Sunset Valley Dental

Woodstock Office
21710 Maxham Meadow Way
Woodstock, VT 05091


Types of Dentures


While dentures are not always the best option to replace missing teeth, sometimes they are the only option available. However, there is a definite art and skill when it comes to making dentures, and there are different types of dentures available to you, depending on the state of your existing teeth and jawbone.

Complete dentures can be made to replace all the teeth. Partial dentures may be made to replace a few or several teeth. And some dentures can be anchored by implants to increase stability, biting pressure and function. But the important thing to know is this: properly-made dentures can be comfortable and effective, but only if they are properly designed, crafted and fitted to your mouth.

Excellent Complete Dentures

Traditional dentures, where the full set of upper or lower teeth are replaced with a removable appliance, often present a number of problems.

Many people experience sores under the denture as a result of slipping or adhesive. Others experience difficulty in talking or chewing. And some dentures simply don't look like real teeth.

When I start creating a set of dentures, there are five aspects taken into account:

  1. Occlusion - The way the teeth come together.
  2. Vertical Dimension - The height the teeth and jaw.
  3. Tissue Surface - The bone and gums on which the dentures will rest.
  4. Esthetics - The proper look of the teeth to fit the person.
  5. Phonetics - How the person will talk and make sounds with the dentures.

Each of these factors is considered from the start to create an esthetic, effective set of dentures.

A series of visits is scheduled with the patient to complete this process, which includes creation of molds of the jaw and existing teeth, and in many cases preparing an "immediate denture" - a set of false teeth designed to be placed immediately after extraction. These are prepared ahead of time so my patients never have to be out of the office without teeth.

The result of a well-crafted set of Excellent Complete Dentures is a happy patient who can live and eat confidently.

Use of Dental Implants

Dental Implants are titanium posts that are designed to be compatible with body's natural tissue. They are inserted into the jaw bone to replace single missing teeth (in which case a crown is placed on top of the post) or anchor dentures in place.

A Fixed Implant Denture - this is the most tried and trusted method of replacing all, or the majority, of the teeth in a jaw. This type of denture is not removed by the patient (although it can be removed by the dentist as needed). It is screwed in to the implants that support it. It works best in the lower jaw due to its design which must allow space under the appliance for cleaning. Dental research has shown that this type of appliance is very long lasting and has a high degree of acceptance from patients.

Types of Dentures 2 Reprinted from the book An Illustrated Guide to Understanding
Dental Implants (c) 1993 by Scott D. Ganz, D.M.D.

I strongly recommend the use of dental implants to stabilize dentures, in cases where this is a viable treatment option for the patient. This has the added benefit of deterring bone loss. Loss of bone in your mouth can cause eventual difficulties with wearing dentures, jaw problems and even change the appearance of your face, giving a sunken look.

It is also true that dentures provide only 10-15% of pressure that your natural teeth are capable of, making dentures that much weaker as a substitute. The addition of dental implants increases the pressure the dentures can withstand and makes them a much stronger form of tooth replacement.

Dental Implants can be placed to secure both full or partial dentures, but each case must evaluated to see if the jaw bone material is capable of supporting the implants. I encourage patients who are curious about implants to come in for a consultation so that we can help them make an informed decision.


An overdenture is a special type of removable denture. It can replace all of the teeth ("full" or "complete" overdenture), or some of the teeth ("partial" overdenture).

Why have an Overdenture and not a regular denture?

Types of Dentures 3 Types of Dentures 4 The metal attachments are bonded to the roots of the teeth.
The buttons in this denture fasten onto the
gold studs on the left.

A tooth has two parts: the "crown" of the tooth, which is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line and the "root", which is below the gum line and holds the tooth in the bone. The bone that holds the root is made just to hold the tooth roots. Thus, when a tooth is extracted, the bone has no root to hold and so that bone starts to deteriorate. Bone loss is inevitable if the roots are removed, but the speed and extent to which it happens varies from patient to patient.

This bone loss most severely affects patients who need removable dentures to replace the teeth they have missing or are about to lose. This is because the stability of a denture depends on how much bone is left to support a denture. It is also why removable dentures have to be routinely relined - the jaw shape is simply changing at a slow or rapid pace.

We can help deter the bone loss if the roots of the teeth are kept and only the top part of the tooth (the "crown") is removed. This way the roots will preserve the bone and help support the denture. The roots may be used not only to preserve the bone but, in addition, can have special "attachments" added to them so that they actually hold the denture in place:

So if you need dentures and some of your teeth can be saved, overdentures can be a workable way to replace your missing teeth.


Removable Partial Dentures

When you are missing several teeth, one of the most efficient and economical ways of replacing the missing teeth is with a removable partial denture. There are different types of removable partial denture:

Types of Dentures 7 This patient has upper and lower
partial dentures, but there
are no wires involved.
  1. Using conventional wire clasps to hold it in place
    Types of Dentures 5
  2. Using special attachments to hold it in place
    Types of Dentures 6

While the conventional wire clasps do a fair job of keeping the denture in place, they can be too tight and place a lot of stress on the tooth, causing it to loosen. If the wires are too loose, the denture will move during function. The wires are also visible when smiling.

Partial dentures made with special attachments can provide excellent stability, holding the denture firmly in place without placing undue stress on the teeth that support the denture. In addition, there are no wires that can be seen. There are different kinds of attachments that can be used.

No-Charge Consultation with Dr. Janisse

Types of Dentures 8

You can take advantage of our No-Charge Consultation where Dr. Janisse will evaluate the state of your teeth and gums, take any needed x-rays and recommend the denture solution that will work best for you.

Dr. Janisse will listen to any concerns you have and you will be able to get any questions answered, including discussing the pros and cons of using dental implants instead of dentures, and whether you are a candidate for dental implants.

To schedule your no-charge consultation, call 802-649-8277 or click here to schedule online.

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