A denture or a complete denture, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips.
Most dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways.
- A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed.
- An immediate denture is fabricated and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture.
- An upper denture has acrylic, usually gum colored, that covers the palate (roof of the mouth).
- A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to allow room for the tongue.
- A Partial denture is a removable appliance fabricated in conjunction with teeth the patient has retained.
The teeth are made of plastic, porcelain or a combination thereof. Dentures can be fabricated to fit over endodontically treated teeth and a complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Dentures over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. Regular dentist examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.