Home / Blog / Understanding Dentures: Types, Process, and Limitations
You are currently viewing Understanding Dentures: Types, Process, and Limitations

Dentures are meant to act as functional replacements for teeth that have been lost or damaged beyond repair. Tooth loss can happen due to a variety of causes, including but not limited to advanced gum disease, injury, and natural aging processes. Just as the cause of tooth loss is variable and different for each individual, so are the types of dentures that are available as treatment options. Each one has certain cases that they are best suited to treating, and a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

What are dentures?

types of dentures

What are dentures anyways? And how do dentures work? Dentures are artificial teeth that can be used when an individual loses their natural teeth due to injury, disease, or aging. Poor mouth care can be the root cause of some oral diseases, including periodontitis. 

They can replace all of the teeth and even some of the gums and surrounding tissues if necessary due to root decay, but can also just be used to replace a few missing teeth. Dentures can also be permanently fixed in the mouth, or they can be removed as unnecessary depending on a patient’s wants and needs.

How do dentures work?

At the most basic level, dentures work by replacing the structure and function of natural teeth. They can restore the appearance of having natural teeth, as well as allow individuals who have lost their teeth to bite and chew food in a way that would not otherwise be possible with missing teeth. Some dentures are removable and fit over the remaining teeth and other tissues in the mouth, while other types of dentures are permanently bonded in place. Both serve the same purpose in the end, but they differ slightly in their stability and strength. While both removable and permanent dentures can improve the ability to chew food, permanent dentures are more stable than their removable counterparts and allow for a stronger bite.

Who is a candidate for dentures?

Many individuals visiting the dentist for teeth loss are suitable candidates for dentures. However, there are some cases in which dentures might not be the most sensible treatment option. For instance, if someone has only lost one tooth, or a couple of teeth on the same side of the mouth, dentures would likely not be the best choice. A single tooth could likely be replaced by an implant, and given that partial dentures span the entire width of the mouth this could be uncomfortable and less than ideal for someone who has only lost teeth on one side of their mouth. Another situation in which dentures might not work is if a patient does not have enough bone left in their jaw for dentures to rest on or if they have other deformities of the mouth and jaw structure due to past oral cancer and facial reconstruction surgery.

Who is a candidate for dentures

Aside from individuals who fall into the categories listed above, those who have experienced teeth loss should consider dentures as a potential treatment option to restore the look and function of their teeth.

What are the different types of dentures?

Thankfully for patients who are looking into getting dentures, there are multiple types of dentures- not just the complete set of traditional dentures that might initially pop into your mind.

Traditional dentures

what are traditional dentures

Traditional dentures are a complete set of dentures that are meant to replace all of the teeth. These dentures are removable and fit over the patient’s gums. They can be customized, but even with this, the patient’s chewing and even speaking abilities might not be restored to the level of function that they had prior to losing their teeth and replacing them with dentures.

Partial dentures

what are partial dentures

As their name suggests, partial dentures do not replace an entire set of teeth. There are different types of partial dentures, as these dentures can either be removable or fixed. The removable type can be taken in and out as desired, while fixed partial dentures use some of the remaining teeth as anchors. These are also known as implant-supported bridges and are secured with metal posts that are embedded in the jaw. What are permanent dentures? As the name implies, permanent dentures cannot be removed, and fixed partial dentures are a type of permanent dentures.

Snap in dentures

what are snap in dentures

Snap in dentures fall somewhere in between fixed dentures and conventional dentures in terms of their permanence. They still require that implants be placed in the jaw, but the dentures then “snap” into these posts rather than being permanently fixed to them. This gives them more security than conventional dentures and allows individuals to chew tougher foods than would be possible with traditional removable dentures. Additionally, these have a bit of a more natural look than removable dentures.

Custom dentures

Custom dentures allow patients to ensure that their dentures are fitted appropriately to their mouth, which gives them a more natural appearance and improved functionality. Most types of dentures, whether conventional, partial, or snap-in, have the option to be customized. Immediate dentures are essentially the opposite of custom dentures- what exactly are immediate dentures? These are a type of dentures that can be used immediately following the removal of the teeth, meaning that they won’t be custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth.

Pros and cons of dentures

Some of the pros and cons of dentures are fairly obvious, but understanding them can help patients considering dentures as a potential option to make the correct decision. In the event that the patient themself may not be able to comprehend their options fully, denture information for caregivers is essential to understand.




Dentures cannot prevent bone loss. While they can restore some of the mouth and jaw function, they cannot stop the progression of tissue deterioration.

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the majority of dental care, including dentures.

If you go to your dentist to tell them “I don’t have wisdom teeth”, they will tell you to not worry about anything as it is not a problem. In fact, if your wisdom teeth don’t come in by the time you hit 25 years, you will skip some pain and a recovery. For some people, wisdom teeth may take a lot longer to come, while others may never get them. However, it is highly recommended to keep regular dental visits so that you’re sure they are not impacted.

So what are dentures made of? Partial dentures are most commonly made out of an acrylic or metal base. Acrylic dental dentures tend to be cheaper than their metal counterparts but are also usually more bulky and require a more extensive cleaning regimen. On the other hand, partial metal dentures typically have a smaller profile and a more natural look to them but are also usually more expensive.

Dentures are made by taking an impression of your mouth (including any remaining teeth) and your jaw and then using that impression as a model for the construction of your dentures. The construction process depends on the type of dentures being made and the type of material that is being used. Still, each method typically involves taking an initial impression of the teeth.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Brenda Post

    I’m desperate to find a dentist to who can provide me with Snap in Denture’s. I’m 7 yrs with dentures that are loose on top and have never been able to wear. I’m miserable not to mention the horrible affects to my appearance and I can’t find anything affordable!!!! PLEASE HELP. I CAN’T AFFORD MORE THAN 3,000 OUT OF POCKET. I’m 62 yrs, disabled and live on my own. I’m so depressed over all this. I have been trying to find away for this for 4 years. Please.

Leave a Reply