Full Dentures – In-Depth Review

Table of Contents

full dentures

Overview

Full dentures are false teeth that provide a solution for individuals who have lost teeth from a variety of causes.

The false teeth are attached to a base made from acrylic which is made to look like natural gums.

This enables individuals to appear as if they have a complete set of teeth, and allows them to eat, speak, and smile normally, and improves their appearance and self-esteem.

Are you thinking of getting full dentures? In this article, we take a deep dive and look at everything you need to know when getting complete dentures.


Summary

There are many benefits and disadvantages to dentures. Here is a short summary of the good and not-so-good aspects of dentures:

Positives

Dentures enable you to eat, speak, smile and participate in regular activities as if you had a full set of natural teeth.
Dentures, depending on the quality, look much like natural teeth. In most cases, it is difficult to identify a denture wearer.
Dentures are good for your self-esteem. They build confidence and improve your self-image since you are less concerned with your appearance.

Negatives

Dentures, of good quality, are not cheap. They can cost a lot and, if not well cared for, may not last very long meaning you could have many sets in your lifetime.
Dentures are fragile. They need to be carefully handled and stored properly overnight in a cleaning solution to keep them from drying out.
Dentures are more work to keep clean than natural teeth. They also require the use of special cleaning products like soft-bristled toothbrushes and specially formulated toothpastes and cleaning solutions.

Denture Pricing

There are a few factors that determine the cost of dentures. The primary variables are the materials and processes used in making them.

The average price for a set of traditional, full dentures is about $1,800. However, low-cost dentures will cost between $300 and $500 per plate, and a complete set of uppers and lowers costs between $600 and $1,000.

As for mid-priced dentures, a complete set will cost between $1,000 and $3,000 with a single upper or lower costing between $500 and $1,500.

Premium dentures made from top-quality materials will price out at between $4,000 and $8,000 for a complete set and from $2,000 to $4,000 per plate.

The cost of tooth extraction averages between $75 and $200 per tooth. Impacted teeth cost between $800 and $4,000 per tooth. Additional costs may include x-rays, which average around $50.

Naturally, denture pricing depends a lot on your personal circumstances and differs between individual dentists.


Other Types of Dentures

There are several types of dentures. They include:

Traditional Complete Full Dentures

complete dentures

These dentures sit on top of the gums and completely replace a row of teeth. These are used where dental bridges are not possible or will not be effective. Traditional complete full dentures require all of a patient’s teeth to be removed and that usually occurs 8 to 12 weeks beforehand.

Partial Dentures

These are used in situations where a patient has some natural teeth still in place. Partial dentures have a pink-colored base that attaches to a metal piece and is removable. They are effective in keeping remaining teeth from moving around.

Custom Dentures

As the name implies, these false teeth are made to custom-fit and are constructed out of more expensive materials that create natural-looking teeth.

Immediate Dentures

Immediate dentures got their name from the process they are used in. A patient has all of their remaining natural teeth removed and immediate dentures are placed later the same day. Immediate dentures are just a temporary measure that patients receive to hold them over until their permanent dentures are ready. Immediate dentures should be worn only between 6 and 8 months.

Implant-supported Dentures

A dental implant is installed in the jawbone to securely support the denture. Implant-supported dentures are more comfortable and stable than any other type of false teeth. They are also more costly but worth it in the end because they are superior in all ways to traditional dentures including how they look.

Snap-in Dentures / Overdentures

Dental implants or anchors connected to existing teeth hold snap-in dentures in place. The partial dentures used are therefore removable. This option is typically used if a patient has enough bone to support the implants, but does not have any teeth.

Overdentures is another term used for Snap-in Dentures. This simply because they sit over the gum line and are held securely in place by snapping them into dental implants that are embedded into the jawline.

Economy Dentures

These are generic dentures. This means they are not made to fit in a patient’s mouth perfectly but can be held securely with denture adhesive. This type of denture quite often looks fake and is most certainly on the low end of the scale for quality. However, these factors make them an affordable choice for patients on a budget.


Parts

Two main components make up modern-day dentures. They are the denture base and the artificial teeth. The denture base supports and holds artificial teeth that are designed to function like natural teeth.


