Dentures can be generally divided into two categories; partial dentures and complete dentures.
In both types, the dentures are removable, meaning that they are not fixed or cemented in place. They are removed daily for cleaning and can be serviced when needed outside of the mouth.
Partial dentures are used to replace missing teeth when there are still some natural teeth present. They can be made of acrylic or, in some instances, a combination of acrylic and metal. They get their retention from clasping onto the existing teeth.
Complete dentures would be used when there are no natural teeth present. Their retention comes from denture fitting tightly against the patient's palate or the mandibular ridge. Often to aid in retention, the patient has to use an adhesive, such as a paste, powder or pad.
Despite some limitations, dentures can be an effective, esthetic, prosthetic solution for a number of clinical situations. They can reconstruct a patient's bite, act as a transitional prosthesis while waiting for implants to integrate or even solve an immediate esthetic issue.