Dentures & Partial Dentures

A denture is a removable dental appliance and a replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue.  They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.

There are two types of dentures - complete and partial dentures.  Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.  A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.

A complete denture can be either “conventional” or “immediate.” 

Conventional Denture

-teeth are extracted and the gum heals 4-6 months (healing time needed for the gum to shrink to its final size after the extractions)

-the dentures are made usually over 4-6 appointments

-advantage: size, shape, and color can be previewed because there are no real teeth remaining in the mouth.  The fit is better because the gum has healed from the extractions before ever starting the fabrication process

-disadvantage: you have no teeth for 6-8 months

Immediate Denture

-most back teeth are extracted but the front ones left for cosmetic reasons while the back gum heals

-the denture is made while you still have some "smiling" front teeth.  When the denture is ready, you come in for extraction of the front teeth and insertion of the denture at the same time

-advantage: you don't have to walk around without any teeth (you keep just the front while the denture is made)

-disadvantage: the denture does not fit as well because as the gum shrinks, the denture gets loose.  Also, it is not possible to preview what the denture will look like while you still have your real front teeth so it may not look ideal.  Often a conventional denture is needed after 6 months and the gum has healed.

Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.

Reasons for dentures:

  • Complete Denture - Loss of all teeth in an arch.
  • Partial Denture - Loss of several teeth in an arch.
  • Enhancing smile and facial tissues.
  • Improving chewing, speech, and digestion.


What does getting dentures involve?

The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over a period of several weeks.  Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture.  Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit.  At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.

It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new dentures.

You will be given care instructions for your new dentures.  Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.


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Elizabeth City Dental
Robert Gillam, D.D.S.
Adult General Dentistry

Elizabeth City Dentist, Dr. Robert T. Gillam is a dental professional dedicated to General, Family & Cosmetic Dentistry such as Dental Exams, Cleanings, X-rays, Fluoride, Dental Makeovers, Teeth Whitening, Veneers, Crowns, & more. Please come and visit Elizabeth City, NC dentist Robert T. Gillam, DDS.

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