Material

Dentures come in a few different materials but are commonly constructed from acrylic resin (plastic). Dentures are also made from porcelain. While plastic dentures are stronger, porcelain dentures last longer. Plastic dentures are significantly less in price than porcelain.


Procedure

There are several steps and visits to your dentist’s office when getting full dentures. A typical denture procedure schedule looks like this:

Pre-Denture Healthy Visit

This visit is the first one. It will include examinations to determine the health of a patient’s gums and soft tissue. This visit will also see the denture-making process begin with a cast or mold made of a patient’s upper and lower gums. If the impressions are made when no teeth are remaining, the fit of the dentures is improved.

Denture Length/Plane Adjustment

This is the second visit. This is when the length of the new teeth is decided based on measurements taken from the patient’s mouth. The alignment between the upper and lower teeth is also determined as it will impact the overall fit of the dentures.

Denture Wax Try-In

This is the third visit. During this one final plastic teeth are fitted into the mouth. The base will fit loosely on the gums and the teeth will be set in wax. This visit will show what the dentures will look like and permit any corrections necessary before the final dentures are completed.

Final Dentures

This is the fourth visit. It is when a patient receives their final dentures. They get installed, there is another quick examination to ensure everything fits properly, and aftercare is discussed.


Ages

There is no age restriction for dentures. However, it is more common for patients under 45 years of age to have partial dentures whereas full complete dentures are common in patients older than 45. Depending on specific needs, dentists may also recommend dentures as a solution for younger patients in their 20s or 30s.


Appearance

full dentures false teeth

For the most part, dentures look like normal teeth. High-quality dentures have the appearance of real teeth whereas low-end dentures can look cheap and fake.

The only way to tell if someone is wearing dentures, aside from the obvious appearance of cheap dentures, is if the wearer has difficulty eating certain foods and either an upper or lower denture slips. Provided they are fitted properly and held securely, it is difficult to identify dentures in someone’s mouth.


Getting Used To Them

Putting something foreign in your mouth and keeping it there during the day will feel unusual. But it doesn’t take too long to get used to dentures. Dentists suggest that the adjustment period will last between four and eight weeks.

To help with speaking, it is a good idea to speak slower than normal and exaggerate the mouth movements to assist with forming words. To get used to eating, it helps to change the diet to softer, easier-to-chew foods and to chew smaller pieces, slower until it becomes easier to do.

There may be some soreness, but that will subside as the mouth and gums adjust to the dentures.


Keeping In Place

If the dentures fit properly, they should not move around at all. If dentures become loose, there are products known as denture adhesives that are effective in holding loose dentures securely in place. Adhesives come in different formats ranging from gels and pastes to powders and pads. Zinc is a common ingredient in these products as it enhances adhesive properties. Denture adhesives are easy to use.

For gels and creams, apply a small amount along the bottom of the plate where it sits on the gum line. For powders, sprinkle a small amount in the same area. The adhesive creates suction between the gum and denture holding it in place. Denture adhesives only need to be applied once per day. If the adhesive oozes out from under the denture, you have applied too much.

When dentures slip and slide in the mouth, the rubbing action creates sores and irritations on the gums and in the mouth. If dentures continue to slip even after applying adhesive, your dentures may need to be relined.


Cleaning & Care

How do you properly clean and care for dentures?

The better care you give your false teeth, the longer they will last. However, there are procedures that you must follow that are quite different from caring for natural teeth. With proper care, your dentures should last between five and seven years.

Caring for dentures takes a bit more work than caring for natural teeth. Dentures should be cleaned at least twice per day after meals. Here is a denture cleaning routine to take care of your false teeth:

Prep – Before You Start Cleaning

Dentures are strong but they are fragile. A dropped plate can crack, chip, and even break. Therefore, it is wise to either line a countertop with a thick towel or fill a sink with water. This way, if you drop your dentures, they will not hit a hard surface and become damaged.

Rinse

Your first cleaning step is to remove the dentures from your mouth and rinse them under a tap of warm running water. While doing this, gently rub away any residue that may be attached to the dentures including visible food particles.

