The Different Types of Dentures and What They Are Best For

When it comes to needing dentures, all of the options and information can be overwhelming. Your doctor will guide you in choosing the best option for your specific needs, but it is important to be aware of what is available. While the process of getting dentures can seem intimidating, they are a great way to restore your smile and maintain your oral health. This article will help you understand the different types of dentures and what each type of denture is best used for.

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures are an ideal option for when there are not any natural teeth remaining. Typically, patients that lose their teeth from serious decay or gum disease will need complete dentures. They are removable devices with a full set of teeth that are made out of either acrylic or porcelain. This type of conventional denture will require multiple visits to the dentist and impressions are made after the teeth have been extracted and the gums have healed. Complete dentures stay in place by suction to the gum line with a small amount of saliva between the device and surface area, or with an oral adhesive.

Partial Dentures

When a patient is only missing some teeth and the remaining teeth are in good health, partial dentures are the best option. The metal support combined with acrylic replacement teeth allows this type of denture to be removable and natural-looking. To visualize a partial denture think of a metal retainer with artificial teeth attached. If one or more teeth are missing from the mouth, surrounding teeth will move to try and fill the missing space which will compromise the jawbone, tissues, and physical appearance. Partial dentures support the function and formation of the jaw by filling in the gap where a tooth is missing.

Immediate Dentures

Immediate dentures are very similar to complete and partial dentures except they are prepared before the teeth have been removed so the patient does not have to leave without a full set of teeth. One of the benefits of this type of denture is it can be easier to replicate the shape and color of natural teeth since they are made before the original are removed. A disadvantage is immediate dentures tend to cost more than other options because they are needed so promptly. Since they are inserted directly after the extraction, they also act as a bandage to protect the area and reduce bleeding. Once the gums have fully healed, the immediate dentures will be readjusted.


An overdenture is a removable, partial or complete denture that is supported by a few remaining natural teeth or implants. While other types of dentures may require refitting or replacement as the jawbone changes, an overdenture can help reduce jawbone shrinkage and improve retention and function. They are sometimes called “snap-on” dentures and prevent movement from side to side, front to back and movement away from the tissues by being connected directly to teeth or implants. Overdentures are especially useful for patients with dental-related conditions including cleft palates, cleidocranial, and oligodontia. This option, as well as retained dentures, are more invasive than the other options but depending on the patient, the benefits and results are worth it.

Retained Dentures

A dental implant with a crown is the closest one can get in replicating the exact look and function of a natural tooth, but it would be incredibly expensive to have a full mouth of dental implants. Retained dentures take the stability of dental implants, and the general idea of dentures to give patients a viable option. This type of denture will require a small number of implants throughout the jaw where a full set of dentures will be attached to. Since the dentures are physically attached to the implant they are less likely to detach when speaking or eating and give patients a stronger bite. This option does require patients to have a healthy jawbone to root the implant properly.

By making informed decisions and caring for your device properly, dentures can be a life-changing procedure that will benefit your physical appearance and oral health for years to come. If you have any questions or concerns about needing dentures or the process, it is important to consult your dentist as they can give you patient-specific answers and guidance.

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