Everything You Need to Know About Partial Dentures
Missing teeth don’t just spoil your smile, they also increase wear and tear on remaining teeth and cause them to shift positions, messing up the alignment and causing bite problems. They may also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, speed up bone loss and compromise gum health. All of these issues can be easily solved by replacing your missing teeth. If only one or a few teeth are missing, they can be replaced with removable partial dentures, fixed partial dentures or dental implants topped with a dental crown.
What are partial dentures?
Partial dentures, sometimes called partials, are dentures that replace one or more missing teeth. If all the teeth on either your top or bottom jaw need replacing, you’d be a candidate for full dentures, instead.
When choosing partial dentures, you can go for either the fixed or removable type.
- A fixed partial denture is permanently attached to either the adjoining natural teeth or to tooth roots for support.
- A removable partial denture is a dental prosthesis that can be easily removed from the mouth at will.
Partial dentures are available in a variety of materials
Partial dentures can be constructed using different materials, each of which has its own benefits and downsides.
- Light alloy partials contain a blend of light metal alloys and plastic. They are lightweight, durable, customizable for your mouth, and cause minimal irritation and discomfort. They cover less of your gums, teeth and soft tissue—this is definitely a plus where your oral health is concerned
- Plastic dentures are made of impact-resistant material that can be molded to fit your mouth. These natural looking, comfortable plastic dentures offer a functional base for replacement teeth. They are much less expensive than light alloy dentures.
- Flexible dentures might be an excellent option for people who may have trouble using traditional dentures due to an irregular mouth shape. Flexible partials can adapt to the shape and contours of your teeth and gums. They can blend seamlessly with gum tissue sparing you the discomfort and the embarrassment of metal clasps. Flexible dentures usually have a shorter waiting period, as well.
- Hypoallergenic partial dentures are a great choice for people who are sensitive to certain materials. You may be required to undergo sensitivity testing as part of the fitting process for hypoallergenic dentures.
When determining whether you are a fit for removable or fixed partial dentures, your dentist should consider:
- Your likelihood of getting cavities and gum disease. Long-term use of removable dentures has been associated with an increased risk for both.
- The condition of your remaining teeth. Fixed partial dentures require sacrificing healthy tooth material from remaining teeth to ensure a proper fit. If your teeth are not in good condition, removable dentures will spare them any additional damage.
- Your budget. Usually removable partial dentures cost less than the fixed variety.
The decision is ultimately up to you. Consult with your dentist to get an idea of the final price tag for your partial dentures. Remember that the number of teeth that need replacing will have an impact on the overall cost.
Taking care of your partial dentures
Just like teeth, your partial dentures need daily brushing and cleaning. Use toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean your dentures. Some types of toothpaste can be abrasive and lead to scratches. Use denture cleansers to deep-clean your dentures and remove any odor-causing bacteria. Denture cleansers are available as creams, gels, pastes, solutions and water soluble tablets. Do not apply denture cleansers to your dentures while they are still in your mouth. You should also avoid using household cleaners on your dentures.
If you have any questions, call us at 718.461.0100 or contact us.
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