Dentures: Complete Guide to Restoring Teeth

Losing teeth can be a challenging experience, affecting not just oral health but also self-confidence. However, modern dentistry offers a solution in the form of dentures. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding of dentures, including what they are, their pros and cons, the types available, what to expect during dental visits, alternative options, and concluding thoughts.

What is a Denture?

Complete Dental Denture

Dentures are removable prosthetic devices designed to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissues. They restore chewing functionality, improve speech, and enhance facial aesthetics. Made from durable materials like acrylic resin and porcelain, dentures are custom-made to fit each individual’s mouth comfortably.

Pros and Cons of Dentures


  • Restoration of chewing ability: Dentures allow individuals to chew food properly, improving digestion and nutrition.
  • Improvement in speech clarity: Missing teeth can affect speech, but dentures restore clarity and pronunciation.
  • Enhancement of facial appearance: Dentures fill out the facial structure, preventing the sunken appearance that can occur with missing teeth.
  • Customizable to match natural teeth: Dentures can be customized in color, shape, and size to blend seamlessly with existing teeth.
  • Affordable compared to implants: Dentures are a more cost-effective option for replacing missing teeth.


  • May require adjustment period for adaptation: Initially, wearing dentures may feel uncomfortable or awkward until the mouth adjusts to them.
  • Not as stable as natural teeth or implants: Dentures may move or slip while eating or speaking, requiring occasional adjustment.
  • Regular maintenance and cleaning needed: Proper care is essential to prevent oral health issues such as gum irritation or fungal infections.
  • Potential for gum irritation or soreness: Ill-fitting dentures can cause friction against the gums, leading to discomfort or sores if not addressed promptly.

Types of Dentures

Complete Dentures:

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures are prosthetic devices designed to replace all teeth in either the upper or lower dental arch. They are custom-made to fit the unique contours of the patient’s mouth, providing full coverage and support. Complete dentures restore chewing function, improve speech clarity, and enhance facial aesthetics.

Partial Dentures:

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are removable prosthetic devices used when some natural teeth remain in the mouth. These dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored acrylic base, with metal clasps or precision attachments anchoring them to adjacent natural teeth for stability.

Partial dentures restore chewing function and prevent neighboring teeth from shifting out of position. They are an excellent option for individuals who have lost multiple teeth but still retain some natural teeth.

Implant-Supported Dentures:

Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are a modern solution for individuals seeking increased stability and functionality compared to traditional dentures. These dentures are secured in place by dental implants surgically placed into the jawbone. The implants serve as stable anchors for the dentures, preventing them from slipping or moving during chewing and speaking. Implant-supported dentures offer superior comfort, stability, and confidence, making them an ideal option for those with sufficient bone density and good oral health.

Immediate Dentures:

Immediate dentures are prosthetic devices placed immediately after tooth extraction, providing patients with immediate replacement teeth during the healing process. These dentures are custom-made prior to tooth extraction and inserted immediately after extraction, allowing patients to avoid the embarrassment of being without teeth.

While immediate dentures aid in proper healing and maintain facial aesthetics, they may require adjustments as the mouth heals and the gums reshape.

What to Expect at the Dental Office

First Visit:

  • Comprehensive oral examination and medical history review: The dentist will assess the patient’s oral health and overall medical and mental condition to determine the best treatment plan.
  • Taking impressions of your teeth: Impressions of the teeth and jaw are taken to create custom dentures. This can be done through older alginate impression materials or newer digital impression materials. If an alginate impression is taken, secondary impressions may be taken to ensure the dentures fit accurately and comfortably.
  • Bite registration are taken: Bite registration records show how the upper and lower teeth come together, ensuring proper alignment and function of the dentures.
  • Discussion of treatment options and patient expectations: The dentist will discuss the various types of dentures available and address any concerns or preferences the patient may have. Using this information, a lab will create a denture that meets your criteria.

Second Visit:

  • Wax denture try-in: A wax model of the dentures is created for the patient to try on. This allows for adjustments to be made to the appearance and fit before the final dentures are fabricated. The dentist will have you try different actions, including opening, closing, touching lips to teeth, touching lips to tongue, etc.
  • Discussion of Aesthetics: If you have any concerns about the feel or look of the dentures, now is the time to bring them up. Common places of interest include the narrowing of lips, lip-nose angles, lower jaw appearance, and grooves near the mouth.

