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What are permanent false teeth called?

Permanent false teeth that replace missing teeth are commonly referred to as dentures. Dentures can either be complete, replacing all of the teeth in an arch, or partial, replacing only some missing teeth. There are several different types of dentures, but they all serve the function of replacing lost teeth in order to restore chewing ability and an attractive smile.

Types of Dentures

There are several main types of dentures:

  • Complete dentures – these replace all of the teeth in an arch. There are conventional complete dentures and immediate complete dentures.
  • Partial dentures – these replace only some missing teeth in an arch. There are removable partial dentures, fixed partial dentures (dental bridges), and flexible partial dentures.
  • Overdentures – these fit over remaining teeth or implants for added stability.

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures are a type of permanent false teeth that replace an entire arch of missing teeth. The main types are:

  • Conventional complete dentures – Made after the remaining teeth are extracted and the gums have healed. This can take 8-12 weeks for the gums to fully heal after extractions.
  • Immediate complete dentures – Inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are extracted. The advantage is not having to go without teeth during the healing period. A disadvantage is the dentures may need relining due to bone reshaping and shrinkage during healing.

Complete dentures rest on the gums and are held in place by suction. A proper fit is important to keep them stable in the mouth. They may require the use of denture adhesives. Complete dentures can be made from plastic acrylic, metal alloys, or a combination of materials.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures replace one or more missing teeth in an arch, but not the entire arch. Types of partial dentures include:

  • Removable partial dentures – Have a plastic base with replacement teeth attached. Clasps connect to remaining teeth for stability. Easily removable for cleaning.
  • Fixed partial dentures (bridges) – Permanently cemented in place and can’t be removed. Replacement teeth are fused between crowns on abutment teeth.
  • Flexible partial dentures – Made of a flexible plastic material. Thin and lightweight. May have clasps for added retention.

Partial dentures fill in gaps caused by missing teeth. They prevent remaining teeth from shifting position and support the facial muscles. Metals, acrylics, or porcelain can be used for the artificial teeth.


Overdentures are a type of permanent false teeth that fit over a small number of remaining teeth or dental implants. The natural teeth or implants provide stability and support. Benefits include:

  • Preserve integrity of jawbone by leaving some natural teeth intact
  • Require fewer extractions
  • Easier to stabilize and wear than conventional dentures
  • Can be removed easily for cleaning

Overdentures improve retention and stability compared to conventional dentures. They also help slow bone loss after extractions. The remaining natural teeth are fitted with crowns or copings before the denture is placed over them.

Denture Materials

Several materials are used to make permanent false teeth, each with their own advantages:

  • Acrylic resin – A plastic material that is lightweight, affordable, and easy to adjust. However, it wears down faster.
  • Porcelain – Very durable with a natural, attractive look. But more expensive and prone to chipping.
  • Metal alloys – Strong and long-lasting like chrome cobalt or gold alloys. Can be prone to corrosion.
  • Flexible resins – For flexible partial dentures. Very durable yet flexible.

Dentures may consist of a combination of materials for optimal strength, durability, and aesthetics. The type of material depends on the specific needs of each patient and their lifestyle.

The Denture Fabrication Process

Several steps are involved in creating and fitting permanent false teeth:

  1. Impressions – Molds are taken of the jaws to create a model of the mouth.
  2. Jaw relations – The dentist measures jaw positions to ensure proper bite alignment.
  3. Tooth selection – Teeth molds are chosen to match natural color and shape.
  4. Try-in – A trial denture is evaluated for fit, comfort, and appearance.
  5. Delivery – The final dentures are inserted and adjustments are made.
  6. Aftercare – Follow-up appointments to check fit and make any adjustments.

Proper impressions, measurements, and try-in fittings help ensure the dentures fit well and are comfortable. Minor adjustments may be needed as the mouth adjusts to the dentures during the first few weeks of wear.

