A complete denture or plate is used when someone is missing all of their teeth. A full denture is usually made of a plastic material that matches the patient’s gingiva color and plastic teeth. It is important to remember than a full denture is not a replacement for real teeth, but a replacement for nothing. The most perfect denture in the world cannot compare to the chewing efficiency of one’s natural teeth; therefore, new denture wearers will be carefully instructed on what to expect from their new dentures.
For patients that currently wear dentures, several options for adjusting an older denture are available. These include a soft reline and a hard reline for dentures that have become loose over time. Many times patients are more comfortable with a soft reline; these last a few months at a time, while a new denture is being made. This gives the patient a “back-up pair” in case something untoward was to happen to their newer dentures. Also, the hard reline option is irreversible while the soft reline option can easily be redone.
Dentures can also be supported by implants for greater retention; see the “Implants” section for further details.