Are you an adult wondering, “Can you get upper dentures only?” 

How about, “What are partial dentures?”

As we age, poor oral health and tooth decay can become more prevalent. A CDC survey found that 20% of adults aged 65+ have complete tooth loss, and 26 percent of adults who are 75 and older have lost all of their teeth.

If you’re missing some or all of your teeth, dentures may be the best solution for you. Dentures are an excellent option for missing teeth because they look like natural teeth and restore mouth function. In addition, dentists personalize dentures to fit your unique mouth and bite to ensure they work as best as possible.

In this article, we’re providing you with expert insight into the world of dentures. You’ll receive valuable information about partial dentures and dentures that fit over your teeth.

Keep reading to get answers to some of the most asked denture questions, like “Can you just get bottom dentures?” and “Can you get dentures if you have no teeth?”

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are removable replacements for teeth that look and function like regular teeth. They help restore your smile and allow you to eat foods that require biting and chewing. All dentures are artificial and are most often made with acrylics, metal, and nylon. 

When people hear the word “denture,” they usually think of a complete set of false teeth that elderly people use (and are always falling out in cartoons and TV shows). But there are many kinds of dentures that dentists can use for people with a few missing teeth.

Some of the most common types of partial dentures are:

  • Partial removable dentures
  • Partial fixed dentures
  • Implant retained dentures

Your oral situation will determine which partial dentures are best for you. 

But before you talk to your dentist, we’ve compiled a list of the most asked questions about partial dentures to help you better understand what your dentist might say.

The Top Questions About Partial Dentures

What Are Partial Dentures

Unlike complete dentures, dentists use partial dentures to replace a small number of teeth rather than an entire mouth of teeth. Partial dentures also require that you still have some teeth remaining in your mouth.

Dentists often make dentures from a mixture of plastic material (acrylic resin) and metal. There are porcelain dentures available, but they’re usually more expensive and prone to breaks or chips.

The two main types of partial dentures are:

  1. Removable partial dentures (RPD)
  2. Fixed partial dentures (FPD)

These two types of dentures replace a few teeth, but as their name suggests, one can be removed, and the other is permanently fixed in your mouth. The partial dentures you get will depend on your oral health and which type your dentist thinks is the right fit.

Regardless of whether you receive fixed or removable dentures, practicing good oral hygiene is a must—dentures don’t protect your teeth from decay or cavities. For RPDs, dentists recommend those with RPDs remove and clean them every night. People with FPDs can brush their teeth normally twice a day.

How Many Teeth Do You Need for a Partial Denture

You need to have some healthy teeth in your mouth to receive partial dentures. There isn’t an exact number of teeth necessary, but you’ll at least need one healthy tooth on either side of the hole you need filled.

Removable partial dentures attach to healthy teeth and use these natural teeth as an anchor to help the denture stay in place. Without healthy teeth, your RPD won’t have anything to latch on to. 

Can You Get Dentures if You Have No Teeth?

Because partial dentures require that you have teeth in your mouth, you can’t get partial dentures if you’re missing all of your teeth.

However, there are complete dentures for those who need to replace a full mouth of teeth.

Complete dentures (or full dentures):

  • Can be removed
  • Are customized to fit your mouth
  • Restore the shape and look of natural teeth
  • Improve biting, chewing, and speaking

Complete mouth dentures are perfect for anyone who’s missing all of their teeth, as they help restore normal mouth functions.

Can You Get Upper Dentures Only?

You can get partial dentures on your upper teeth only.

Whether it’s from tooth decay, trauma, or some other cause, dentists use partial dentures to fill holes in your mouth where natural teeth used to sit. If you only have missing teeth in your upper jaw, you can get a partial denture to fill these gaps.

Can You Just Get Bottom Dentures

Yes, you can also get bottom dentures without upper dentures.

As we mentioned above, it’s not always necessary to get dentures on both the top and bottom teeth. If you only have missing teeth in your bottom jaw, then you won’t need dentures for your upper teeth.

However, the most common reason for missing teeth in older adults is tooth decay or gum disease. These two issues can quickly spread in the mouth and often affect surrounding teeth. The reality is that if you have missing teeth because of tooth decay on the bottom jaw, you’ll most likely experience the same thing on the top.

More often than not, adults will have multiple missing teeth and need dentures in the upper and lower jaw.

Are There Dentures That Fit Over Your Teeth

We mentioned earlier that RPDs use healthy teeth as an anchor in the mouth.

Overdentures are another kind of denture that can use healthy teeth as a stabilizer. They often replace a complete set of teeth but can also be used to replace a few teeth.  

Overdentures either cover or rest on:

  • One or more remaining natural teeth
  • The roots of natural teeth
  • Dental implants placed into the jaw bone

When overdentures rest on remaining natural teeth or the roots of natural teeth, their base covers those teeth and fills in gaps with artificial ones. 

With dental implants, the dentist will place metal screws into the jaw. The overdenture will then snap into place using these screws.

Some advantages of overdentures are:

  • They preserve the bone in the jaw preventing bone resorption
  • Jaw and mouth sensation is improved compared to other dentures
  • Chewing and biting are improved

Overdentures require healthy gums, so anyone with severe gum disease may not be a good candidate. It’s also important to remove and wash overdentures daily.

The Best Dentist for Dentures in Richmond, VA 

It’s not uncommon to have missing teeth, especially if you’re an adult aged 65+. But you also don’t have to live without teeth in those spaces.

In this article, we answered some questions about partial dentures. Here’s a quick recap of what we covered:

  • What are partial dentures? Partial dentures provide a way for you to get natural-looking, functional teeth in your mouth. These dentures help replace a few missing teeth while restoring your smile and ability to chew food.
  • Can you get upper dentures only? You can get dentures on your upper or lower teeth only.
  • Can you get dentures if you have no teeth? You need healthy teeth for partial dentures. But if you have no teeth at all, you can get full mouth dentures. 

Don’t let missing teeth keep you from the smile and mouth function you’re used to. 

At Northside Dental Co, we have a team of expert dentists ready to assist you with all your denture needs. They’ll take the time to assess your situation and recommend the perfect dentures for your oral condition. Whether you need partial dentures or full mouth dentures, we’ll work to restore your smile and bite quickly and professionally.

Book your appointment online today to talk with a dentist about which dentures are right for you.