Dentures Vs Partials - What Exactly Is The Difference?

There are full dentures, and then there are partial dentures... but are they really that good of a solution for missing teeth?
October 24, 2022
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Harrison Spriggs
Full Mouth Dentures

Some of you are quick to pull the trigger on decisions. You look at a situation, go with your gut, and bam. You pull the trigger. 

Take car buying as an example. If you’re quick at pulling the trigger, your experience would go like this. You get in your car and drive to a dealership, ready to trade in that day.

You make a left and swing into the dealership that looks appealing to you. You meander through the parking lot, waiting for something to catch your eye. You don’t have anything definite in mind … so you park and begin to walk the lot. 

At about that time, a navy blue SUV with a leather interior begins calling your name. No need for a salesperson to come to you because you head straight over to ask about a test drive.  

Thirty minutes later, you’ve traded in your car and have signed the dotted line. You pulled that trigger, lickety-split.

But for some people, that would give you a heart attack! Instead, you want to research your best option...

But not just a quick google search...

Oodles and oodles of research. You will leave no stone unturned in your search for a vehicle. 

You start by researching which vehicles are reliable. Once you have that list, you determine which vehicles hold their value. Then, you compare their fuel efficiency and cargo capacity. Next, you decide whether you’ll get new or used and, if it’s used, which year is the best year. 

Finally, you’ve picked the exact year, make, model, and color of the vehicle best suited to you. Time to find the best price in the area.

Yeah... You are not one to jump into things head first. Nobody would ever accuse you of being quick to pull the trigger!

Would you approach a decision about replacing your teeth the same way?

If you are missing teeth already... or about to have some teeth pulled... you have probably been bombarded with information about dentures.

They are definitely the stereotypical solution for people missing their teeth. And generally the first thing people think about...when they don't know they could have permanent teeth again...

And unfortunately, this has continued to be the case for many people who need to replace their teeth. They are pulling the trigger without taking the time to do research. Dentures are all they know. So, instead of asking what the best solution for missing teeth is, they ask questions like...

 “What’s the difference between full dentures and partial dentures?”

Well, we won’t lie to you... Dentures are definitely not our favorite thing

We have seen too many people unhappy. Not able to eat what they want without fear of their teeth falling out...

But, we want you to be well informed. So, we will answer your question. 

We want you to hear all the options before making your decision. That way, you can tell what will be best for you.

Close up of Prosthetic Teeth that fits on Dental Implants

Dentures vs. Partials: The Differences Explained

Many of you are probably looking into dentures because you are missing teeth due to an injury or disease. 

You might have gaps in your smile that make it hard to speak, chew well, or smile.

You also might feel self-conscious because missing teeth can change your face shape.

S‍o, when it comes to dentures, what are your options?

Full Dentures

Full or complete dentures are intended to replace an entire set of top teeth, bottom teeth, or both. 

Most dentures are made from plastic or acrylic, and the base is designed to look like your natural gums. It is this plastic that will be resting right on your gums. It should be made to fit tightly so it doesn’t move around. 

Sitting inside your gum-colored plastic are your new false teeth. These teeth are also intended to closely resemble your natural teeth. These teeth will be responsible for biting and chewing through your food … at some point in the months ahead. 

Full dentures for your upper teeth come with a plate that covers the entire roof of your mouth. This plate is not small. And, if you have a strong gag reflex, it can cause issues.

Our brains are not big fans of this new prosthesis sitting in our mouths. We translate the new dentures as a foreign object that needs to be expelled. So, it can be common for dentures to cause you to gag.

Both upper and lower dentures don’t stay in place very well, a lot of people experience them slipping. Even denture glue doesn’t completely get rid of this problem!

The lower dentures can be especially hard to keep in place. They need the use of gravity and your cheek muscles to stop slippage.

As you can imagine, gagging and slippage bring extra issues... such as having problems speaking. Imagine trying to talk when your teeth feel big and foreign in your mouth... Or if they are moving mid-sentence... Or you are nervous they will fall out.

‍This can be an exhausting experience.

Partial Dentures

Partial Dentures are exactly what they sound like. Instead of covering your full mouth, partials only cover part of your mouth.

A lot of people who have healthy teeth, or are only missing a few teeth, opt for this.

Partial dentures are created with the same plastic that full dentures are made from. They are supposed to be made to fit snugly in your mouth to replace your missing teeth. Typically, those partial dentures will rely on the adjacent teeth to attach them in place. 

Similarities of Complete and Partial Dentures

  • They are both made of the same materials.
  • They both replace missing teeth. 

Yep. Both full dentures and partial dentures can contribute to bone loss. Not only does that change the shape of your mouth, but it can also cause the dentures to fit poorly over time. Wherever teeth are missing, and dentures replace them, bone loss can occur. 

The Bottomline

We do not recommend that you get either full or partial dentures. In our opinion, neither one is the safest or healthiest choice for replacing missing teeth. No matter which one you choose, you can find yourself with bone loss or an unstable bite.

What we recommend are dental implants. Dental implants are a secure and permanent replacement for missing teeth. Because they are firmly attached to your jaw bone through implants, your teeth won't slip.

They can also help stop bone loss by stimulating your jaw bone.

If you are only missing one or two teeth, then a single or partial dental implant can suffice.

But we help people replace all their teeth with a set of full-mouth dental implants.

Not only that, with Nuvia's permanent teeth in 24 hours, you can have your permanent dental implants in... you guessed it...  just 24 hours!

So, before pulling the trigger on dentures, talk to us in a personal consultation.

And if you, like a lot of people, are scared of the dentist, don't worry! We don't poke or prod your mouth.

Instead, we do a non-invasive CT scan and go over all your options for replacing missing teeth.

To get started, fill out this online-evaluation form. We look forward to talking with you!

Nuvia Dental Implant Center Sign

So, before you run out and pull your teeth or spend money on a fast ticket to bone loss, please reach out to us. We want to educate you and help you be completely comfortable with your decision to replace those missing teeth.

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