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Understanding the Difference Between Partial and Full Dentures

Understanding the Difference Between Partial and Full Dentures

If you have missing teeth, you’re in good company: According to the American College of Prosthodontists, about 120 million Americans are missing one or more teeth, and roughly 36 million have no teeth. About 41% of Americans use dentures to replace those teeth and restore their bite, their smile, and their facial appearance.

As a leading dentist in Glendora, California, Minal Patel, DDS, uses state-of-the-art techniques to help patients at Park Place Smiles get the right dentures for their needs, and that includes choosing between full and partial dentures. In this post, learn the differences between these two options and what to expect if you need dentures.

Full vs. partial dentures

The primary difference between full dentures and partial dentures is the number of teeth they replace.

Full dentures

Full dentures are designed for people who are missing all of their teeth on either the upper or the lower arch. People who are missing all of their teeth on both arches can wear two full dentures to replace their teeth and restore their smiles.

Full dentures feature a durable plastic base made of very lightweight material. The base is tinted to match your gum tissue, so it blends in when you’re wearing it. Artificial teeth or crowns are attached to the base. These teeth are also expertly shaped and tinted to look and feel natural.

Dentures are designed to hug the contours of your gums and palate for a secure fit. Denture adhesives help ensure they stay put even when biting and chewing. 

Partial dentures

Partial dentures can be a great solution for anyone who’s missing one or several teeth. Like a full denture, a partial denture features a durable base attached to one or more crowns. In addition to improving your bite balance and your appearance, a partial denture helps prevent your other teeth from moving out of alignment over time.

Partial dentures are designed to fit snugly and securely between or around your natural teeth, shaped and tinted to blend beautifully. Some people opt for bridges instead of crowns, but bridges do have some drawbacks. 

First, you need healthy teeth on either side of the bridge to hold the device in place. Plus, bridges can be more difficult to care for, requiring some special techniques to clean around them so your gums stay healthy.

Getting dentures: What’s involved

Dentures typically take a couple of office visits: One to take impressions and one a few weeks later to fit your dentures and adjust them for comfort and security. If you have cavities or if you need to have extractions to prepare for your dentures, these steps might take an additional visit.

At your first visit, Dr. Patel takes detailed impressions of your bite, focusing on the areas where your teeth are missing. The impressions are sent to a dental lab that specializes in comfortable, state-of-the-art dentures. 

Once your dentures are ready, you’ll come in for a final fitting. Dr. Patel can make adjustments in the office to ensure your dentures fit snugly without causing discomfort or sore spots. If you notice any issues once you begin using your dentures, give us a call right away so we can adjust them.

Most people get used to their new dentures fairly quickly. Reading aloud and eating different foods will help you adjust more rapidly. You should also wear your dentures regularly, taking them off only to clean them and to sleep.

Find out more about dentures

If you’re missing one or more teeth, dentures can help prevent further oral health problems while restoring your smile and confidence. To learn more about dentures and how they can help you, call 626-226-1802 or book an appointment online with us at Park Place Smiles today.

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