The generic term dentures includes prostheses, bridges, crowns and also the implant-supported variants of these replacement solutions. Replacement dentures are therefore considered to actually replace lost tooth mass. Conversely, this means that fillings or inlays made of gold or ceramic materials as well as fillings for the root canal of individual teeth are not defined as dentures. The various forms of dentures differ in terms of

  • the materials used,
  • the cost,
  • their compatibility with the gums and surrounding teeth,
  • the life and also
  • their appearance.

The latter property plays an important role in the choice of material, especially in the visible area of ​​the teeth (ie in the area around the anterior incisors).

Overview of this article

General forms of dentures

Basically, there are three different types of dentures. These are broken down as follows:

Fixed dentures

This variant is either completely or partially placed on an existing tooth. Crowns thus replace the damaged part of the tooth or - as a full crown - the complete tooth. As the name already suggests, a fixed denture can no longer be separated from the tooth and thus can no longer be removed from the healthy tooth without the professional help of a dentist.

Removable dentures

If the dentition is still available in sufficient form, specially made prostheses are used for the patient. The attachment takes place on existing teeth or implants. The wearer of the removable denture can remove it at any time, for example, to clean it or replace it with a new model.


This form of dental prosthesis is completely implanted in the existing jawbone and can not be separated from the dentition without external help. An exception is the telescopic prosthesis, which is removable and anchored securely on the implanted titanium roots in the push-button system in the jaw.

A big advantage of the implants is the exact adaptation to the needs of the patient as well as the appearance, which can be adapted by the different materials very precisely to the wishes and the natural tooth color.

The following sections show some of the common forms of dentures and how they differ.

Dentures in detail, Part 1: Crowns

The most common variants of dentures includes crowns.They are always made to measure as closely as possible to the natural appearance of the already damaged tooth. To be able to put the crown on the tooth, it is necessary to first grind the remaining tooth.

The patient has, depending on his aesthetic wishes (and also the purse) the choice between two general variants:

Crowns and partial crowns of metal

Frequently used metals for dental crowns are gold or alloys of the precious metal as well as palladium, chrome or even nickel. By using hard metal tooth crowns of this type have a very high strength. Even high pressure (powerful biting) usually does not damage a metal crown. More expensive, but tolerable in terms of allergies, are titanium crowns. They are very light and at the same time extremely stable. A negative aspect is the appearance of metal crowns. If they are used in the front area of ​​the dentition, crowns are given a ceramics veneer. These come very close to the natural tooth color.

Crowns and partial crowns made of ceramic

Optically, ceramic crowns look better. They are visually distinguishable from the natural tooth color only with great effort. If metals cause allergies, ceramic crowns are often the only possible variant for dentures. However, they have a shorter durability than metal crowns. Added to this is the property of damaging neighboring teeth more easily. The dentist must also grind a large portion of the still healthy tooth to use ceramic crowns. If visual aesthetics are the most important thing, there is no way around this denture.

Dentures in detail, Part 2: Bridges

Basically, teeth that are replaced by a bridge are also crowns. The difference is in the construction: Between two intact teeth, a bridge is stretched to which the crown is attached. The two healthy teeth are practically considered as supporting pillars, which fasten the crown.

Bridges are not limited to a single tooth to be replaced, but can replace multiple teeth. Again, the patient has the choice between different systems and materials:

Inlay bridges:

The bridge is not attached to existing crowns or teeth, but to inlays - ie fillings - adjacent teeth. The advantage is the absence of grinding of the adjacent teeth, since the attachment only takes place on the fillings. The disadvantage, however, is the fact that the fillings can become loose over time. Also, the bridge has no more support and will fall out.

Free-end bridges:

If only a single tooth is missing at the end of a row of teeth, these bridges are ideal. The attachment of the crown then takes place only on the two last still healthy teeth. The disadvantages are the low stability at high pressure and the possibly high load for the two intact support teeth. An implant is often better.

Adhesive bridges:

Compared to fixed bridges, this bridge adheres to the healthy teeth while protecting the teeth, but it lacks stability. They are often used for the front teeth and a grinding of the surrounding teeth is almost completely eliminated. Durability is not overly long at about five years old. Dentists also use bridges in different metals or in full ceramic models.

Dentures in Detail, Part 3: Implants

Implants are placed directly into the healthy jawbone. There they are permanently attached and under normal circumstances will no longer break or fall out. Like bridges and crowns, they are available in numerous metal variants, e.g. as titanium and ceramic implants. The advantages include:

  • the bone is completely preserved and no grinding of adjacent teeth is necessary.
  • The chewing function is best maintained through the use of precisely adapted implants.
  • By selecting the material, the patient avoids allergic reactions, so that, for example, gingivitis or similar complaints rarely occur when using implants.
  • The implantation of teeth is as low risk as the attachment of crowns or bridges.
  • From a healthy tooth an implant is optically indistinguishable, as long as it is a model made of all-ceramic.

Costs for dentures

One of the major disadvantages of implants for teeth are the high costs: between 1,800 euros and 3,400 euros are to be estimated per tooth, plus any costs for a bone structure. It is therefore the best way to replace missing teeth. At the same time, however, it is by far the most expensive variant. A dental bridge for the upper jaw, for example, which replaces a single tooth, is much cheaper at a cost of about 500 euros.

Regardless of the dentures used, the health insurance pays half of the so-called standard care. This depends on the findings: If, for example, a tooth is missing and the dentist estimates a cost of 500 euros for the supply of a bridge, the health insurance pays 250 euros. If the patient chooses an implant, the person has to bear these costs himself - minus the mentioned 250 Euro for the standard care. In percentage terms, the savings are thus lower, the more expensive the dentures.