Full vs partial dentures

Full Dentures vs Partial Dentures: What’s the difference?

Dentures have long since been a great option for those who lost their teeth due to an accident or medical condition and can help effectively restore smiles to their former glory. Contrary to popular belief, dentures are not as noticeable as they once were thanks to advances in dental technology and materials. Modern dentures are much more realistic and comfortable than dentures of the past, making them a great alternative to costly dental implants regardless of how many teeth you need to replace.

While the overall denture molding and fitting process is fairly standard, the type of denture you might need depends on several factors, including whether you need to replace a couple or a full set of teeth. Luckily, your dentist or denturist will be able to recommend the best type for you, though it’s always worth understanding a bit more about dentures. By far, the most common denture types are full dentures and partial dentures, and we’ll be taking a look at both to help you better understand the difference between the two.

Full Dentures

Otherwise known as complete dentures, full dentures are removable dentures designed to replace a full set or arch of missing teeth and are commonly known as “false teeth.” Full dentures are typically needed when someone loses most or all of their teeth due to things like long-term poor oral hygiene or an accident. Full dentures can be further categorized into conventional and immediate dentures. Oftentimes, people who need full dentures need to have any remaining teeth on their upper or lower dental arches extracted to accommodate the full set of dentures, after which a mold can be taken, and the dentures made. However, gum tissue can take up to twelve weeks to heal after teeth have been extracted so many opt to go for immediate dentures, which can be fitted immediately after teeth are extracted but need to be constantly adjusted as the gums and mouth heals. They’ll then move on to conventional full dentures, which are more comfortable and less invasive than immediate dentures.

Partial Dentures

As the name implies, partial dentures are a great choice if only one or just a few teeth need to be replaced. Like dental bridges, partial dentures fill the gaps left by missing teeth, but the two should not be confused with each other. Dental bridges are designed to be placed over anchor implants or nearby teeth to hold them in place, while partial dentures are attached to a colored acrylic base that clasps to other teeth to hold them in place. Moreover, unlike full dentures, partial dentures don’t require any nearby teeth to be extracted before they’re fitted and are ready to be used the moment they’re produced.


Both full and partial dentures are effective teeth replacement solutions, and which type you need depends on your particular circumstances and denturist’s recommendation. Call us today (403) 283-1272 or book an appointment at our Calgary clinic to find out more about the different options available to you.