MDA Member Login Password

Treatment Information

Dentures

Dentures are prosthetic teeth worn by those who have lost their natural teeth through injury or illness. There are many different types of dentures designed to address a variety of dental situations. Dentures may be removable or implanted, and they may replace either upper or lower teeth.

Dentures have been used in some form since at least the 15th century, though they have greatly improved in design since then. Early dentures were made of bone, ivory, or human teeth and, like natural teeth, could rot with extended use. They were attached to existing teeth with metal or silk string and were quite uncomfortable. The first porcelain dentures were constructed in the 1770s, and plastics became the material of choice in the 20th century.

Those who have lost their teeth find both functional and aesthetic benefits from dentures. Well-made dentures allow the wearer to enjoy all kinds of food, whereas missing teeth or poor dentures significantly restrict chewing ability. Dentures also support the lips and cheeks, improving the appearance of a patient who has lost his or her natural teeth.

Dentures are custom designed to fit each patient's mouth, and skill and patience are required to create an effective pair. Poorly made dentures can cause significant discomfort and erode the gums and bones of the jaw, leading to greater dental problems. A combination of implants and removable pieces are often the best option.