Understanding Dentures: Types, Maintenance, and Lifestyle Adjustments

Dentures have long been a viable solution for those who’ve lost some or all of their natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay, or injury. Replacing missing teeth with dentures can greatly benefit your appearance and health. This comprehensive guide aims to demystify dentures, delve into the various types available, share maintenance tips, and discuss necessary lifestyle adjustments for denture wearers.

Types of Dentures

Dentures are custom-made replacements for missing teeth and can be taken out and put back into your mouth. There are primarily two categories of dentures: complete and partial.

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures are used when all the teeth are missing. They can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” Conventional dentures are made after the remaining teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has begun to heal, a process taking 4 to 6 weeks. Immediate dentures, on the other hand, are made in advance and can be positioned as soon as the teeth are removed. While immediate dentures offer the benefit of not having to be without teeth during the healing period, they may require more adjustments to fit properly during the healing process than conventional dentures.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are opted for when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from changing position. A precision partial denture is removable and has internal attachments rather than clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. This option offers a more natural-looking appearance.

Maintenance of Dentures

Proper denture care is vital for both the health of your dentures and your mouth. Here are some tips for maintaining your dentures:

  • Clean Your Dentures Daily: Just like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food and plaque. Brushing also helps prevent the development of stains on the dentures.
  • Handle with Care: Dentures are delicate and can break if dropped. When handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or a basin of water.
  • Don’t Let Them 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.
  • Brush Your Gums, Tongue, and Palate Every Morning: Before you insert your dentures, brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush. This stimulates circulation in your tissues and helps remove plaque.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Denture Wearers

Adapting to life with dentures takes time and patience. Here are some adjustments you might need to make:

  • Eating with Dentures: Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from tipping. As you get used to new dentures, you can return to your normal diet but continue to avoid hard foods and bones.
  • Speaking with Dentures: If you find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough, or smile, reposition them by gently biting down and swallowing. With practice and time, speaking with dentures will become more natural.
  • Denture Adhesives: For those new to dentures, adhesives can help hold dentures in place while you get used to wearing them. However, a well-fitting denture shouldn’t need adhesive. Check with your dentist if your dentures begin to feel loose or uncomfortable.


Dentures offer a practical solution for replacing missing teeth, improving your dental health, and enhancing your smile. Understanding the types of dentures available, how to maintain them, and making the necessary lifestyle adjustments can help ease the transition to denture wearing. Remember, it’s normal to experience a period of adjustment. Regular visits to your dentist are essential for ensuring your dentures fit well and for addressing any concerns you might have. With the right care and adjustments, dentures can help you live a full and active life without worrying about your smile.


  • American Dental Association (ADA). “Dentures.” MouthHealthy.org.
  • Mayo Clinic. “Dentures: How to care for them.” MayoClinic.org.
  • Colgate. “Partial Dentures.” Colgate.com.

This guide is intended to provide you with a broad overview of dentures. It’s important to consult with a dental professional, like the experienced team at Canyon Dental Associates, to determine the best type of dentures for your individual needs and to receive personalized care tailored to ensuring your comfort and satisfaction with your dentures.


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