Types of Dentures

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Dentures: How They Work & Indicators For Treatment

Dentures are fake teeth that replace some or all of a patient’s missing natural teeth. Natural aging, untreated gum disease, facial injuries, and poor oral hygiene can result in tooth loss.

Adults over 65 years of age are the most common age group that needs dentures. This is because tooth loss is more common as you age. Younger patients are also candidates for treatment, but this is rare. 

9 Types of Dentures

Dentures come in both removable and fixed forms.

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To help determine which denture is best for you, we compiled a list of the most common types of dentures available. 

If you only need a few teeth replaced, partial dentures are a great option. However, if you are missing all of your teeth, an implant-supported denture or complete denture may be necessary.

1. Traditional Complete Dentures (Full Dentures or Removable Dentures)

Complete dentures, also called full dentures, are removable prosthetic teeth that replace your entire set of teeth. Full dentures are used when a patient has no teeth remaining in their upper and/or lower jaws. 

complete set of dentures on white background

Complete dentures consist of two parts, including the artificial teeth and the denture base. The artificial teeth are typically made of plastic teeth porcelain. Porcelain teeth are much more expensive and would be an "upgrade" to traditional dentures. The denture base is made of acrylic resins; it mimics the appearance of natural gum tissues and the underlying bone, but it does not restore function.

Dentures should be routinely checked each year. In addition to regular checkups, complete dentures should be replaced after 5 to 7 years to prevent an improper fit.

Complete dentures cost $1300-$3000 per arch.

2. Removable Partial Dentures

Removable partial dentures replace a few missing teeth in your upper or lower jaw. If you still have some natural teeth remaining, removable partial dentures are an excellent option. Removable partial dentures consist of false teeth and a gum-colored base that is made of acrylics. The base is attached to two or more clasps that hold the denture in place. Clasps are made of either metal or a flexible pink plastic.

removable partial denture lower jaw

Removable dentures are most often used to restore some missing back teeth (premolars and molars). They can also replace front teeth or a mixture of some front and back teeth.

Partial dentures cost $650-$2500 per arch.

3. Fixed Dental Bridge (Implant-Supported)

A fixed dental bridge is similar to a partial denture, except it is not removable. Fixed bridges consist of dental implants that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Tooth-colored porcelain crowns are attached to the implants. Implant-supported bridges are ideal for patients who have three or more missing teeth in a row. 

jaw and implants with dental bridge

Implant-supported dental bridges cost $2500-$6000 per implant. 

4. Temporary Dentures (Immediate Dentures)

Temporary dentures, also called immediate dentures, are placed into the mouth directly after a tooth extraction procedure. Their primary purpose is to eliminate the period of time when the patient has "no teeth.” Temporary dentures do not provide good chewing and speaking until the patient has completely healed from surgery and adapted to the dentures.

After healing, temporary dentures are capable of handling normal eating and chewing pressures for a short time. 

Immediate dentures are also 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. 

There are two types of temporary dentures available, including conventional and interim immediate dentures. Conventional immediate dentures are more natural looking than interim dentures, which are cheaply made and meant to only last a few months at best.

Temporary dentures cost $1500-$3200 per arch. 

5. Overdentures

An overdenture, also called an 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 is not always the case. Overdentures can also be placed in the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both. 

Implant dentures are stable, natural-looking, and removable. They are also more comfortable and better for your oral health than traditional dentures.

The main disadvantage of overdentures is that the procedure is invasive and expensive. There is also a longer recovery time for patients. However, implant-supported dentures can last a long time with proper care (up to 10 years). 

There are three types of implant-supported overdentures available, including:

  • Bar-retained implant dentures (removable)
  • Implant-retained dentures (with gum support)
  • Fixed implant-supported dentures (not removable)

Overdentures cost $1500-$4000 per arch. 

6. Snap-In Dentures

Snap-in dentures, also called snap-on dentures, are other names for removable implant-supported overdentures. Snap-on dentures are held in place by dental implants that are screwed into your jawbone. In most cases, two to four implants keep the denture in place. However, up to 10 implants can be inserted. 

After the implants are surgically inserted into the bone, you can snap on the implant-supported denture. The overdenture can be removed at any time, but the implants cannot.

Snap-in dentures cost $1500-$4000 per arch. 

7. All-On-4 Implant Dentures

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

All-On-4 implants are more durable and stay in place better than traditional complete dentures. They are also more natural-looking than implant-supported dentures because they do not require the fullness and bulkiness that overdentures and traditional dentures do. 

In most cases, dentists can place All-On-4 implants and load them with a temporary dental bridge on the same day. Patients will have diet restrictions for three months until the final bridge is placed.

All-On-4 implants can cost $50,000-$60,000 for both the upper and lower jaws. While expensive, an All-On-4 implant denture is cheaper than getting individual implants placed throughout your entire mouth. 

8. Custom Dentures

All dentures are custom-made for each patient. However, you can also have your dentures made with more expensive materials, like porcelain teeth. Acrylic resins are the cheapest denture material, while titanium and cast metal are typically the most expensive. 

Custom dentures can cost up to $15,000 per arch. 

9. Economy Dentures

Economy dentures are a premade, generic, and inexpensive type of denture. They are not custom-made for your mouth, and the replacement teeth do not look natural. A denture adhesive is also necessary to keep the dentures in place. 

Dentists do not recommend economy dentures because they can harm your mouth and lead to poor oral hygiene. 

Economy dentures cost $300-$600 per arch. 

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Resources

Bilhan, Hakan, et al. Complication Rates and Patient Satisfaction with Removable Dentures. May 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381202/.

“Complete Denture.” Complete Denture - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/complete-denture.

Devlin, Hugh. Complete Dentures: a Clinical Manual for the General Dental Practitioner. Springer, 2012.

Owen, P. Fundamentals of Removable Partial Dentures. UCT Press, 2001.

Pan, Yu-Hwa, et al. “Dental Implant-Retained Mandibular Overdenture Therapy: A Clinical Study of Patients' Response.” Journal of Dental Sciences, vol. 9, no. 2, 2014, pp. 118–124., doi:10.1016/j.jds.2013.12.001.

Rangarajan, V., and T. V. Padmanabhan. Textbook of Prosthodontics- E-Book. Elsevier India, 2017.

Soto-Penaloza, David, et al. “The All-on-Four Treatment Concept: Systematic Review.” Journal of Clinical and 

Experimental Dentistry, Medicina Oral S.L., 1 Mar. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5347302/.

Syrbu, John DDS. The Complete Pre-Dental Guide to Modern Dentistry. 2013.

“Tooth Loss in Seniors.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/tooth-loss/seniors.

Updated on: September 28, 2020
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Alyssa Hill
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