If you’re clueless about the types of dentures and which one will suit you, this chapter is for you. There are various types of dentures you can choose from as per your budget and situation. The best part about getting dentures is customizability.
You can pick from a wide variety of options from removable to fixed to full or partial to acrylic, porcelain, or metal. This chapter will tell you all about them.
When we hear dentures it reminds us of old people in cartoons with their dentures in water by their beds. Well, those aren’t the only ones. But what about types of dentures?
Permanent dentures are surgically attached to the jaw to replace missing teeth. They can last for years and function as real teeth. They also last for a longer period than other versions because they come with implants. They are also known as denture implants and are more successful on the lower jaw arch.
There are two types of dentures: fixed and non-fixed. Fixed dentures are the same as permanent dentures because you cannot remove them. Dentists often attach them to the jaw with the help of 4 to 6 metal implants. They affix the dentures in place so that they do not move and cause adjustment issues.
Although not advisable, some dentists also use denture adhesives to place fixed dentures. Dental glue often makes dentures unstable quickly and they do not last more than a few months. Fixed dentures are available for partial and full teeth replacement both.
Here is a list of fixed dentures that you can find for your dental needs:
- Fixed acrylic dentures
- Fixed hybrid denture
- Implant-supported dentures
- Hybrid dentures
Fixed acrylic dentures
Also known as plastic dentures, Acrylic fixed dentures are common nowadays. They are not the same as removable acrylics because they are not detachable. Most dental clinics attach all-on-4 implants underneath the dentures to hold them together. Unlike removable acrylics, they are more practical because you do not need to remove them. Furthermore, they are quite affordable and last longer than removable ones.
Hybrid fixed denture
Another type of denture common nowadays is a hybrid fixed denture. This type of denture also takes a fixed approach to denture attachment. It provides an all-on-4 implant structure underneath the jaw to hold the dentures in place. Two different types of restoration materials are used in hybrid dentures. For instance, dentures can be acrylic-made and the implant can be gold or titanium. It is a combination of two materials, so customization is possible.
In the past, dentures were only used as removable prosthetic teeth. Today, with upgraded technology they give you a more reliable teeth replacement solution. They are now fixable and come with durable implants that support them from the root. Modern-day dentures are more about fixing your smile inside out. Implant-supported dentures on average can last 5 years longer than standard removable ones.
There are plenty of denture varieties available these days. Overdentures are one of the newer versions of removable dentures. They are a lot like traditional removable dentures but come with implants. The implants provide posts to hold the dentures together and serve in place of real teeth. You can also remove them whenever you want by attaching the implant posts together. In many ways, they are a modern take on conventional removable dentures but they do not cover the upper mouth palate. This also makes them way more comfortable to wear.
These are detachable types of dentures that work best for people with extreme teeth loss. Acrylics are more common for this type of denture, making it more cost-effective. All-on-4 or all-on-6 implants keep the upper and lower dentures fixed in place. The prosthetic teeth are acrylic-made whereas the implant posts are titanium or gold.
Also known as detachable dentures, these types of dentures are removable whenever you need to. They are the more conventional type of dentures without implant support. Their purpose is to replace missing teeth, more so, for the patient to be able to eat and speak like before. Acrylics are more common for this type of denture and it is customizable. They are also available as ready-to-wear prosthetics but such dentures do not fit well. Fitting irregularities can cause many dental issues such as sore gums, bone loss, etc. Following is a list of removable dentures available for different dental situations:
- Partial denture (removable partial dentures)
- Flexible dentures
- Economy dentures
Partial denture (removable partial dentures)
A removable partial denture is one that holds a prosthetic bridge together. It replaces more than one missing tooth in a row. It stays in one place through a metal clasp that allows the removal of the denture. You can find them in acrylic material, porcelain, or composite. The base is resin material that looks like real gums. One must wear them at least 7 to 8 hours a day and take them off before sleeping.
These dentures offer a couple of advantages. Unlike conventional dentures, these do not contain a metal clasp for attaching. The primary material in the base of this denture is nylon or thin thermoplastics. They are comfortable to wear because the base is soft and sticks easily to the gums. They do not feel tight and are easy to remove. They also work great for people who are allergic to acrylics.
