Updated on May 8, 2024
9 min read

Types of Dentures & Indicators for Treatment

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What are Dentures?

Dentures (artificial teeth) are synthetic replacements for missing natural teeth. Some dentures replace a few missing teeth. Others replace all the teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues.

Dentures are designed to help fill out your facial profile and improve your appearance. They also make it easier to eat, chew, and speak regularly.

Dentures cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Most full dental insurance policies cover up to 50 percent of the cost of dentures.

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7 Types of Dentures

There are many different types of dentures available. They come in removable and fixed options. The best type for you depends on your oral health status and lifestyle.

1. Complete Dentures

Medical full dentures on white background

Complete dentures or full dentures are used to replace entire sets of teeth. Most dentists will try to save at least some natural teeth before recommending full dentures. But complete dentures are usually necessary if all other options have been exhausted.

Many people develop speech impediments with complete dentures. This is due to the thickness of the material covering the palate and poor neuromuscular control of the tongue and cheeks. The acrylic cannot be thinned significantly, as this will cause fractures over time.

Pros

  • Restore eating and chewing
  • Improve self-esteem and confidence
  • Maintain a fuller, more youthful appearance
  • Cost-effective

Cons

  • Require maintenance like relines and repairs
  • Retention of lower dentures declines over time
  • Can slip out of place when speaking or eating
  • A lisp may develop during the initial adjustment period 

2. Fixed Partial Dentures (Implant-Supported Bridge)

image 11

Fixed partial dentures (FPD) or implant-supported bridges replace a few missing teeth in a row with two dental implants and a prosthetic tooth or teeth in between. They are permanently glued or screwed into the mouth.

Implant-supported bridges are ideal for patients who have three or more missing teeth in a row. Unlike complete dentures and removable partial dentures, implant-supported bridges are not removable.

Pros

  • Improved esthetics
  • People typically feel more secure with fixed (permanent) dentures
  • Stronger than removable false teeth
  • Better bite 

Cons

  • Require surgery
  • The cost is higher than removable dentures
  • More difficult to keep clean (requires special floss)

3. Removable Partial Dentures

image 12

Removable partial dentures (RPD) only replace some missing teeth in your upper or lower jaw. RPDs can be removed at any time. They can restore the natural look, feel, and function of the teeth and surrounding tissues.

Partial dentures consist of false teeth and a gum-colored base made of acrylic. The base is attached to two or more clasps that hold the denture in place. Clasps are made of either metal or flexible pink plastic and hook onto the adjacent teeth for increased support.

Partial dentures are commonly recommended for people who aren’t good candidates for an implant-supported bridge. This includes people who can’t undergo surgery.

Pros

  • Durable due to the underlying metal framework
  • Easily removable for cleaning both the natural teeth and the denture itself
  • Don’t break easily
  • Cost-effective
  • Maintain the structural integrity of your mouth (i.e. prevent teeth shifting)

Cons

  • Can only be used to replace some missing teeth
  • Prone to plaque buildup if not cleaned properly
  • May have some metal clasps that show when smiling

4. Implant-Retained Dentures (Overdentures)

image 13

An overdenture, or implant-supported denture, is held in place on top of your gums by dental implants. Most overdentures are held in place with at least four implants, but this isn’t always the case. Overdentures can also be placed in the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. 

Overdentures have more stability and chewing function than conventional dentures. However, you must remove them every night to clean them and allow your gum tissues to rest, just like with conventional complete dentures.

Pros

  • Stable and robust
  • Won’t loosen while speaking
  • Good chewing ability
  • Comfortable, custom fit
  • Less bulky than traditional dentures

Cons

  • Invasive surgery
  • Increased treatment time
  • Expensive
  • May require a bone graft or sinus augmentation to support the denture implants
  • Attachments can become loose and require tightening

5. Immediate Dentures

image 14

Removable immediate dentures are placed immediately after your natural teeth are extracted.

These temporary dentures are ideal for patients who have sensitive gums and teeth. The denture can be worn for a few weeks before placing a permanent denture to provide a smoother transition. 

Pros

  • Provides a temporary solution for eating and talking after getting teeth extracted
  • Allows you to have teeth while your mouth is healing
  • Serves as a bandaid to help extraction sites heal, minimizing swelling and bleeding

Cons

  • Not a long-term solution
  • Not as natural looking as permanent dentures
  • Prone to breakage and bacteria buildup
  • Require multiple adjustments and, eventually, reline or replacement

6. All-On-4 Implant Dentures

Maxillary and Mandibular prosthesis with gum All on 4 system supported

All-On-4 implant dentures are ideal for patients who need a complete set of dentures. They replace all missing teeth in the upper and/or lower jaws using four dental implants per jaw. You cannot remove the denture yourself, but your dentist can.

Pros

  • More durable than traditional complete dentures
  • More secure than implant-supported dentures
  • Dentists can place temporary prostheses on the same day as the implant procedure

Cons

  • Dentists are the only ones who can remove them
  • Requires diet restrictions during the first three months until the final prosthesis is placed
  • More expensive than traditional dentures

7. Economy Dentures

Dentists don’t recommend economy dentures because they can harm your mouth and lead to poor oral hygiene. Economy dentures are premade, generic, and inexpensive.

Economy dentures aren’t custom-made for your mouth. They also require denture adhesive to keep them in place. 

