Different types of upper dentures

Are you considering getting upper dentures? One major concern for people replacing teeth in the upper arch is the standard denture with a pink acrylic palate covering the roof of your mouth. While dentists prefer this type of upper denture because of the natural suction that holds it in place for stability, many wearers find the loss of sensation and taste of a covered palate difficult to live with.

Fortunately, there are different types of upper dentures apart from the complete dentures with a palate, including palateless (horseshoe) dentures and implant-supported dentures, as well as overdentures on natural teeth, if you have some remaining healthy natural teeth, or even partial upper dentures if you’re only missing a few teeth.

Here are the different options for upper dentures that your dentist may recommend:

Complete upper denture with palate

Dentists typically cover the palate when creating dentures to ensure support and retention.

  • Support prevents dentures from shifting while biting, promoting stability
  • Retention prevents them from dislodging during activities such as eating and talking.

In most cases, covering the palate is necessary to achieve optimal support and retention for full upper dentures.

However, in rare instances where the bone on the sides of the mouth is robust, it may be possible to avoid palate coverage by choosing horseshoe (palateless dentures), either with dental implants or without implants, such that they’re held in place using denture adhesives.

Alternative upper dentures

Horseshoe denture or palateless denture

This is a type of denture that does not cover the entire palate of the upper jaw. Instead, it is designed to leave the palate uncovered, providing a more natural and comfortable experience for individuals who struggle with traditional dentures that cover the entire palate.

The design of a palateless denture involves creating a horseshoe-shaped prosthesis that fits snugly against the remaining teeth, gums, or dental implants. The horseshoe-shaped base provides support and retention while leaving the palate uncovered. This design allows for improved stability and comfort compared to traditional dentures.

Palateless dentures offer several advantages over traditional dentures. One of the primary benefits is enhanced taste and sensory perception. By leaving the palate uncovered, the wearer can enjoy the natural sensation of food and drink, allowing for a more enjoyable eating experience. Additionally, some individuals find it easier to speak and pronounce words with a palateless denture since the tongue has more freedom of movement.

Palateless dentures can be used in different situations.

  • In cases where some natural teeth are still present, the denture can be designed to fit around the existing teeth, utilizing them for additional support and retention.
  • Alternatively, dental implants can be used to anchor the palateless denture securely in place. Implant-supported palateless dentures offer even greater stability and functionality, as the implants serve as artificial tooth roots to anchor the denture firmly in the jawbone.

Cobalt-Chrome Dentures:

For individuals with remaining natural teeth, cobalt-chrome dentures can be a viable option. These dentures feature a horse-shoe shape that leaves the palate uncovered while utilizing the remaining teeth for support and retention. This alternative offers a distinctive approach for those seeking to avoid complete palate coverage.

Cobalt-chrome dentures, also known as metal-based dentures, are a type of denture that incorporates a framework made of cobalt-chromium alloy, which is known for its strength, durability, and biocompatibility. It offers excellent resistance to corrosion, making it a reliable choice for long-term use.

The metal framework provides stability, support, and retention for the denture, enhancing its overall strength and functionality. Moreover, this metal framework can be custom-fabricated to fit around the existing teeth, utilizing them for additional support and stability. This makes cobalt-chrome dentures a suitable option for individuals who have a few remaining healthy teeth and desire a denture that can effectively integrate with them.

One of the significant advantages of cobalt-chrome dentures is their slim and lightweight design. The metal framework is relatively thin, resulting in a more comfortable and less bulky denture compared to traditional acrylic dentures. The reduced bulkiness allows for a more natural fit and improved speech clarity.

Furthermore, cobalt-chrome dentures are known for their longevity and resistance to wear. The metal framework is highly durable, withstanding the forces of chewing and maintaining its structural integrity over time. This durability contributes to the long-term success and reliability of cobalt-chrome dentures.

Implant-Retained Dentures

Implant-retained dentures are a popular choice for individuals wishing to circumvent palate coverage. These dentures securely attach to dental implants, providing robust and stable teeth. Unlike traditional dentures that rest on the gums, implant-retained dentures rely on implants for support and retention. This eliminates the need for a palate cover and offers enhanced stability and comfort.

Implant-retained dentures typically feature a horseshoe shape, reducing bulkiness and improving aesthetics. By anchoring into the jawbone, the dental implants ensure stability, eliminating the necessity of an acrylic palate to cover the gums.

One notable advantage of implant-retained dentures is the preservation of natural gum sensations. Additionally, these dentures can be easily removed for cleaning and during sleep.

Implant-retained dentures present an excellent solution for individuals experiencing jawbone loss. The dental implants provide stability, support, and aid in preserving bone density. If uncertainty persists regarding the ideal denture option, dental professionals are available to answer questions and provide guidance for an informed decision.

Final Thoughts

It is important to note that the suitability of a palateless upper overdenture depends on individual factors such as the condition of the remaining teeth, the health of the gums, and the availability of sufficient bone support for dental implants.

Therefore, it is essential to consult with a qualified dentist or prosthodontist who can evaluate your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment option.


  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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