Cleaning

There are three different methods that you can choose from to clean dentures. You can manually brush them, use a denture cleaning solution or an ultrasonic cleaner. While each of these methods work well, a combination of the three is best.

When brushing, ensure to use a soft-bristled brush designed for use with dentures. When brushing, do so gently and brush as you would your natural teeth. As mentioned, there are special denture toothbrushes designed to not cause damage to your delicate false teeth. See this article for more information.

You can use either a moist brush or a brush with toothpaste formulated for denture cleaning. Do not use regular toothpaste as it contains abrasives that are good for cleaning natural teeth but can damage the softer surfaces of false teeth. A denture cleaner is a good option as they are available in both gel or paste and can be applied to all surface areas. For more information on some good denture toothpaste options, click here.

An ultrasonic cleaner is a very thorough appliance. It works by using sound waves that vibrate microscopic bacteria and food particles off of the dentures while they sit in a tank of water or cleaning solution. This cleaning tool is much like a professional cleaning. A cycle should last no more than 15 minutes.

For a review of the best ultrasonic denture cleaner options, click here.

Soak

full dentures soaking in glass of water

Because the material dentures are made from is porous, they must remain moist. When false teeth spend time inside a mouth they are in the proper environment. However, when they are removed at night the risk of drying out exists.

Dry dentures can crack and warp out of shape, which is why dentures must be left to soak overnight. A glass with tap water will do the trick, as will one of many different types of denture-soaking solutions that can be found in the marketplace.

For a look at some different denture cases and denture bath options, click here. And for more tips on storing your dentures, click here.

Rinse, Again

After cleaning dentures, it is important to rinse them off one more time. This removes any food or bacteria that have not been taken away from cleaning or soaking. The warm water rinse also helps to flush away any of the cleaning solution that may still be on the false teeth.

Brushing The Rest Of Your Mouth

Many people think that because they have dentures, this is all they have to clean… they assume that they do not have to clean the rest of their mouth. However, it is still important to brush all other areas of your mouth, including your tongue, gums, and palate, with a soft-bristled brush.

This stimulates circulation in your gums and keeps your whole mouth and gums clean and healthy.

Next Morning

In the morning, rinse dentures under warm running water and place them back into the mouth.


Following this denture cleaning routine will ensure that your whole mouth will be healthy and clean, and you will have a fresh breath.


Whitening

Over time your false teeth may start to lose their shine. Even with regular cleaning and brushing, the foods you eat and beverages you drink can still cause dentures to change color slightly. Just like your natural teeth, you can give your dentures a whitening treatment.

Because dentures are made of materials that are different from natural teeth, they do not respond as well to traditional whitening products. However, superficial stains can be polished out at a dentist’s office.

There are different ways to whiten your false teeth. Check out this article for more tips.

One way to prevent staining of dentures is to avoid food and beverages that can discolor false teeth such as wine, coffee, tomato products, and grape products. Smoking will also stain dentures.

A proper cleaning routine will help reduce staining, which should include either soaking them overnight in a cleaning solution or using an ultrasonic cleaner.


Storage

When not worn, dentures must remain in a liquid. This prevents them from drying out. When dentures dry out, they can warp, change shape enough to alter how they fit, and they can become brittle increasing the risk of damage.

There are many types of dentures storage options available. If a patient does not wish to use a drinking glass from the home cupboard, there are plastic containers designed to fit dentures as well as travel kits with accessories to assist in keeping dentures in good condition.


Comfort

Dentures should be comfortable enough that they are not noticed by the wearer. However, changes in the shape of the gumline may occur causing dentures to not fit snugly. When this happens, they may rub on the gums causing irritation.

There are several solutions to correcting the fit of dentures. They can be repaired, relined, or replaced. Relining involves sanding away the areas that are impacting the fit and applying a soft or hard relining resin so that the shape of the denture perfectly fits your gums.


Repair

What if your dentures break? There are over-the-counter denture repair options but they all contain chemicals that may be harmful to the wearer, and should only be used as a temporary solution if required.

