A denture is an appliance that is inserted in the mouth, replaces natural teeth, provides support for the cheeks and lips, and is removable.
Dentures can be fabricated to insert directly into a mouth without any teeth or designed to fit over endodonticly treated teeth or attach to implants to allow for a more secure fit of the appliance. 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 covers the palate (roof of the mouth) while 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 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 resorb or shrink due to the extraction of teeth. Regular dental examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be evaluated for disease or change.