Types of Denture

By , January 29, 2012 11:34 pm


On this page:

  • Temporary Dentures
  • Pros and Cons of temporary, or immediate, dentures
  • Permanent Dentures
  • Partial Dentures / removable partial dentures
  • Flipper Teeth / Flippers
  • Full Dentures
  • What Material Dentures to Choose?
  • Acrylic Dentures
  • Chrome Dentures
  • Pros and cons of acrylic vs metal dentures


Temporary Dentures

After tooth extractions, everyone is prepared for a period of pain, but we assume that once the healing has taken place, everything will be back to normal. In fact, it can take around 6 months for your gums to settle into the shape and position they are likely to end up as. Having those teeth missing means that your mouth and jaw change slightly, which happens slowly over a period of time.

For this reason, a denture that fits perfectly at first after the tooth loss will, commonly, be very badly fitting 6 months later. Therefore many dentists will offer a temporary denture, also known as an immediate denture, as a solution to this problem. It can even be prepared in advance, so that you can put it in straight after the extraction, and walk out of the office with a brand new smile!

The fit is not guaranteed to be perfect, because if the impressions were done when the problematic teeth were still in place, then the denture technician has to guess what your exact gum position will be. If you are only having one tooth out, or have lived without teeth for some time and are in no rush to change that, then it might make more sense for you to wait for a permanent denture. But if you are scared of how self-conscious you might feel, with obviously missing teeth, one of your replacement teeth options is getting temporary dentures, which you can even receive straight after the surgery! Temporary dentures can even help to prevent tooth extraction complications, such as a dry socket after tooth extraction, which is an incredibly painful condition. Especially for smokers, wearing a temporary denture protects the wound and reduces the risk of dry sockets and other tooth extraction problems.

If you have an emergency tooth extraction, rather than a planned one, you will not be able to get a temporary denture the same day. However, acrylic dentures can be made relatively quickly, and you will not need to have visibly missing teeth for too long.

partial denture photo

Pros and Cons of temporary, or immediate, dentures


  • Getting temporary dentures means there is no need to spend several months without teeth, or with obvious gaps in your teeth, which can make people very self-conscious.
  • When you get your permanent dentures later, you can keep your temporary ones as spares.
  • Can help to protect against dry sockets and other tooth extraction complications.


  • They are very unlikely to last for more than a few months, and can be expensive.
  • They may be uncomfortable, especially at first
  • They might not be the 100% top quality you would expect from permanent dentures.

When you are confident enough with the information you have, and how it would apply to your life, talk to your dentist or dentist nurse to find out what options she or he offers and recommends for getting dentures for your individual situation.

Permanent Dentures

Permanent dentures are more long-lasting than the temporary dentures you might have worn first, and because the rate of bone loss slows over time, a good-fitting permanent denture, fitted 6 months after teeth were removed, is likely to fit for several years at least. In contrast, a denture fitted immediately after tooth extractions may fit for only a few months.

For this reason, most people are happy to spend more on getting their permanent denture than they did on a temporary one, to get one made with the best materials and techniques, which will ideally last a long time.

Permanent dentures can be expected to last between 5-7 years, with stories of some people wearing the same denture for more than 20 years! With good care, a 5-7 year lifespan is a very reasonable expectation  for use of your permanent dentures, so never scrimp on this purchase! During these years, you still need to see your dentist regularly, and may need to get the denture relined or adjusted if you develop sore spots or chewing problems at any stage.




Partial Dentures / removable partial dentures

Partial dentures are dentures which are designed to fill gaps in teeth, when a person still has some of their own teeth left. It might be that it is difficult to chew because you have lost most of your back teeth, or that you are too self-conscious to smile because you have missing front teeth, and in these cases, a partial denture can be built.

They look, and act, like full dentures, but the denture plate has gaps without false teeth attached, for where the person’s remaining natural teeth are. Partial dentures can be more stable than full ones, as they can be stabilized by the presence of the natural teeth. Some partial dentures also have metal clips which attach to the remaining teeth for stability.

The partial denture design will be matched exactly to a person’s mouth and gum shape, as well as their remaining teeth.

Flipper Teeth / Flippers

Flipper teeth is another name for a temporary, partial denture, as described above.

Full Dentures

Full dentures are dentures which are used when a person has lost all of the teeth in their mouth. It means they need a full upper and a full lower denture in order to improve the appearance and health of their mouth, as well as to make eating easier and more pleasurable.


What Material Dentures to Choose?

These days, dentures tend to be made from acrylic or cobalt chromium, both of which are relatively light and comfortable. Denture wearers must make a choice between the two materials, each of which has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Acrylic Dentures

Acrylic dentures are inexpensive, and as such can be a very good choice for temporary dentures, either after extractions, or while waiting for implants. Acrylic is a lightweight material, so the resulting denture is light, and coloured well to match a natural gum colour. Stainless steel clasps are sometimes used to attach to remaining teeth, to keep the denture securely in place. Acrylic false teeth cost so much less than chrome dentures that many people refuse to consider any other options!

However acrylic dentures can be quite bulky, and also brittle – if they are dropped they can break and be impossible to repair, even by a dentist. The bulkiness can feel very unnatural to a new user, and if it covers most of the palate, this can even affect the sense of taste in the mouth. For these reasons, after an acrylic immediate denture, people often choose a chrome denture for their permanent. dentists photo xray x-ray

Chrome dentures

Cobalt chromium, or chrome, dentures, are similar to acrylic dentures in terms of the false teeth and the pink, acrylic gums. However, where an acrylic denture will have a large, pink acrylic palate, the palate on a chrome denture is thinner, smaller, and stronger. They frequently provide a better fit, can cause less discomfort and are very durable.

Sadly it’s not all good news. Chrome dentures are considerably more expensive, and take longer to create and, if a full denture is required, this is not only very expensive but, depending on the shape of your palate, can also be very heavy. Your dentist will be able to advise you on this. Another problem that some people who wear chrome dentures can face is that the metal of the cobalt denture is more visible than the pink of the acrylic ones. However, the increased cost of false teeth with chrome is considered by many to be entirely worth the investment.

Pros and cons of acrylic vs metal dentures

In their favour, chrome dentures are thin, smaller in the mouth, last for a long time, and fit better, causing less pain and discomfort.

However they are also expensive, heavy, and more visible to others.

In favour of acrylic dentures, they are cheap, available quickly, light, and unnoticeable.

However, they are also more bulky and easier to break.

Getting dentures is a big decision, with important things to consider. It is up to each individual to make their own choices about what features in a denture are important to them, in consultation with their dentist or orthodontist.

Dentures 101

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt6yR7ydH2Q&feature=player_embeddedA great introduction to dentures is here by Dr Mark Linhttpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt6yR7ydH2Q



Hello, my name is Dr Mark Lin, a prosthodontist in Toronto, Canada. Today’s topic I would like to discuss would be on the topic of dentures. Frequently, patients ask about dentures, and what are they. Dentures are essentially a manmade fabricated prosthesis to replace a full arch of missing teeth. In this particular model it is showing a ridge without any of the natural teeth, and an acrylic denture is fabricated to fit over the remaining ridge, the remaining jawbone. Essentially, when the upper and lower are made together, it is to simulate both function and aesthetics for the patients to replace their natural teeth. There are some compromises related to the dentures, of which we may have problems in terms of stability, support and retention, however this is an economical way to replace all the missing teeth in the prosthesis.



(Photo Credits: Alexey, JASFUS, Klementiev and sylbohec)

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