Full dentures, sometimes called “complete” dentures, are removable appliances that replace all of the natural teeth in the top or bottom jaw. In addition to replacing missing teeth, a full denture provides support for cheeks and lips, which helps to maintain a youthful appearance.

The base of a full denture is made of pink acrylic to look like gum tissue. The teeth are made of tooth-colored acrylic or porcelain and are inserted into the base. The dentures are held in place in the mouth by forming suction with the gums. For greater stability, dentures can be held in place by attaching them to dental implants that have been surgically placed in the bone of the jaw.

There are two types of full dentures:

  • Conventional dentures are made and inserted after all teeth have been removed and gum tissues have had time to heal. Fabricating a denture in this way is extremely accurate. However, healing could take a few months, and, unless you already have a denture, you would be without teeth during this time.
  • Immediate dentures are inserted immediately following tooth extraction. Before your teeth are removed, the dentist takes measurements and has a denture fitted for your mouth. When the teeth are removed, the denture is immediately placed in your mouth. The advantage is that you don’t have to spend any time without teeth. As your mouth heals, however, your denture will have to be refit and tightened.

It may take some time to adjust to the feeling of having dentures in your mouth, but, once you’ve gotten used to them, they will feel completely natural.

A high quality denture that has been carefully handcrafted with contemporary state-of-the-art materials and wear-resistant teeth should last five to ten years but may benefit from relining every three to five years.