Dentures are removeable replacements for spaces where teeth used to be. They consist of plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. Plastic dentures rest on gum, while those with metal are supported by some or all remaining natural teeth.

Temporary dentures

These are fitted whilst healing takes place after one to many teeth have been removed.

40 years and more ago it was normal to take out teeth and wait six months for healing before dentures were made. This was the cheaper option and socially accepted. Often people got used to eating without dentures and found the transition to their new set difficult, so continued to eat without them, perhaps only worn when appearance was important.

Nowadays, few accept this, and don't want to go without teeth, so prefer immediately fitting dentures. They don't realise how much healing has to take place and how loose dentures may become. Denture adhesives help them cope until their more permanent set is made, but they may find the need to continue with adhesives afterwards. It would be unusual to use metal in a temporary denture on the grounds of cost and the difficulty of adjusting it.

Longer term dentures

Because the mouth changes throughout life plastic dentures should be replaced every 5 to 7 years. Metal dentures totally supported by natural teeth may have a much longer lifespan.

Pros and Cons of dentures


  • Cheaper than other options particularly if many teeth are involved.
  • Easy to make adjustments and additions to plastic dentures


  • Dentures must be removed and cleaned frequently to avoid disease
  • Dentures may move during eating and speaking and require muscle control, which some people find difficult.
  • Denture adhesives may be required and these are messy, tending to trap food particles, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease if any natural teeth remain.
  • Many have a psychological aversion to having dentures and acceptance may be difficult.