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  • Writer's pictureSusan Leung

Dentures or Partials: Choosing the Right Solution for your Smile


partial dentures


Embarking on a journey to restore your smile with dental prosthetics, like dentures or partials, is a significant step towards enhancing your quality of life. This decision, while exciting, often comes with many questions and considerations. You may be stuck choosing between getting an entire set of new teeth, or just getting partial dentures to replace a few. Understanding the key differences, benefits, and processes involved in choosing between dentures and partials is essential. This comprehensive guide aims to provide detailed insights and information, assisting you in making an informed decision. Whether you're facing complete tooth loss or looking to fill gaps left by missing teeth, this article delves deep into all your options, addressing common concerns and offering practical advice.


What are Dentures?

Dentures, commonly known as false teeth, are prosthetic devices created to replace missing teeth. They come in two primary forms: full dentures and partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all teeth in the upper or lower jaw (or both) are missing. They rest directly on the gums, often times being secured in place with dental implants, replacing the entire set of teeth. Partial dentures, on the other hand, are suitable for individuals who still retain some of their natural teeth. These partials are designed to fit snugly between the remaining teeth, filling the gaps and preventing the natural teeth from shifting.


Benefits of Dentures

Dentures offer myriad benefits, crucial for those with missing teeth. The most significant advantage is the restoration of basic mouth functions, including improved chewing ability and clearer speech. Dentures also play a vital role in restoring the aesthetic appearance of a full smile, which can significantly boost self-confidence. Additionally, they support facial muscles, preventing the sagging of facial skin and helping maintain a more youthful appearance. Modern dentures are customizable in terms of colour, shape, and size, ensuring they look natural. When maintained properly, dentures can serve as a long-term solution, providing a youthful and beautiful smile for a lifetime.


Understanding Partials

Partials, or partial dentures, cater to those who haven't lost all their teeth but have significant gaps in their smile, or have teeth that have blackened or become infected, and need to be removed. They are designed to fit comfortably with the existing natural teeth, filling the spaces and preventing the remaining teeth from shifting position. Partials typically consist of replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored base, sometimes connected by a metal framework. The design is such that they blend seamlessly with the natural teeth, both functionally and aesthetically. Partials are often considered more comfortable and adaptable than full dentures, especially in terms of preserving the mouth's natural structure.


Understanding Full Dentures

The creation of dentures involves several intricate steps to ensure a perfect fit and comfortable experience. Modern dentures are primarily made from high-quality acrylic resin, which is chosen for its adaptability, durability, and aesthetic appeal. The fitting process for dentures is meticulous and involves multiple dental appointments. Initial impressions of the jaw are taken, followed by several trials with models to ensure proper fit, shape, and colour. Dentures also offer extensive customization, allowing them to mimic the natural appearance of teeth closely, to achieve the exact smile you are looking for, including that Hollywood smile if that's what you're looking for. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and periodic dental check-ups, is essential to maintain the functionality and appearance of dentures.


Comparing Costs: Dentures vs. Partials

The cost of dental prosthetics is a critical consideration for many patients. There are many factors influencing the cost of dentures. including the type of material used, the extent of customization, as well as whether or not you opt for dental implants to permanently secure the teeth. In general however,, partial dentures are going to be much cheaper than a full set of dentures, so when considering your teeth replacement, partial dentures may be best for you if you do not absolutely need to have all of your teeth removed. It is also important to consider that you may be eligible for coverage either through your insurance, and even for full coverage through the new Canadian Dental Coverage Program (CDCP).


Who Needs Dentures?

Dentures are typically recommended for individuals who have lost most or all of their teeth due to various reasons, including extensive tooth decay, periodontal disease, or injury. Loss of teeth can lead to several problems, such as difficulty in eating, speaking, and a decrease in self-esteem due to altered appearance. They can also be great for anyone that has bad looking teeth that does not want to go through the process of an alignment. If you have any of these issues, or feel insecure about your smile, dentures may be a great option for you. Dentures provide a functional and aesthetic solution, offering a fresh start that will have people noticing your new smile.


Who Benefits from Partials?

Partials are an ideal solution for those who have lost one or more teeth but still retain a significant number of healthy teeth. They are specifically designed to prevent the shifting of remaining teeth, a common issue that arises from tooth loss. Partials also help in maintaining the integrity of the jawbone and facial structure.


Important Considerations

Longevity and Durability

Understanding the expected lifespan of dentures and partials, as well as how to care for them to prolong their durability, is crucial for users. Proper maintenance is key to extending the life of these dental solutions. Dentures can last up to 10 years or more, if the right practices are followed. Be sure to understand all the best practices relating to denture care, as proper care can greatly reduce the frequency at which you will need to have adjustments or repairs made to your dentures.


Common Challenges

Transitioning to life with dentures or partials often comes with its set of challenges. New users might experience initial discomfort, difficulties with speech, and adjusting to eating with prosthetics, and possibly issues with sliding dentures. Your denturist will be able to provide you with many solutions to these issues, but some may be less prevalent depending on what you choose between full dentures or partials. For example, getting full dentures along with dental implants can help to alleviate many of these issues related to comfort and stability.


Aesthetic Considerations

It is important to consider your goals in terms of what you want your new smile to look like. Are you going for the Hollywood perfect smile? If so, full dentures may be your best bet. If you are looking for something more natural and non-invasive, getting partial dentures that match with your natural teeth may be a simpler solution. It is possible to customize either option to your liking, as a skilled denturist will be able to shape and colour your new teeth replacements in any way that you see fit. It is important to note though, that the further the gap between where you feel your smile currently is, and where you would like it to be, the more likely it is that a full dentures will be a better option for you.


Expert Opinion

When considering dentures or partials, obtaining professional advice is essential. It is great to do your own research, but speaking with a professional that has created hundreds of full and partial denture solutions can fast track your learning curve, and make gathering all the information you need in order to make a decision much easier. Here at West Coast Dentures, we are always happy to help and are available for a free consultation to provide you with everything you need to move forward with your choice to upgrade your smile.


Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The choice between dentures and partials is a significant one, with implications for both oral health and overall quality of life. This article has endeavored to provide a thorough understanding of each option, their benefits, and considerations. It underscores the importance of consulting with dental professionals to make the most suitable choice for your specific dental needs. With the right information and guidance, you can confidently embark on the path to restoring your smile and enhancing your quality of life.




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