False Teeth

Evidence Based
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What are False Teeth (Dentures)?

False teeth are otherwise known as dentures. They are removable false teeth produced with acrylic plastic, metal, or nylon. 

The fake “teeth” in dentures are usually made of plastic or porcelain. The fake “gums” are made of acrylics. The only exception to this is the implant-supported hybrid prosthesis, which is made of zirconia.

The materials used to produce dentures are more delicate than natural teeth. If dropped or poorly cared for, dentures can easily chip or crack.

The supporting frame of dentures that holds the false teeth in place resembles the natural gum line. This structure is usually created from a similar acrylic resin. Or, a more flexible polymer material is used, which fits comfortably on the natural gum line.

How False Teeth Work

Dentures sit over the gums to replace missing teeth or to remove any potential issues caused by gaps. They also help prevent problems with eating and speaking. Complete dentures can also improve the look of your smile and boost your confidence.


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With time, dentures must be relined, remade, or rebased due to changes in the underlying gums and jawbone. Rebasing requires creating a new base while keeping the current set of artificial teeth.

As you age, your mouth naturally changes. These adjustments can cause dentures to loosen. This can make eating difficult, and it can be irritating to the gums too.

At a minimum, a patient wearing dentures should visit their dental technician at least once a year for an oral health checkup.

Indicators for False Teeth

Tooth loss occurs over time. However, dentures don’t have to be an option for many patients who practice good oral hygiene and have regular checkups with a general dentist.

Below are some indicators that you may require dentures in the future:

  • Visiting the dentist for a checkup is not a regular part of your dental health routine
  • You experience chronic toothaches
  • You have red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
  • You have one or more missing teeth
  • You struggle to eat and chew certain foods
  • You have frequent indigestion
  • You often hide your smile due to lost or damaged teeth

Dentures can improve the look of a smile that has several missing teeth. They can also keep the structure of the mouth steady by supporting the shape of the cheeks and the lips.

False teeth also make it possible to consume foods that require chewing. This allows patients to follow a healthy and nourishing diet consisting of different types of foods.

Dentures are an efficient solution in replacing teeth that cause severe pain and oral health problems, like gum disease or tooth decay. When dentures fit, troublesome teeth are removed and replaced with a strong and attractive alternative.

Types of False Teeth

There are several types of dentures, including:

Complete Dentures (Full Set)

Complete dentures are also known as full dentures. Complete dentures are fitted if all of your upper or lower teeth need to be removed. If you need to get old complete dentures replaced, you will be provided with a new full set of teeth.

removable full implant denture

For cosmetic reasons, a complete set of artificial teeth is often fitted as soon as the natural teeth are removed.

The complete dentures fit comfortably over your gums and jawbone. If you have false teeth fitted immediately after the removal of some teeth, the bone and gums will adjust in shape relatively quickly. The dentures will likely need to be relined or remade after a few months.

Sometimes, your gums may need several months to heal and mold in shape before dentures can be fitted.

A trial denture will be produced from the impressions taken of your mouth. The dental technician will try to fit this sample denture into your mouth to check the fit for you. This also gives you a chance to assess the appearance. The shape and color can be changed before the final set of dentures is created.

Partial Dentures 

Partial dentures fill in the gaps resulting from one or several missing teeth. Partial dentures consist of a plastic, nylon, or metal plate with several false teeth attached.

removable partial denture lower jaw

Partial dentures usually clip onto some of your remaining teeth using metal or plastic clasps. These metal clasps hold the partial dentures securely in place in your mouth.

Partial dentures can be unclipped and removed with ease. Sometimes, the clips are produced of a tooth or gum-colored material. However, these types of dentures can be quite fragile compared to metal options.

Your dentist can measure your mouth and can provide a partial denture for you. 

Fake Teeth Alternatives

There are some alternatives to dentures that some patients may find more attractive:

Dental Implants 

Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth. A metal screw is set into the jawbone before a false replacement tooth is set. This replacement root fuses with the jawbone.

jaw with teeth and dental molar implant

Dental implants can replace any number of teeth. A patient can have one dental implant, a full set, or anything in between.

However, dental implants offer the look and feel of natural teeth. They can last for years or even decades without the need for repair or replacement.

Dental implants are significantly more expensive than false teeth. They aren’t affordable for everyone. As a dental implant requires surgery, this raises the cost when compared to dentures or fixed bridges. 

Dental Bridges

Fixed bridges are another popular alternative to dentures. Dental bridges consist of false teeth that are set in place by a dental crown. This dental crown cements to neighboring teeth or an implant with denture adhesive.

jaw and implants with dental bridge

Dental bridges allow false teeth to fix adjacent existing teeth to hold them securely in place. Therefore, the remaining teeth must be in healthy condition.


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Resources

Edentulism and Tooth Retention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/OHSR-2019-edentulism-tooth-retention.html

Considerations for the Use of Dental Implants With Removable Partial Dentures, Removal partial prosthodontics, 2011, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323069908000257 

Dentures, MedlinePlus, 2015, https://medlineplus.gov/dentures.html

Types of dentures, Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, 2006, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279192/ 

Taking care of your teeth and mouth, National Institute on aging, 2020, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/taking-care-your-teeth-and-mouth

Updated on: September 3, 2020
Author
Ellie Swain
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Medically Reviewed: August 6, 2020
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Lara Coseo
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