The best solution is to see a dentist as they have the proper tools and materials to fix broken dentures. Plus, a dentist can make a proper repair because if broken dentures are not correctly fixed, they can result in mouth sores.


Sleep

Dentures must be removed at night. Leaving them in can cause discomfort from the pressure of holding the dentures in place. Wearing them overnight can also result in other conditions such as dry mouth, stomatitis, jaw muscle soreness, and gum irritation. This is why dentures are left in a soaking solution when the wearer goes to bed. It gives their mouth a break and keeps the dentures moist.


Lifespan

Dentures last between five and ten years, depending on the quality and how well they are cared for.


Foods

Some foods are difficult to eat with dentures. As a result, many dentists recommend that denture wearers just avoid these foods altogether. They include popcorn, apples, nuts, corn on the cob, and carrot sticks. Foods that require several bites to tenderize them put excess pressure on dentures and gums and should also be avoided.

When you first get dentures, your diet is going to change drastically as you get used to them. Soft foods will be your main diet including oatmeal, soup broths, yogurt, etc. For more information on foods to eat and avoid with dentures, click here.


Smoking

smoking with dentures

The smoke inhaled from tobacco use irritates the soft tissue in the mouth. This can lead to inflammation, sensitivity, and swelling. These conditions can cause even the best-fitting dentures to feel uncomfortable and may impact the speaking ability of the denture wearer.

Another reason why you would want to quit smoking when you get dentures is that the tobacco smoke will discolor false teeth turning them yellow.


Other Issues

There are other issues to be aware of related to dentures. These include:

Dry Mouth

Wearing dentures can reduce the production of saliva for some wearers. This can result in a dry mouth. This can be remedied by keeping hydrated by sipping on water or sugar-free liquids.

Stomatitis

Stomatitis, or thrush, is common in denture wearers. It can be the result of poor dental hygiene and is remedied by keeping the mouth clean and the use of anti-fungal agents.

Gagging

Sometimes dentures fit in such a way that they extend into sensitive tissue in the back of the mouth triggering a gag reflex. This is more common for new denture wearers and the feeling generally goes away within days as the wearer grows accustomed to the dentures.

Taste Affected

Since taste buds are located on the tongue, wearing dentures should not change how food tastes. However, many wearers complain that food tastes bland although it has nothing to do with the dentures.


Interesting Facts

George Washington’s Dentures

It has been long understood that George Washington’s dentures were made of wood. They were made of a mixture of many different things. His dentures contained human teeth, hippopotamus tusk, elephant ivory, and gold.

Dentures As Gifts

In the British Isles, dentures were a common wedding gift. Apparently, residents there typically expected to lose all of their teeth and choose to have any that remained extracted. This made dentures a practical gift for couples tying the knot.

Dentures Have Been Around

There have been dentures discovered in archaeological digs in Egypt and Mexico dating back to ancient times. The oldest surviving complete set of dentures was found in Japan in the 16th century. These were made of wood.


FAQs

How Do You Know If You Need Dentures?

woman with complete dentures

There are a few reasons why your dentist may suggest you need false teeth. If you are missing several teeth where more than three in a row are gone, dentures will often be the logical solution. Smaller gaps can be treated with other procedures such as a crown.

For elderly people who may have teeth that have been subject to years of wear and tear, the level of deterioration may require dentures to remedy. In many of these cases, false teeth can eliminate various infections and become a form of pain management.

Anyone who has experienced a trauma to their teeth where many have been knocked out, such as in an accident or sports injury, may require false teeth. Again, the size of the gaps between natural teeth and the location of those gaps will determine this.

Which Is Best… Partials Or Complete Dentures?

When a high number of natural teeth are missing, the remaining ones may be removed by your dentist. Once this has happened, a complete denture plate will be constructed and fit into your mouth as a replacement for a full row of either upper or lower teeth.

For situations where only a few teeth are missing, which creates wide gaps in the mouth, a different solution may be proposed. Depending on the condition and locations of the remaining natural teeth, a partial denture may be the best false teeth option.