Pros

  • More affordable than other types of dentures
  • Easily accessible

Cons

  • Unnatural looking
  • Less secure, requiring the use of denture adhesive
  • Can cause more harm to your oral health

How are Dentures Made?

Dentures can be made from materials such as acrylic, porcelain, and plastic. The material used is chosen based on the patient’s needs and preferences.

Here’s how dentures are made:

  1. A mold is created by making an impression of your mouth using plastic or wax. Your bite is recorded using a variety of devices. 
  2. The impressions and bite records are sent to a lab, where they’re placed in an articulator, allowing a technician to attach the false teeth with wax.
  3. A technician files down the wax to mimic your gums and fit the impressions.
  4. The dentures are placed in a 2-part mold called a flask before plaster is poured into it to maintain the denture’s shape.
  5. Acrylic resin is injected into the flask to replace the wax and is left to cure.
  6. The technician removes the plaster mold using special lab tools; any remaining acrylic and plaster are removed from the dentures.
  7. The dentures are cleaned and then polished using pumice.
  8. After polishing, the dentures are ready for a final fitting.

Why Do People Get Dentures?

Tooth loss is the main reason people get dentures. There are a few primary causes of tooth loss, including:

How to Take Care of Your Dentures

Without proper care, dentures can easily chip or crack. Additionally, failure to clean them regularly can lead to plaque buildup and bad breath.

Here’s how to practice proper denture care:

  1. At night, gently brush the dentures with a soft denture brush and liquid soap without microbeads (not toothpaste) to remove plaque.
  2. Removable dentures should be held over the sink with a small washcloth while brushing them to avoid breaking your dentures if dropped into the sink, the counter, or the floor.
  3. Soak them in a commercial denture cleaner overnight. In the morning, brush them again and wear them throughout the day.
  4. They can also be soaked overnight in white vinegar diluted with water to remove or prevent calculus formation.

When to Repair or Replace Dentures

You may need to repair or replace dentures when:

  • The dentures are cracked, chipped, broken, missing a tooth, or lose their shape
  • A bad smell and taste is coming from your dentures
  • You can’t chew or speak properly while wearing your dentures
  • The dentures are causing you pain or discomfort
  • Your dentures are loose and not fitting well in your mouth
  • It’s been more than 5 years since the last time you had your dentures replaced

Tips for Getting Used to Dentures

Here are some tips for adjusting to new dentures:

1. Follow Your Post-Op Instructions

Your dentist or prosthodontist will provide aftercare instructions. Make sure you follow them carefully to ensure proper healing and comfort.

If you have removable dentures, refrain from removing them too often. It’s essential to wear them throughout the day to get used to them quickly.

According to one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, Dr. Khushbu Aggarwal, it’s important to remember that it’ll take time to adjust to dentures (just like a new pair of shoes). Be patient and follow up with your dentist with any questions or concerns.

2. Only Eat Soft Foods at First

For the first few days post-op, only eat soft foods to prevent additional discomfort. According to Dr. Aggarwal, once you are more comfortable, you can cut harder foods into small pieces and eat them on both sides towards the back of your mouth. 

Never bite into an apple or a granola bar with your dentures, as it can cause them to dislodge.

3. Practice Speaking & Exercise Facial Muscles

Practice speaking aloud to exercise your facial muscles and prevent unwanted speech issues. Singing can also help you form words correctly.

4. Brush Your Dentures and Gums Regularly

Brush your dentures and gums regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and bad breath.

5. Use Denture Adhesive when Necessary

An adhesive can be used to soothe irritation. If your dentures aren’t fitting properly, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Adhesives can’t fix poorly-fitted dentures, says Dr. Aggarwal, and shouldn’t be used as a crutch.

Cost of Dentures & Insurance Coverage

Most full dental insurance policies cover at least some of the cost of dentures.

According to Carefree Dental, the cost depends on the chosen type and individual insurance coverage. Here’s the average cost of dentures without insurance:6

Complete denture$2,000-$3,000 (upper or lower, not both)
Temporary (Immediate) denture$1,500-$3,200 (upper or lower, not both)
Partial removable denture$650-$2,500 (upper or lower, not both)
Implant-retained denture (overdenture)$1,500-$4,000 (upper or lower, not both)
Snap-in denture$1,500-$4,000 (upper or lower, not both)

Does Medicare Cover Dentures?

Medicare doesn’t cover dentures or other dental devices like partial dentures. Medicare Advantage plans sold through private insurance companies may provide dentures and other dental care coverage.

Does Medicaid Cover Dentures?

Medicaid coverage varies by state. This document detailing Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits from the Center for Health Care Strategies Inc. provides an overview.

Contact your state’s Medicaid department for more information.

Last updated on May 8, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on May 8, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Bilhan et al. “Complication Rates and Patient Satisfaction with Removable Dentures.” The Journal of Advanced Prosthodontics, 2012.
  2. Complete Denture.” ScienceDirect Topics.
  3. Patzelt et al. “The All-on-Four Treatment Concept: Systematic Review.” Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research, 2014.
  4. Tooth Loss in Seniors.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2022.
  5. Upper Denture Savings.” Carefree Dental.
  6. How Much Do Dentures Cost Without Insurance.” Carefree Dental, 2021.
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