Complete dentures cover your entire jaw, either upper or lower. Some people call them “plates.” Complete dentures rest directly on the gum that covers the bone.
On occasion, one or more natural teeth are kept when a denture is made. These teeth usually have root canal treatment and are shortened to fit under the denture. This type of denture is known as an overdenture.
Overdentures also can fit over implants instead of natural teeth. In fact, implants were first developed to give people “artificial roots” for bridges or dentures in the lower jaw. The denture can fit onto the implants directly, or onto a metal bar between implants.
Removable partial dentures consist of a metal framework with plastic teeth and gum areas. The framework includes metal clasps or other attachments that hold the denture in place. However, partial dentures are removed easily for cleaning.
Fixed partial dentures, which most people call bridges, are cemented in place. They look more like natural teeth. Bridges cost more than removable partial dentures, however. They also have to be supported by nearby healthy teeth.
Conventional dentures are made and inserted after your teeth have been taken out and the gums have healed.
If you have teeth extracted, your mouth will need to heal for at least four weeks before a complete denture can be made. In some cases, your dentist may suggest that you use an immediate denture in the meantime. This denture is meant to be temporary. It may be helpful if you have a limited number of teeth extracted, particularly front teeth, and you do not want to go around without teeth. It will be inserted at the time of extractions. As your mouth heals, the gums and bones may shrink. The immediate denture will be relined to adjust the fit.