A partial denture is exactly as it sounds. It is a smaller set of false teeth that are fitted to fill the gaps of missing teeth. These appliances typically are molded to fit with anchors, clips, or some other attachment around existing teeth or into the jawline.
There are different types of partial dentures that can either act as ‘permanent’ replacements or can be removed each evening. The deciding factors rely heavily on the specifics related to your teeth, mouth, and jaw. Your dentist will be able to advise you on your options.

If you would like more information about the differences between partial dentures and full dentures, click here.

Why Do You Need Remaining Teeth Pulled For Dentures?

Essentially, in order to create a properly fitting denture plate, any remaining teeth will likely need to be removed. However, the swelling that follows multiple extractions will cause the mouth and jaw to assume a different shape. This is part of the healing process.

Once the swelling has subsided. measurements are taken and a conventional (temporary) set of dentures are prescribed. They are used during the time when gum tissue and the jaw bone are healing. Your permanent dentures can only be provided once your mouth has healed, which can be many weeks or months following the extractions.

For more information on some of the different denture procedures, click here.

How Are Dentures Made?

Dentures are made from an acrylic resin material, a nylon polymer, or from chrome cobalt metal. The most common of these is acrylic resin. An impression is made of the patient’s gums and this is what is used to create a mold for the final denture.

It is from this mold that a wax model is made, and teeth are added to this. Often the fake teeth are made from porcelain, but it is common practice these days for them to also be made of the same acrylic resin as the actual denture plate that will hold the teeth.

The wax model is used to test the fit in the patient’s mouth and is altered and retested until a proper and snug fit is achieved. Once this occurs, the final denture is made from the model. The final denture plate may also require work before the fit is correct.

Can I Wear My Dentures When Sleeping?

While you can sleep with dentures, it is not something your dentist will recommend. That is because dentures should be left to soak in a cleaning solution overnight giving your gums and mouth a much-needed break. Removing dentures at night is also good for the oral health of the mouth.

How Long Can You Wear Dentures?

Although dentures are considered permanent replacements for missing teeth, you should not wear them all the time. The only exception is when you are trying out a new set. Your dentist may suggest keeping them in your mouth overnight. This is to ensure a proper fit.

However, once your dentures fit snugly in your mouth, you will have to remove them every night. False teeth are intended to be worn just when you are awake and active. You should remove them to sleep.

There is a good reason to take your dentures out overnight. This is so that gum tissue is given time to rest and recover from wearing false teeth during the day. It also allows the tongue and saliva to clear the mouth of any dirt or debris that may have been collected.

How Painful Is Getting Dentures?

Dentures will cause some discomfort early on but that will disappear. If you had a few natural teeth removed before getting dentures, the locations of those extractions may be painful for the first little while. Once your mouth adjusts to having dentures in it, the pain and discomfort will subside.

How Do Dentures Stay In Your Mouth?

If your dentist has done a good job of fitting your dentures, and your mouth has not changed shape along the jaw and gums, your dentures will fit snugly on their own. Natural suction should keep them in place and there should be no slipping.

When false teeth become loose, it is usually related to a change in the shape of your mouth. The best way to keep dentures in place when this happens is with one of many different denture adhesives that are sold at drug stores.

These denture adhesives come in powder or a cream/paste form. They are applied to the underside of the denture plate and create suction when placed into the mouth and seated in position. A very small amount of adhesive is required to provide an all-day hold.

For an in-depth look at the best denture adhesives and how they work, click here.

When Is It Time To Reline Dentures?

Once you start noticing that your dentures don’t fit quite like they used to, you may need a denture reline. Your dentist will tell you if your dentures can be relined or not. Whatever you do, refrain from using over-the-counter reline kits as a permanent solution as they are not as reliable or precise as a dentist relining your dentures.

How Do You Get Used To Eating With New Dentures?

When you are fitted with and receive new dentures you will discover some very interesting things about yourself. First off, your smile will be stunning. This will build your self-confidence and give you a better outlook on how you look.

Dentures will also allow you to speak clearly. That is because your lips and tongue will be able to properly form the sounds required to speak. With missing or no teeth to assist, words become slurred and difficult to understand as well as say to others.

What will stand out the most when you have new dentures is how different eating will be until you get used to having false teeth in your mouth. Chewing on both sides of your mouth may take a bit of getting used to when first using dentures to eat.

