Dentures, also known as false teeth, are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth, and are supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity.
Dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated in many 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, while allowing the tissues to heal under the denture.
- An upper denture has acrylic which covers the palate (roof of the mouth).
- A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue.
- A removable partial denture usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by metal framework, which holds the denture in place in the mouth.
The teeth are made of plastic, porcelain or a combination of both. 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 dental examinations are still important for the recipient so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.