Do I Need Full or Partial Dentures?

About 41 million Americans wear dentures, improving their confidence and enabling them to avoid more serious oral health problems, including additional tooth loss. At A to Z Dental Studio, Hiba Zakhour, DDS, offers custom denture solutions for patients in Fairfax, Virginia, including both full and partial dentures using the latest materials and technology. Here’s how to tell which option is the better choice for you.

Full vs. partial dentures

The number of teeth that need to be replaced is typically what determines whether you’ll need a full denture or a partial denture. 

Partial dentures

If you’re missing one or up to several teeth on your upper or lower arch, then a partial denture could be a good solution for you. It fills the gaps where your teeth are missing, as well as preventing your teeth from shifting out of alignment. 

Full dentures

Also called a complete denture, full dentures are a good choice for people who are missing all or almost all of their teeth on either the upper or lower arch. Even if you have some teeth remaining in your upper or lower arch, a full denture might be a better option than a partial denture, depending on the health of the remaining teeth. Dr. Zakhour will be able to determine if these teeth can be saved or if extractions followed by a full denture are a better alternative.

Full dentures feature a gum-colored support structure attached to a full row of teeth. The support structure is designed to fit snugly on your gums. Denture adhesives can be used to optimize the attachment so the denture stays put when you’re talking or eating.

Full dentures can be either conventional or immediate, depending on when the denture is made. With a conventional denture, Dr. Zakhour extracts any remaining damaged teeth and your gums are allowed to heal for a couple of weeks while the denture is made in a lab. You’ll come back to our office for a final fitting once your denture is ready.

With an immediate denture, any remaining damaged teeth are removed, then the denture is fabricated in our office and fitted right away, during the same appointment. An immediate denture means you won’t have to spend any time without teeth. However, because your gums will shrink and harden during healing, you’ll have to come in to have your dentures refitted once any swelling subsides. 

Another type of denture

Most people think of dental implants replacing a single missing tooth, and that is certainly one very popular use. But implants can also be used as anchors to secure a denture to your jaw. With an implant-secured denture, Dr. Zakhour places implant posts into your jaws at specific locations. Then, your denture “snaps” onto these posts, providing a very secure fit. 

Implants can also be used to secure partial dentures to help you feel more confident about the way your dentures fit and function.

Adjusting to dentures

Many people are concerned that a denture will interfere with the way they eat, speak, or even look. The fact is, today’s dentures are made of special materials that make them a lot lighter, a lot more durable, and much more comfortable and natural-feeling than dentures made even a decade ago.

If you’re missing one or more teeth, having those teeth replaced is an important part of maintaining your oral health and your confidence. To learn more about the denture and implant options at A to Z Dental Studio, call the office or use our online form and request an appointment today.

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