Dentures and Over-Dentures

Dentures and Over-Dentures

Dentures and over-dentures are tooth replacements that are designed to be removable by the patient and replace all the teeth in an arch (upper or lower).

Complete Full Denture 

A complete full denture replaces all of the teeth in one arch (upper or lower). Since this appliance replaces all of the teeth, it is retained in the mouth primarily by suction. A complete denture relies on a very precise fit and natural saliva to have adequate suction to keep it in place. Over time the tissues under the denture resorb causing the denture to become loose and move around. A denture that is loose is not only uncomfortable, it will cause the tissues under it to resorb at an accelerated rate. A complete denture should be relined every 3-5 years to maintain adequate suction and remade when the artificial teeth begin to wear. Denture adhesives can assist in maintaining the suction, but should not be used as a substitute for periodic maintenance. 


An over-denture is a removable appliance that replaces all the teeth in an arch just like the complete denture, only differing in that it is also supported by attaching over either natural tooth roots or implants that have special attachments. Depending on the number of tooth roots or implants that the over-denture has to attach to, the appliance can vary from a slightly more secure form of a complete full denture to an extremely stable appliance similar to natural teeth. Over-dentures are a great alternative for people that cannot wear a complete full denture because of a gag reflex or dry mouth, or simply want a more secure appliance to enable them to chew and eat more comfortably.

Caring for Dentures and Over-Dentures:

  • When handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or basin of water. Dentures are delicate and may break if dropped.
  • Don't let your dentures dry out. Place them in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in plain water when you're not wearing them. Never use hot water, which can cause them to warp.
  • Brushing your dentures daily will remove food deposits and plaque, and help prevent them from becoming stained. An ultrasonic cleaner may be used to care for your dentures, but it does not replace a thorough daily brushing.  Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures. This stimulates circulation in your tissues and helps remove plaque.
  • See your dentist if your dentures break, chip, crack or become loose. Don't be tempted to adjust them yourself, this can damage them beyond repair.

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