine which type of partial denture is the most suitable for your needs and preferences.

Procedure Overview

The process of obtaining dentures is relatively straightforward but may require several appointments.

Here's an overview of the steps involved:

  • Initial Assessment: The first step involves a comprehensive examination by your dentist to assess your oral health and determine whether dentures are the appropriate solution for you. If so, the dentist will discuss the type of dentures best suited to your needs.
  • Impressions or Scans: Your dentist will take impressions or digital scans of your gums and any remaining natural teeth. These impressions are used to create a model of your mouth, ensuring that the dentures will fit accurately and comfortably.
  • Model Creation: Using the impressions or scans, a model of your mouth is crafted, capturing every ridge and contour of your jawbone and gums.
  • Try-On Appointment: You will be invited back to the dental office for a try-on appointment. During this visit, you will try on the dentures to assess their fit and comfort. If the dentures fit well and meet your satisfaction, you will be able to take them home. However, if any adjustments are needed, the dentist will make the necessary modifications to ensure a proper fit.

The entire process is designed to provide you with dentures that are custom-made to match the unique structure of your mouth, offering a comfortable and secure fit. Your dentist will work with you to make any needed adjustments, ensuring that your dentures are just right for you.


Proper denture care is crucial, as it is as essential as caring for natural teeth. Whether you have full or partial dentures, it's important to remember that they are removable and not meant to be worn at night. Allowing your gums to rest and your saliva to naturally lubricate your mouth is recommended during the nighttime hours.

Here are some key points to remember when caring for your dentures:

  • Remove at Night: Remove your dentures at night before going to bed. This gives your gums a chance to rest and recover.
  • Cleaning: Use special denture toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush or a denture brush to clean your dentures. Be cautious when cleaning to avoid dropping them on a hard surface, as this is a common cause of denture breakage. To prevent accidents, consider laying out a towel or filling the sink basin with water when cleaning your dentures.
  • Soaking: Dentures should be soaked overnight in a denture solution to keep them moist. Allowing your dentures to dry out may lead to brittleness and damage.

Proper care and maintenance of your dentures are essential for their longevity and your oral health. Be sure to follow your dentist's recommendations for cleaning and maintaining your dentures to ensure they remain in good condition.