What's the Difference Between Full Dentures and Partial Dentures?

21 June 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Dentures are either full or partial. If you are missing teeth, dentures can replace those teeth. But you might be unsure of which type of denture is right for you. This article will help you to understand the main differences between partial dentures and full dentures. You can then use that knowledge to choose the option that suits you best.

Partial dentures work alongside healthy teeth

If you still have at least some remaining healthy teeth, a partial denture is the right option for you. You can have one partial denture per arch—your upper and your lower arch—if necessary. Since healthy teeth help to keep your jawbone intact by preventing bone resorption, keeping your healthy teeth is important.

Partial dentures consist of an acrylic base upon which the false teeth connect. Some partials may have a metal framework, which strengthens them and provides stability whilst you wear them.

Partial dentures rely on your remaining healthy teeth to stay in place as you wear them throughout the day. In some cases, partials have metal clasps that wrap around your teeth whilst in place. And sometimes, dentists use precision attachments to attach a partial to the surrounding healthy teeth. Dentists work with their patients to create custom partial dentures.

Full dentures often require the removal of damaged teeth

Partial dentures are not a good option for patients that have no healthy or undamaged teeth left. If your teeth are badly broken, worn down or damaged due to tooth decay, then you are a good candidate for full dentures.

The first step to getting your full dentures is to remove the badly damaged teeth. This makes room for the full denture to be placed. You can choose immediate dentures, which dentists place immediately after surgically removing all damaged teeth, or standard full dentures, which allow your mouth to heal fully before placement.

Immediate full dentures are useful if you need to replace a full arch of teeth quickly. But immediate dentures don't last as long as standard full dentures do.

Finally, unlike partial dentures, which usually anchor to healthy teeth, full dentures don't use clasps or attachments to stay in place. Upper full dentures use the natural suction created by the film of saliva on the roof of the mouth to stay in place. And lower full dentures rely on the muscles of the cheeks and tongue to remain in place.

You may need to use dental adhesives to keep your full denture in place, especially while you get used to wearing them.

Contact your dentist to learn more about full dentures.