Because you now have dentures, your diet may change slightly as a result. Some foods you normally eat you may decide to quit eating including very sticky foods and candies. Any food that requires a sucking action may prove to be challenging with false teeth.

For information and tips on getting used to wearing dentures, see this post.

Can You Repair False Teeth?

As time passes, you may encounter a situation where your dentures will require a repair of some kind. There are two basic types of repairs that are going to result from the daily wear and tear your false teeth with be subjected to in your daily life.

There are minor and major repairs. The minor repairs can be something like a small chip or a broken tooth. A number of do-it-yourself repair kits are available for small fixes online and at local drugstores. These are meant to provide temporary repairs.

For far more serious fixes like a crack, clips that have been damaged, and plates that have split or broken in half, you should see your dentist for a proper repair. You may find online solutions for some of these issues but for a correct repair, your dentist will be able to assist.

For different ways of repairing a broken denture, make sure that you see this article.

Cost Of Dentures – How Much Do False Teeth Cost?

There are several variables that will impact the cost of false teeth. Essentially, the material they are made from and your specific needs will determine the final cost. Partial dentures will cost less than a complete denture simply due to their size, but may not be the best false teeth option for everyone.

The number of dental visits required for fitting and alterations will also have a part to play in the cost of false teeth. Some patients require fewer visits than others and those factors cannot be anticipated until the process is well underway.

We have done quite a lot of research into the different denture options and prices, but prices will always vary depending on many factors. Have a look at this article for an in-depth look.

In addition to this, once again depending on many factors, some people may also be able to receive free or discounted dentures. Please have a look at this article for more information.

Can My Dentures Be Color Matched To My Natural Teeth?

Color and shade matching is one of the many skills that a prosthodontist (denture maker) possesses. They can create dentures that look like a match to your existing teeth. However, color and shade matching is easier when new dentures are being made rather than attempting to match color and shade on existing dentures.

What Do I Do If The Screws In My Dentures Become Loose?

For inserted implants, the screws are intended to provide a secure hold on dentures. If the dentures slip slightly and you end up biting your cheeks, visit your dentist. Over a couple of visits, they will be able to correct the problem.

How Do I Keep My Mouth From Getting Dry With Dentures?

A dry mouth can be a condition that results from a reduction in saliva production. An easy way to keep your mouth from drying out is to keep hydrated by sipping on water or sugar-free beverages throughout the day.

Can I Kiss With Dentures?

Yes, it is possible to kiss with dentures. Provided they fit snugly in your mouth and do not slip, you can kiss that special someone all you want. Plus, if your dentures fit properly, your partner may not even know you have false teeth.

Can I Chew Gum With Dentures?

Gum is one of many items that denture wearers have difficulty chewing. It is because gum is sticky and can possibly dislodge an upper or lower denture plate while chewing. The same situation applies to any other sticky food such as toffy.

What Are The Main Advantages And Disadvantages Of Wearing Dentures?

For most people, the advantages of wearing false teeth outweigh the disadvantages but we decided to take a look at both to give you a fair comparison. Here is a brief list of what we came up with:

Advantages
If you have lost a number of natural teeth, dentures are a good way to restore your smile and allow you to speak well, and permit eating most of the foods that you enjoy.

Dentures can also restore your life… When you feel good about the way you look – with a smile that is full and bright – it will increase your self-esteem.

Disadvantages
Aside from the cost, which may be high for some individuals, the only real disadvantage to dentures is that they do not last forever. That being said, if you take care of them by following the denture routine above, you should quite easily get 5 to 10 years out of them.

However, changes to your gum and jawbone can mean that they do not fit as well, which means that refitting or denture relines are required.

They also can be damaged just by being knocked to the floor, so you have to be careful where you store false teeth overnight.


In Conclusion

Missing teeth are no longer a problem with partial and complete denture options available. There have been many advancements over recent years and false teeth are more common than you may think.

All you need to do is visit your dental professional to see if you are a suitable candidate. Although prices can be high, it is still worth investigating to explore the different options available. The end result will not only improve your smile… it can change your life.

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