Prosthetic dentistry is the replacement of missing teeth, which may have been lost for a variety of reasons, with either fixed or removable dentures. However, in Great Britain, prosthetic dentistry is usually understood to relate to removable dentures. Until relatively recently, most of the population of the British Isles assumed they would need dentures at some stage in their lives but, with improved oral hygiene, better diet and, particularly, the advent of fluoride supplements, the vast majority will retain sufficient teeth to serve them all their days. Nevertheless, many people still require dentures.

Why might I need dentures?

Natural teeth may have been lost due to caries (dental decay), periodontal (gum) disease, or trauma. If you have lost posterior (back) teeth and still have all your premolar teeth and those in front, you will have what is called the "shortened dental arch" and should manage well. If you have lost more teeth you may well require replacements. Depending upon a host of factors these replacements might be fixed or removable but, for our purposes here, please assume we are talking about removable dentures.