Third Visit:

  • Receiving Final Dentures: You will now receive your final dentures that have been cured.
  • Evaluation of Fit and Comfort: During this time, the dentist carefully assesses the fit of the dentures, checking for any pressure points, areas of discomfort, or loose spots. Any necessary adjustments are made to ensure optimal comfort and functionality.
  • Assessment of Speech and Chewing: The patient is encouraged to speak and chew with the dentures to ensure they feel natural and allow for proper speech and eating. Any issues with speech clarity or chewing function are addressed during this visit.


  • Daily Cleaning: Dentures should be cleaned daily to remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria. Use a soft-bristled denture brush or a toothbrush specifically designed for dentures to gently brush all surfaces, including the gums, palate, and tongue. Avoid using regular toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and damage denture material.
  • Soaking: Dentures should be soaked overnight in a denture cleaning solution or water to keep them moist and prevent them from drying out. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for soaking time and solution concentration. Avoid using hot water, as it can warp the denture material.
  • Regular Dental Check-Ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups with your dentist to ensure the fit and condition of your dentures are optimal. Your dentist can make any necessary adjustments to improve comfort and functionality and check for any signs of oral health issues.
  • Avoid Hard Foods: Limit or avoid eating hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that can damage dentures or cause them to become dislodged. Cut food into smaller, bite-sized pieces and chew slowly and evenly to prevent unnecessary strain on the dentures.
  • Maintain Oral Hygiene: Even with dentures, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft toothbrush or gauze pad to remove plaque and stimulate circulation. This helps prevent gum irritation and maintains oral health.
  • Store Properly: When not in use, store dentures in a denture case filled with water or denture cleaning solution to keep them moist and prevent them from drying out or warping. Keep dentures out of reach of children and pets to avoid damage.


While dentures offer a reliable solution for tooth loss, alternatives include:

  • Dental Implants: Dental implants are titanium posts surgically implanted into the jawbone to replace missing tooth roots. They provide a stable foundation for crowns, bridges, or implant-supported dentures.
  • Dental Bridges: Dental bridges consist of artificial teeth anchored to adjacent natural teeth or dental implants. They bridge the gap left by missing teeth, restoring function and aesthetics.
  • Resin-Bonded Bridges (Maryland Bridges): These bridges are bonded to the back of adjacent teeth using resin, making them a less invasive (but weaker) alternative to traditional bridges.

Each option has its advantages and considerations, which should be discussed with a dental professional to determine the best treatment plan for individual needs.

Complications of Dentures

  • Gagging: Some individuals may experience gagging sensations due to ill-fitting dentures. This will especially be the case during the initial adjustment period, however, if it persists contact your dentist and they may be able to help.
  • Altered Perception: Dentures can sometimes affect perception as they cover the roof of your mouth, leading to changes in the perception of flavours and touch.
  • Mucosal Reactions: Irritation or inflammation of the oral mucosa may occur as a reaction to denture materials or improper fit causing abrasiveness.
  • Oral Galvanic Currents: Interaction between different metals that are part of some dentures can create electrical currents, causing discomfort or metallic taste sensations.
  • Residual Ridge Resorption: Over time, the jawbone may undergo resorption, leading to changes in the shape and fit of dentures.
  • Cavities and Periodontal Disease: In cases where natural teeth remain underneath dentures, there is a risk of developing dental caries (aka cavities) and periodontal disease if proper oral hygiene is not maintained.


Dentures have transformed the lives of countless individuals by restoring smiles and confidence. Understanding the process of obtaining dentures, from initial consultations to aftercare, is crucial for a successful treatment outcome. By partnering with a skilled dental team and maintaining good oral hygiene, individuals can enjoy the benefits of dentures for years to come. If you’re considering dentures, schedule a consultation with your dentist to explore the best options for your needs.


The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing on this website constitutes the practice of medicine, law or any other regulated profession.

No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.


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