Dentures vs. Partials: What’s Different?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), severe tooth loss affects your ability to chew fruits, meat, and vegetables, thereby standing in the way of a healthy diet. Fortunately, it’s now easier to replace missing teeth thanks to dental advances. Besides looking good and feeling confident, restoring lost teeth enhances your speech and chewing ability. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options to upgrade your smile—dentures vs. partials. 

Dentures vs. Partials: What They Are and the Differences

Here’s how dentures vs. partials compare.


A dentist typically recommends dentures when all the natural teeth in the upper or lower jaw are missing, explaining why they’re called full/complete dentures. The prosthetics comprise a range of materials, including porcelain, acrylic resin, or a combination of the two. 

Dentures are a complete set of removable artificial teeth attached to a gum-colored acrylic base, with the base sitting directly on the gum. These additions maintain their position through suction or, in some instances, denture adhesive. Shifting or movement is not uncommon due to the reliance on gum tissue for stability. Furthermore, bone loss over time can interfere with the fit. 

There are two denture options. 

  • Conventional dentures: The dentist will first remove the teeth and allow for an 8 to 12-week healing period before the dentures go onto the gum. 
  • Immediate dentures: As the name suggests, they go on immediately after the dentist removes the tooth. The most significant benefit is that they offer an immediate solution to missing teeth. However, bone and gum shrinkage are typical during recovery, hence, the need for adjustment as healing continues. 

The good news is dentures resemble natural teeth, making them almost unrecognizable. Also, they’re easy to clean since they come as a single unit. 


Partials are installed when only some teeth are missing. The dentist fills the gaps without interfering with the remaining natural teeth. The next step is using a clasp or acrylic to attach the partial to the adjacent natural teeth, preventing the partial from shifting or falling out. 

Remember to observe proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly to avoid plaque buildup on the remaining natural teeth. 

Dentures vs. Partials: Similarities

The most obvious similarity is that both dentures and partials offer an effective solution to replacing missing teeth. You expect slight discomfort before your mouth gets used to the foreign object(s).

Remember to see a dentist for a consultation and proper fitting of dentures or partials. They’ll advise on the best option for your specific needs. Still have questions about dentures vs. partials? Book an appointment with LeCroy Dental today to smile more confidently.