Cost of Dentures

The cost of dentures depends on several factors:

Denture Type Cost Range
Complete dentures $500 – $2000 per arch
Partial dentures $700 – $1500 per arch
Overdentures $1000 – $4000 per arch

Additional factors affecting the cost:

  • Denture material: Basic acrylic is cheaper while porcelain is more expensive
  • Insurance coverage: Many plans cover a portion of denture costs
  • Dentist fees: Specialist prosthodontists often charge higher fees
  • Office location: Urban and metropolitan practices usually have higher costs

Dentures typically need to be replaced every 5-10 years due to material wear, damage, and changes in fit. Ongoing maintenance and relining costs should also be considered.

Caring for Dentures

Proper denture care is vital for keeping permanent false teeth functioning optimally. Recommended denture care practices include:

  • Remove and clean dentures daily – Use a soft brush and cool water. Avoid hot water as it can warp the base.
  • Rinse under running water – This removes debris that can irritate gums.
  • Soak in a cleaning solution – Use an effervescing cleaner or diluted vinegar to disinfect.
  • Brush gums and tongue – This stimulates tissues and removes plaque.
  • Store dentures in water – Keeps them from warping and drying out.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners – Chemicals can damage the denture materials.
  • Attend regular dental visits – For adjustment and to monitor gum health.

Proper denture cleaning and maintenance helps prevent infection, irritation, and bad odors. Always follow any specific care instructions from your dentist.

Relining Dentures

Over time, the fit of dentures can change due to bone and gum reshaping in the mouth. As dentures become loose, relining is necessary to improve the fit. Options include:

  • Hard denture reline – A lab process using acrylic to resurface the base intimately against the gums.
  • Soft denture reline – A soft lining material added for a temporary fix of sore spots.
  • Permanent soft denture reline – A durable soft reline material that can last for years.

Relining costs less than making new dentures. It extends the life of dentures by restoring a tight seal along the gums. Relining may also improve chewing ability as the dentures are stabilized.

Denture Adjustments

Minor denture adjustments are commonly needed to improve comfort and fit, especially during the first few months after receiving new dentures. Common adjustments include:

  • Reducing areas causing pressure or rubbing
  • Grinding high spots on the base or teeth
  • Realigning teeth to improve bite
  • Equalizing pressure across the denture base

Follow-up appointments allow the dentist to make subtle adjustments for proper fit and comfort. Patients should not try to adjust dentures themselves as it risks damaging them.

Denture Adhesives

Denture adhesives are pastes, powders, or adhesive pads used to help keep dentures securely in place. Reasons people use denture adhesives:

  • Improve hold and stability
  • Provide confidence when eating or speaking
  • Help compensate for poor fit due to bone loss
  • Act as a temporary solution before getting a denture reline

Adhesives are applied directly to dentures or gums before inserting. They fill small gaps between dentures and tissues. Creams, strips, and powders are common types of adhesives sold over-the-counter.

Risks of Dentures

While dentures effectively replace missing teeth, there are some risks and disadvantages to consider:

  • Gum irritation – Excessive rubbing can cause sores and tissue damage.
  • Underlying bone loss – Pressure from dentures speeds up natural bone loss.
  • Difficulty eating – Reduced chewing ability and food restrictions.
  • Speech changes – The tongue position adapts to the appliance.
  • Aesthetic concerns – Potential unnatural tooth appearance.
  • Denture slipping – Loose dentures require adhesives.
  • Halitosis – Improper cleaning can cause odors.

Regular dental visits allow early detection of tissue irritation, unhealthy bone loss, and other complications. Starting with proper-fitting dentures helps minimize many issues.

Alternatives to Dentures

Other tooth replacement options besides dentures include:

  • Dental implants – Titanium posts fused with jawbone that support crowns.
  • Dental bridges – False teeth fused between crowns of adjacent teeth.
  • Partial dentures – Removable artificial teeth that use clasps for support.
  • Teeth in a Day – Full arch of dental implants placed in a single visit.

These alternatives may provide greater stability and comfort compared to removable dentures. However, they involve surgery and are much more expensive. The best option depends on each patient’s specific condition and budget.


Permanent false teeth, known as dentures, effectively replace missing teeth and restore oral function. The main types are complete, partial, and overdentures. Dentures are made of durable acrylic, porcelain, or metal materials. With proper fabrication, fit, cleaning, and care, dentures can last many years before needing replacement. They require some adjustment to get used to but provide an affordable tooth replacement option.