Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots
Oral health centre
Select An Article

Dentures or false teeth

Dentures or false teeth are removable replacements for missing teeth.

Dentures are made of plastic or metal and are custom made to fit well on the gums.

Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.

Dentures soaking in glass

 

Complete dentures

Complete dentures can be either "conventional" or "immediate". 

Made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about eight to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed.

Unlike conventional dentures, immediate dentures are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. As a result, the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums shrink over time, especially during the healing period following tooth removal. Therefore a disadvantage of immediate dentures compared with conventional dentures is that they require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process and generally should only be considered a temporary solution until conventional dentures can be made.

 

Partial dentures

A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-coloured plastic base, which is connected by metal framework that holds the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed (permanent) bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This "bridge" is then cemented into place. Not only does a partial denture fill in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This is a more natural-looking appliance.

Are there alternatives to dentures?

Yes, dental implants can be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture. The cost is usually greater, but the implants and bridges more closely resemble the feel of real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the alternative to dentures but not everyone is a candidate for implants. Consult your dentist for advice.

How are dentures made?

The denture development process takes about three to six weeks and several appointments. Once your dentist or prosthodontist (a dentist who specialises in the restoration and replacement of teeth) determines what type of appliance is best for you, the general steps are to:

  • Make a series of impressions of your jaw and take measurements of how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them.
  • Create models, wax forms, and/or plastic patterns in the exact shape and position of the denture to be made. You will "try in" this model several times and the denture will be assessed for colour, shape and fit before the final denture is cast.
  • Cast a final denture.
  • Adjustments will be made as necessary.
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
boost your metabolism
Foods to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
period_questions_answered
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
sick child
Dos and don'ts for childhood eczema
girl_sneezing_into_tissue
Treating your child's cold or fever
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning and organising tips
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
cold sore
What you need to know