What are complete dentures?

There are various types of complete dentures. A conventional full denture is made and placed in the patient’s mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed which may take several months. An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. The dentist takes measurements and makes models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period.

Complete dentures are dentures that replace both the upper and lower teeth. They are a treatment option for patients that have no teeth. They are made by a dentist and a laboratory technician. Complete dentures generally take 5 dental visits to make. They can help restore your smile, help you to eat, and help you to speak after the loss of teeth. 
A complete denture replaces all the teeth in either the upper or lower jaw. A complete set of dentures involves both the upper and lower jaws. When possible it is advisable to avoid complete dentures; however, many people can tolerate and even function well with a well-made denture(s). 

It is important to remember that there are no teeth to help to retain the complete denture, and, therefore, retention can be a challenge, especially in the lower jaw (mandible). Retention and adapting to new dentures may be even more challenging when significant ridge resorption, or shrinkage, has taken place. In addition, when a patient has "dry mouth", denture retention is also greatly affected.

A period of adapting to new dentures must be anticipated. This includes learning to wear, eat and speak with the teeth.
Dentures that are customized to the patient's mouth, face and appearance can be very esthetic and natural looking, and when a complete denture is the only alternative it may be a significant improvement over loose, decayed, missing and/or diseased teeth and gums. 

Complete dentures may be further stabilized by placement of implants in the jaw which can greatly increase stability, retention and ability to function. The denture is still removable but retained by retentive "heads" on the implant which seat into the denture. This is often considered a more economical way to restore function than full mouth rehabilitation with a greater number of implants and crowns and bridges.
Complete dentures are a kind of false teeth that cover the entire jaw. Complete dentures may be used for the upper or lower jaw, or both if needed. This type of denture is used by people who have lost  all of their natural teeth. Usually, a dentist will remove any remaining teeth and then fit a patient for complete dentures. If complete dentures are inserted right after teeth are removed, they're called immediate dentures. If they're not inserted until the person's gums have healed, they're called conventional dentures.

Continue Learning about Dentures

When should a denture adhesive be used?
Dr. Saul N. Miller, DDSDr. Saul N. Miller, DDS
Denture adhesive should be used sparingly as directed to help the patient achieve increased retentio...
More Answers
Are there alternatives to dentures?
Stephen HandisidesStephen Handisides
Having missing teeth can also make people feel very self-conscious, and the old-fashioned solution o...
More Answers
Will dentures increase my risk for oral health problems?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
As long as you continue to take care of your mouth, dentures shouldn't increase your risk for oral h...
More Answers
Will I need a root canal if I'm going to get complete dentures?
Philip M. Uffer, DDSPhilip M. Uffer, DDS
If you don't plan on keeping the tooth then a root canal isn't something you will need. (By way of e...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.