Do You Need Partial Dentures, Full Dentures, or Implant-Supported Dentures?

What type of dentures are for you

How to pick the right type of dentures.

Tooth loss is a common dental problem that most adults will face at some point in their lives. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of missing teeth in adults, followed by tooth decay and dental injuries. Whether you’ve lost teeth to oral disease or an injury impacting your face, your current situation doesn’t need to be your new normal. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of prosthodontics.

Modern dentistry offers several solutions for replacing missing teeth with realistic prosthetics that will boost your self-confidence and help you lead a more enjoyable lifestyle. Services like dentures and dental implants are examples of prosthodontic care that achieves these goals.

Let’s dive into the differences between the three main tooth replacement options and how to tell if you’re a candidate.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures replace multiple missing teeth with a single oral appliance. A partial denture can replace a small row of teeth, say three or four consecutively missing teeth, or replace several individual missing teeth throughout the arch. 

There is the option of removable or fixed partial dentures, depending on your needs or your dentist’s recommendation. A fixed partial denture functions like a traditional dental bridge, whereas a removable partial denture can be taken out for cleaning or sleeping, just like a traditional full denture.


Partial dentures are a simple but versatile treatment option for replacing multiple missing teeth alongside natural teeth. They’re minimally invasive and an affordable choice that can be a long-term solution or be used temporarily until a more permanent procedure is decided upon. 


Partial dentures take some time to adapt to, although this is true of all types of dentures. Some wearers find their removable partial dentures don’t feel quite as stable as a fixed partial denture or dental bridge. Partial dentures are also not a permanent solution, as the prosthetic will need to be replaced every five to ten years. 

It’s also important to take proactive action in maintaining your oral hygiene, as poor flossing and brushing habits will encourage plaque build-up along the prosthetic.


If you have a few missing teeth in an otherwise full smile, partial dentures are an easy way to fill the gaps without undergoing surgery. They’re also an ideal alternative to individual dental implants if you’re not currently a candidate but need something to support healthy bite alignment until candidacy can be achieved.

Full Dentures

The idea of dentures usually makes people think of full or complete dentures that replace an entire arch of missing teeth. Though most common with older adults in their senior years, full dentures are a wonderful option for anyone who experienced complete tooth loss, regardless of their age. 

Full dentures are customized dental prosthetics that replicate the look of natural teeth and gums. A full denture rests comfortably and securely along the wearer’s gum tissue and underlying jawbone. The use of special adhesives helps keep the denture firmly in place while speaking or eating.


A substantial benefit of full dentures is how easily they allow a person to regain the look of a full, healthy smile without oral surgery. Modern full dentures look extremely realistic, and an experienced dentist will ensure they fit your jaw anatomy with maximum comfort. 

Full dentures are also removable, so taking care of them is simple. You’ll remove them for cleaning and before going to bed. Your dentist will also have you return for periodic check-ups to ensure your gums are healthy and your dentures are still fitting well.


Dentures don’t last forever, and just like partial dentures, they’ll need to be replaced every five to 10 years. Sometimes a reline of the denture will be all that’s needed, but if your dentures are too worn or have become significantly loose, a completely new set will be necessary. 

Full dentures also require some dietary changes. Certain foods you will no longer be able to eat include very chewy or sticky foods. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re a foodie who enjoys various cuisines or meals as social events.

Even after getting used to their dentures, some wearers find themselves worried about their prosthetics slipping out of place while speaking or eating. 


If you’re facing the imminent loss of an entire arch of teeth, full dentures may be the best treatment option if you’re looking for a non-invasive, affordable solution without the extensive healing period of implant-supported dentures. Although they have some disadvantages, full dentures are still the most frequently performed prosthodontic service for complete tooth loss.

Implant-Supported Dentures

Do you like the simplicity of dentures but wish you didn’t have to worry about slipping, messy adhesives, or the need for denture relines? Implant-supported dentures combine the ease of dentures with the long-lasting benefits of single dental implants.

Implant-supported dentures replace an entire arch of teeth with four to eight titanium posts supporting a realistic denture. The denture may be removable or fixed, with the latter often preferred for its ease of care and overall stability. 


Compared to partial and full dentures, implant-supported dentures look, feel, and function much more closely to natural teeth. Since the denture snaps into place, there’s no chance of it slipping or becoming loose while speaking or eating. You also won’t need any adhesive, and caring for the dentures is easy. Non-removable implant-supported dentures can be brushed like natural teeth and cleaned with a water flosser system.


Implant-supported dentures have a rather lengthy healing period following surgery. Osseointegration, the process of the jawbone fusing to the titanium implant post, takes several months. Your implants will be somewhat delicate during this time, so following your dentist’s guidelines for a soft food diet and oral hygiene maintenance is important. 

The overall value of permanent dental implants is higher than less permanent restorations, but the upfront cost is typically more expensive. If you don’t have dental insurance or your insurance plan has minimal coverage for dental implant solutions, this is something to be aware of before starting treatment.


If you’re an adult with adequate oral and general health, and a jawbone density capable of supporting implants, you’re likely a candidate for implant-supported dentures. You should also be informed of what to expect during healing, especially if a bone graft will be needed for your implants, and be comfortable with the overall process.

It’s also strongly encouraged that anyone interested in implant-supported dentures considers stopping tobacco use, vaping, and alcohol consumption. These habits greatly increase the risk of implant rejection or peri-implantitis, especially for those that smoke daily.

Your perfect smile makeover solution at Orchard Dental Associates.

There are so many possibilities for restoring your smile after extensive or complete tooth loss. Your dentist will help you decide which solution is most effective and will yield the best results possible for your needs.

Your initial consultation with one of Orchard Dental Associates’ dentists will include a thorough evaluation of your oral health, a discussion about possible treatment options, and a mutual decision on which treatment option is one you’d like to pursue. 

Schedule your consultation by calling our Corpus Christi dental clinic or requesting a visit online.

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