Partial Vs. Full Dentures. What’s The Difference?

Posted on: June 15, 2017

DenturesDentures are custom-made removable replacements for missing teeth and the surrounding tissues.

If you live near Tucson and have lost one or more of your adult teeth, there is absolutely no reason missing teeth should cause you to feel self-conscious every time you smile, thus casting a shadow on your social or professional life. As a dentist in Tucson I can replace your missing teeth with either partial or full dentures that will not only improve your appearance and smile, but will help you eat and speak more comfortably.

Problems Caused by Missing Teeth

For anyone who loses one or several adult permanent teeth, there is more to worry about than just appearance. Because our teeth form a vital part of the structure of our faces, missing teeth will eventually cause your facial muscles to sag, making one have an older appearance. Difficulty pronouncing certain words is often a problem.

Additionally, missing a tooth can negatively affect chewing certain foods, and thus lead to major changes in one’s diet. This can severely affect one’s overall health, since foods that are the most difficult to chew, offer the greatest nutritional value. These foods include apples, nuts, and whole grain bread. Softer and foods that are easier to chew tend to offer little nutritional value.

Finally, because our teeth are not quite as securely fixed in our jawbone as we imagine, the teeth on both sides of a gap will, over time, lean in toward the empty space. These crooked teeth are not only harder to keep clean, but can and will affect one’s bite, which is how the upper and lower sets of teeth come together. Missing several teeth in a row is a compelling reason to consider getting dentures.

Full Vs. Partial Dentures

Dentures are custom-made in a laboratory from impressions taken of the patient’s mouth. However, depending on how many teeth the patient has lost, I will determine what type of denture is most suited to the situation. An ideal candidate is someone who is missing several teeth in a row, but whose oral health is otherwise good. For someone who is missing most or all of their teeth along the dental arch, full dentures may be the right solution. However, if the patient is missing only a few teeth, then a partial denture may be the ideal solution.

The base of a full set of dentures consists of a flesh-colored plastic or acrylic that rests on the gums and is perfectly molded to fit snugly and comfortably. The upper set covers the palate or roof of the mouth. There is a thin layer of saliva between the denture and the gums that form a seal to help anchor the denture, which is why a dry mouth can cause dentures to become loose. Because there has to be sufficient space for the tongue, the lower set is horseshoe-shaped and stays in place by the muscles in the cheek and the tongue.

A partial denture is a plate that has one or more prosthetic teeth. However, if a patient has sufficient and strong natural teeth, a dental bridge can be a useful solution. Bridges connect the gap between two teeth. We can anchor a false tooth to crowns on either side of the gap. However, if the natural teeth are not in sufficiently good condition, we can attach the prosthetic tooth to an implant in the jaw itself. While it is certainly true that dentures take some time to get used to and will never feel the same as your natural teeth, the dentures made today look far more natural-looking and are much more comfortable than those made even a decade ago.

As a dentist in Tucson I will not only help you understand the procedure of being fitted for dentures, the breaking in period, and how to take care of your new dentures, but I will also ensure they fit comfortably and snugly.


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