Someone who needs full dentures generally has more options than someone who needs partial dentures. But what exactly are these extra options? It might seem like dentures are dentures, regardless of whether you're replacing a few missing teeth or an entire upper and/or lower set of teeth. There's a little more to it than that, and someone needing a full set of dentures may find that the finished product can look more natural than a partial set. 

The Base Plate

The denture base plate that anchors the prosthetic teeth is typically made of acrylic or nylon. Its general shape will be compatible with your dental arch, with the precise contours of the plate being designed to match the contours of your mouth for the best possible fit. The base plate will be manufactured to be the same colour as your gums. But what about those prosthetic teeth?

An Abutment Tooth

Partial dentures are intended to work alongside the remaining natural teeth in a patient's mouth. This means that partial dentures are often secured to an abutment tooth. A natural tooth remaining securely anchored in the dental arch can be pressed into service as an abutment tooth (although it might require reinforcement with a dental crown). The partial denture will often be secured with a clasp, which attaches to the abutment tooth. 

Acrylic Prosthetic Teeth

The prosthetic teeth in partial dentures must work alongside natural teeth, and as such, will be in contact with natural teeth, creating friction. To preserve natural teeth, partial dentures tend to feature prosthetic teeth made of acrylic materials, as these are less likely to degrade natural dental enamel. But when you don't have any remaining natural teeth in a dental arch, the relationship between natural teeth and prosthetic teeth becomes less of a concern.

Porcelain Prosthetic Teeth

Someone needing full dentures may be offered porcelain prosthetic teeth. Porcelain's natural translucence and colouring make it a closer match to natural dental enamel, while also being less prone to discolouration and surface abrasions. The trouble with acrylic prosthetic teeth is that they can age badly and relatively quickly. Many dentists will be hesitant to install porcelain prosthetic teeth in a set of partial dentures, due to the potential danger to a patient's remaining natural teeth. Of course, when you need full dentures, this isn't a concern.

Yes, porcelain prosthetic teeth will be more expensive, but when you consider the ultimate aesthetics of your smile, it can be a sensible investment.