The Difference Between Full And Partial Dentures

There are many different parts of our body that we take for granted, and our teeth are no exception, not realizing quite how much we rely on them until we no longer can. Unfortunately, tooth loss is an extremely common problem, even amongst those people who make a concerted effort to take the best care of their teeth possible. There can be a range of reasons for an adult to lose a tooth, from having one knocked out in an accident or injury to a tooth being so badly decayed that it falls out. While our dentist will do everything in their power to help you retain your natural teeth as long as possible, the fact is that in many cases, extraction is the only viable course of action to prevent a damaged or decayed tooth from affecting the entire mouth.


If you are missing multiple teeth, you will probably find that the function and appearance of your smile has been significantly adversely affected. It might be difficult for you to bite or chew, and you may feel embarrassed about smiling in public. If this is the case, then our dentist will recommend that you consider dentures.

Dentures have been the main solution for multiple missing teeth for a very long time. Fortunately, their design and the materials used to make them have continued to evolve, and today, modern dentures are considered an extremely successful treatment choice. There are primarily two different types of denture available – full and partial dentures.

smiling patient with doctor

What are full dentures?

When a person conjures up an image of dentures in their mind, they almost always think of full dentures. These are an entire arch of prosthetic teeth, attached to a mold that sits atop the gums. In modern full dentures, each tooth is created individually, in the shape, size and color needed to make the denture look extremely natural. The arch is then secured in place using strong dental adhesive. If you have opted for implant-supported dentures, the denture arch will be securely attached to the connectors in your gums.


Full dentures are usually recommended for those patients who are missing either all or the majority of their teeth in either their upper or lower jaw. If you still have a few natural teeth remaining, but along with our dentist you have made the decision to choose a full arch of dentures, these teeth will be removed under anesthetic.

What are partial dentures?

As their name suggests, partial dentures are a solution that utilize the same original denture design, but rather than replacing an entire arch of teeth, the denture fills only the part of your mouth with the missing teeth. This means that the exact placement of the denture will depend on the location of your missing teeth. Again, the prosthetics will be designed specifically in keeping with the size, shape and color of your natural teeth so that the device looks as discreet as possible. The partial denture will also be secured using special denture adhesive, or in the case of implant-supported dentures, the connectors rising from the gums.

Exactly which type of denture is right for you will depend on the number of teeth you are missing, the health of any remaining teeth and the professional opinion of our dental practitioner. If you would like to make an appointment to discuss dentures with us, contact us and we would be delighted to speak to you.