Dentures are dental replacements that can be taken out - in contrary to dental crowns and bridges, which are fixed. Dental dentures are used when the gap that arose due to missing teeth has become so large that a dental bridge cannot close it. Dentures restore the ability to chew and speak which has been impaired by the loss of teeth.
Dentures are divided in full or total dentures and partial dentures. The replacement of the whole row of teeth of the upper or lower jaw is called full or total denture. If only parts have to fill up, it is called a partial denture.
Partial dentures are anchored at the remaining teeth or at dental implants with clamps, push buttons and other means.
As there is no chance of any fixing at own teeth in the case of full dentures, the denture is fixed through embedding in the neighbouring soft parts (such as muscles, ligaments and the mucosa). Furthermore, the denture is held by a vacuum, which is created by the interaction of jaw mucosa and saliva. In addition, adhesive crèmes can be used to improve the hold. In case of an insufficient adhesion, also the full denture can be anchored to dental implants. This even enables a "palate-free" design of the denture, which essentially leads to an improved taste perception.