They are among the most affordable type of dentures. Economy dentures are generic dentures ready for attachment in one dental sitting. The downside of having these dentures is that they come in one standard color and shape, so customization is not possible. They may be affordable but since they are not customizable they do not fit well and cause many dental issues.
Also known as immediate dentures, dentists place them after tooth extractions temporarily. They are worn only for a limited period of time until the final dentures arrive. They are ready-made dentures that’s why they may not fit you well and move around a lot. The constant movement may induce a gag reflex and make you feel uncomfortable. They are usually worn for 6 months until the final dentures arrive and are not removable. Types of temporary dentures include:
- Removable denture
- Removable partial denture
- Temporary removable denture
- Temporary removable partial denture
- Immediate dentures
They are partial or complete prosthetic teeth that are removable. The full ones come with a base made of nylon, metal, or acrylic that can stick to the roof of your mouth. You can also find snap-in full removable dentures these days. They are much easier to use and do not move around a lot which means that you do not have to fix their position repeatedly. Your oral health can deteriorate if you do not clean your mouth and dentures enough. We also recommend you not wear them for more than 8 hours and take them off before sleeping.
Removable partial denture
This is a denture that can help you if you are missing two or more consecutive teeth. They restore your smile and improve the aesthetics of your smile. Metal clasps are present at the base of the prosthetic gums to attach them on top of the socket. Some partial dentures do not have a metal framework and look completely natural. They have something called “Precision attachments” for the attachment of the denture.
Temporary removable denture
They are detachable dentures dentists give you after extractions. They are for temporary use until you get your final set of dentures. They are given just so you can eat, speak and smile without any hindrance. They also help your gums heal while you wait for your permanent dentures. They come in different materials, and the most common ones are nylon, acrylic, and metal. They stick naturally to the roof of your mouth but if you have a dry mouth, you may need denture adhesives.
Temporary removable partial denture
As the name says, it is for partial teeth and not for full teeth. Dentists recommend you get them if you are missing only a few teeth. They are temporary partial teeth for you until you get your final dentures. They consist of an easy-to-use metal framework to remove and attach the denture whenever needed. Dentists usually ask you to wear these dentures for at least 3 to 6 months until your final dentures arrive.
Temporary fixed denture
These are also for temporary use until your final dentures arrive. They are fixed temporarily to your jaw so you can eat, speak and smile without any problems. Although it takes a while for your jaw to get used to them, you eventually learn to work with them. Dentists secure them in place with adhesives so they can last until your final dentures are ready. They are not custom-made so we do not recommend you wear them longer than needed.
Temporary partial fixed denture
This is a temporary type of denture one needs to replace a few missing or damaged teeth. Dentists place them temporarily after extractions with denture adhesives. They are needed for the functionality of teeth until the new and final dentures are ready. Their measurements are less than ideal because they are ready-made and only work temporarily. We do not recommend you wear them longer than the time your dentist suggests.
They are ready-made dentures that the dentists place immediately after extractions. They do not need customization as they are generic. There is no waiting time for this type of denture, so you do not need more than one dental appointment. They are good for temporary use only – not more than 6 months. In most cases, they are removable and come with a metal framework to detach and attach them. Dental intervention is necessary if you want to continue wearing them as your final dentures.
Denture material types
In this day and age, you can find a wide variety of materials for dentures. Gone are the days when the only material available was acrylic. Today, you can choose from an array of options from acrylic to porcelain to nylon, porcelain, and composite. Here is a comprehensive list of denture materials and what each one offers:
- Acrylic dentures
- Porcelain Dentures
- Nylon dentures
- Acrylic-resin dentures
- Composite dentures
- Titanium dentures
This is one of the oldest types of material available for dentures. Acrylic is a type of plastic that is easy to mold to make it look like real teeth. The entire prosthetic from the teeth to the gums is Acrylic-made. It is the most popular choice for dentures because they are less pricier than the other materials. The biggest downside of getting acrylic dentures is that they don’t look as natural as porcelain or composite. They also don’t last that long because acrylic tends to degrade faster. Also, many people are allergic to acrylic too so it is better to discuss this with your dentist beforehand.
These dentures are popular for giving the most natural aesthetics. Porcelain is a mixture of ceramics and glass giving the most realistic-looking restoration. It is much harder than other materials so it can endure high bite force. It is not ideal for people with extreme bone loss because it tends to put more pressure on the jaws and gums. They are a bit expensive since they are much more durable and give the most natural results. This combination is hard to find with other denture materials.
