A denture, or a complete denture as it is often called, is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth and provides support for the cheeks and lips. Most dentures are made of acrylic and can be fabricated two different ways.
A conventional denture is made after all teeth have been extracted and the tissues (gums) have healed.
An immediate denture is fabricated and inserted immediately after the teeth are extracted and the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture.
An upper denture is acrylic and usually flesh colored that covers the palate (roof of the mouth).
A lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to leave room for the tongue.
The teeth are made of plastic, porcelain or a combination thereof. Dentures can be fabricated to fit over endodontically treated teeth and a complete denture can be attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance.
Dentures over a normal course of time will wear and need to be replaced or relined in order to keep the jaw alignment normal. The alignment will slowly change as the bone and gum ridges recede or shrink due to the extraction of the teeth. Regular dentist examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.
An overdenture is a type of denture that is secured by precision dental attachments to either tooth roots or dental implants. An overdenture fastens a denture to the jawbone, with multiple implants or bar joints, mimicking the way natural teeth are anchored. Bar joints support the dentures better than individual implants though implants are still required to support the bars.
Some of the benefits of overdentures include the prevention of bone loss (dental implants actually strengthen the surrounding bone structure), esthetic appeal, improved speech (when compared with other types of dentures), proper jaw alignment, and improved chewing efficiency.