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A denture is a prosthetic designed to replace missing teeth and may be removable or fixed to existing teeth or implants. Complete dentures replace all the teeth on one or both arches and retention is obtained either by attachment to dental implants or the remaining soft tissue and bone ridge.

Partial dentures fill in the gaps left by missing teeth and prevent the remaining teeth from moving. These dentures are retained in place by suction to the soft tissue or attachment to other teeth. Dentures help in the normal functions of chewing and speaking but also benefit the wearer by supporting facial muscles and enhancing the facial appearance.

Dentures are normally expected to last five to seven years. The fit of a denture will tend to diminish as gums shrink and bone is resorbed. In the short-term, a denture can be re-lined to compensate for these factors but eventually normal wear and tear will require replacement of the denture.

There are several options available when considering replacement of a denture. Implants offer the closest solution to replacing the original missing teeth and also give the most protection against further bone loss. In the case of complete dentures, implants can be used either to replace all the missing teeth or a denture can be used in conjunction with a number of anchoring implants that hold the denture in place.

The benefit of an implant-anchored denture is that it provides a more stable solution than a denture alone and helps avoid the common problems of dentures not staying in place when eating or speaking.

A replacement denture can be made using the same or different materials.

Dentures and the underlying tissue should be examined at least annually. Review of the performance of the denture and the supporting anatomy on a regular basis can ensure that any deterioration of either can be detected early and action taken to avoid irreversible changes to oral structure or facial appearance.

Cracked or damaged dentures can often be repaired quickly and perhaps on the same day. Wearing damaged dentures can adversely affect oral health and should be repaired without delay.

Removable dentures should be removed at least daily to be cleaned. They are subject to the same destructive effects of plaque as normal teeth and should be cleaned by gently brushing them with a toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste. Remove partial dentures when brushing the remaining teeth and clean them on their own.

Clinical research have shown that removal of dentures for at least eight hours (such as overnight) has a beneficial influence by allowing the gums to rest and receive stimulation from the tongue and saliva. Any dentures removed from the mouth should be kept safe in a jar of water or cleansing solution.

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