What Is a Partial vs. Complete Denture?

Having missing teeth can cause an individual to experience issues ranging from the inability to chew correctly to confidence issues. Dentures are custom-made removable devices that replace missing teeth. They can help restore oral functions and appearance.

There are two types of dentures: partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures replace some teeth, while complete dentures take the place of all the teeth.


Partial Dentures 

Partial dentures are removable devices that consist of artificial teeth attached to a plastic base. These are in use while some teeth are still in place. A dentist inserts metal devices to hold the denture and then uses a fixed bridge to replace one or several missing teeth with crowns. They then insert partial dentures in the gaps left by the natural teeth to prevent them from moving or changing position. 


Complete Dentures 

Dentists recommend complete dentures when the patient has no teeth in the arch. These can be conventional or immediate, depending on the patient's needs. Traditional dentures stay in the mouth several weeks after teeth removal to allow for the gum tissue to heal.

Dentists place immediate dentures soon after tooth removal, which means that the patient wears the dentures during the healing period. The dentures require adjustments to ensure they fit correctly.


Partial vs. Complete Dentures

When deciding the best option for you, the dentist will examine the natural teeth. Partial dentures are ideal when the patient has teeth that can support the denture. The remaining teeth should be healthy and expected to last for years.

Complete dentures are perfect when the patient does not have viable natural teeth. Modern dentures are durable and long-lasting, designed to provide optimum performance. The dentist at Fei Hwang, DDS, Milpitas Family and Cosmetic Dentist will make the best decision based on your overall health and well-being.


Process of Making Dentures 

The process of creating dentures takes several weeks. You will make several dental visits, during which time the dentist will determine the best device for you. The dental specialist will make an impression on your jaw and take measurements to determine the spacing. They also assess how the jaws relate to each other and create models or wax forms of the dentures.

The dentist will determine the dentures' ideal position, shape, color, and fit by trying on the model. They will cast the final dentures and make the adjustments as necessary.  


Caring for Dentures 

Dentures require regular cleaning since they are susceptible to plaque and tartar, just like natural teeth. Being removable makes them relatively easy to clean.


  • Run the dentures under warm water to remove food particles

  • Use a denture brush and denture cleaners, which are more gentle than regular toothpaste, on all surfaces

  • Clean around metal clasps, ensuring that you do not bend them

  • Soak the dentures in warm water overnight

  • You might also experience an increase in saliva flow and minor irritation in the first few weeks

Wearing your dentures will feel odd for a while, but the issues will reduce as you get used to them. With proper care, your partial or complete dentures should last for years. 

For more on partial and complete dentures, visit Fei Hwang, DDS, Milpitas Family and Cosmetic Dentist at our office in Milpitas, California. You can call (408) 729-7882 today to schedule an appointment.

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