There are several types of dentures that depends on a patient’s needs. Dentures are based on the amount of natural teeth remaining in the mouth to support them or if there are no teeth present. Dentures are also classified on the types of materials used to fabricate them.
Types of Dentures: Main Categories
- Partial dentures; when some teeth remain in the mouth (i.e. upper or lower jaw). Partial dentures can be acrylic (plastic) or metal.
- Complete dentures; when there are no teeth remaining on that jaw.
- Immediate dentures
Partial dentures are a less expensive to option to replace one or more teeth. Partial dentures usually refer to the type of denture that can be removed (as opposed to fixed partial dentures, usually called a bridge.
Before a partial denture is begun, any other work that is needed in the mouth is usually completed prior. Fillings, crowns, deep cleanings should all be completed prior to starting a partial denture. There are times when the teeth that hold the partial denture in place will need to be adjusted, built up or have crowns (caps) placed to secure the denture better.
The base of the denture is made from either metal or plastic (acrylic), and the teeth are usually acrylic. Newer materials offer all nylon (reinforced plastic) based material without metal.
The base can include metal clasps and attachments to help keep the denture secure.
Complete dentures are indicated for a person that lacks any remaining natural teeth. They are usually made from plastic (acrylic). They therefore rest directly on the gum tissue and bone that exists in each arch (upper or lower arch).
Upper dentures are usually much more stable (retentive) than lower dentures. This is due to the suction that can be gained from covering the palate or the roof of the mouth. This suction is not possible in the lower arch due to the tongue position.
These are dentures that are sized and placed immediately after a tooth or several teeth are extracted. They are a temporary or interim denture, used to replace these teeth as the mouth heals. This process can take several months, so the final denture is not fitted until the healing is complete. This healing phase can take up to 6-12 months at which time there is usually a “gap” between the denture and the bone due to “shrinkage” after healing, the swelling has reduced from the extracted teeth and the denture now needs to be “relined” which adds more material to fill in the gap or replaced entirely with a new denture.