These dentures are popular because of their sleek and thin design. Nylon and thermoplastics are the main components used to create their base. The best part about these dentures is that they are not as heavy as acrylic or metal ones. Because of nylon, they are flexible and do not feel very tight against the gums. They work well for partial replacements and blend well with the rest of your teeth. They can be a bit more expensive because of their practical design.
Acrylic resin dentures
This is a type of acrylic denture with a base made of resin or better known as Poly (methyl methacrylate). They are more suitable when someone needs an artificial gumline. It is easier to fabricate realistic-looking gums by using acrylic resin. They are cost-effective and do not take long to prepare. Studies also say that patients face fewer adjustment complications. Resin can be a bit rigid for the jaw so there are higher chances of gum problems, bone loss, and gag reflex.
This is another affordable choice for patients when they are missing a couple or most of their teeth. They provide a full or partial set of artificial teeth made of composite materials. Their base has a metal framework and they are somewhat smaller than acrylic dentures. The metal framework may cause problems for gums and alveolar bone in the long run.
These dentures come with a robust but thin framework. The base is made of 100% titanium that holds the denture together. They are preferable for removable dentures because metals can be rigid for the jawbone. The biggest advantage of titanium dentures is that they are biocompatible and non-allergenic. Thus, anyone can get them without worrying about possible allergic reactions. Since metal can be a bit rigid for your jawbone, it may not work well for people with extreme bone loss.
How long do dentures last?
We cannot give you an exact answer to this because a denture’s life span depends on its material and quality. Here is a table representing the average life span of each denture according to types of dentures:
|Denture material||Denture type||Durability|
|Acrylic||Full dentures||3 – 5 years|
|Acrylic||Partial dentures||2 – 3 years|
|Porcelain dentures||Full dentures||5 – 10 years|
|Porcelain dentures||Partial dentures||10 – 15 years|
|Metal dentures||Full dentures||3 – 5 years|
|Metal dentures||Partial dentures||5 – 10 years|
|Nylon/flexible dentures||Full dentures||1 – 3 year|
|Nylon/flexible dentures||Partial dentures||3 – 5 years|
Which dentures last longer?
The average life span of complete dentures is 5 to 10 years while partial dentures can last for at least 15 years. In comparison, porcelain dentures tend to last longer than acrylic ones because they are sturdier. They have higher shock absorption and they tend to wear down slower than acrylic dentures. Thus, the degradation of acrylic starts much earlier than porcelain. The lifespan of a denture also depends on how well you take care of them. If you ignore your oral health and do not visit your dentist for regular check-ups, your dentures may deteriorate faster.
What are dentures made of?
The most common materials used for dentures are plastic (generally acrylic resin) or porcelain.
The translucent appearance of porcelain is similar to a natural tooth. They can be produced in a color that matches your teeth. They may be a better option in some cases like if a full denture is required. However, when making this decision, it should be taken into account that porcelain is heavier as a material. So it may not be a suitable option for everyone. They are also more fragile than resin. Due to its hard structure, there is a possibility of breakage and chipping. They can also break your natural teeth, so they need to be used more carefully.
Those made of acrylic resin, on the other hand, wear more easily, although they are less likely to crack and break. Also, they are less expensive and their pedestals are easier to fit and adjust. Since it is not as hard as porcelain, it is more comfortable and will be more suitable for bridges.
Both acrylic resin and porcelain require a base to hold the denture. This is called a plate. The materials that this plate can be made from are plastics like polyester, acrylic resin, or metals like chrome and cobalt. Acrylic resin is known for its ability to better mimic the structure of natural gum. They usually carry an artificial tooth-gingival border. On the other hand, metal ones fit better and are preferred for partial dentures.
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2- Tangerud, T., Grønningsaeter, A. G., & Taylor, A. (2002). Fixed partial dentures supported by natural teeth and Brånemark system implants: a 3-year report. The International journal of oral & maxillofacial implants, 17(2), 212–219.
3- De Kok, I. J., Chang, K. H., Lu, T. S., & Cooper, L. F. (2011). Comparison of three-implant-supported fixed dentures and two-implant-retained overdentures in the edentulous mandible: a pilot study of treatment efficacy and patient satisfaction. The International journal of oral & maxillofacial implants, 26(2), 415–426.