Normaly called" false teeth", or a" plate", a complete denture replaces all the teeth in the upper or lower jaws, and rests on the gums.
Just like the name says, a partial denture replaces some missing teeth in the jaw where there are still teeth remaining. A partial denture can rest on the gums or on the remaining teeth, and can be either fixed (cannot be removed) or removable. A fixed partial denture is commonly called a" bridge".
Considerations in using a removable denture.
Removable dentures, especially complete dentures give back to the patient some ability to look good and eat better than a person without teeth, but are not as comfortable as some may think. The denture patient has to change the way he or she chews the food to help keep it in place, and quickly learns what things not to do to avoid pain or to prevent embarrassment from the denture loosing its grip on the gums and falling out.
The greater the number of years that a person has been without teeth, the more bone that will have been lost due to atrophy of the bone after extractions, and bone is needed to help support and stabilize a denture.
Dentists now recommend implants to patients with complete dentures as a means to help hold them in place in order to make them more comfortable and to prevent more bone loss which results in loose dentures.
It cannot be avoided. Because the bone in the jaws continues to slowly dissappear as the years go by, a denture will get noticeably looser with time. The dentist can refit the denture to the new shape of the gums by a procedure called a "reline". After the reline the denture fits the shape of the gums again and feels more secure or stable.
Implants Under Dentures
If there has been too much bone lost, even a new set of dentures will feel unstable and will not be comfortable to wear. In those cases, or when the person wants to feel more comfortable and secure wearing dentures, the dentist can place some implants in the jaw and design a new denture called an "overdenture" that will be retained by the implants or be supported by the implants depending on the number of implants placed.
Please watch the short video below where I explain the options that are available today for denture wearers that may not be comfortable with their dentures