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Partial Dentures

Partial Dentures May Be the Solution For Your Missing Teeth

Whatever the reason for your tooth loss including trauma, poor oral hygiene, or even poor nutrition, a partial denture may be a temporary or long-term answer to a better bite and improved appearance.

Removable partial dentures are often less invasive and have a lower cost than other tooth replacement options.

You and your dentist can discuss the different ways of replacing missing teeth and select an approach that is right for your unique requirements.

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There are three options for the replacement of one or more missing teeth, and each comes with advantages and disadvantages.

  • Removable partial dentures (RPDs)
  • Dental implants
  • Fixed bridgework

All three will improve routine oral functions such as chewing and speaking, help to keep permanent teeth from shifting and enhance your smile.

  • How is a partial denture made?

    The dentist takes an impression of your upper and lower teeth and gums using a malleable putty-like substance in a dental tray that fits your mouth. The dental impression forms an imprint (i.e., a ‘negative’ mold) of teeth and soft tissues, which can then be used to make a cast of the dentition (the arrangement of teeth in your mouth).

    From this cast, a dental technician will create individual prosthetic teeth that match the spaces for which they are intended. The technician inserts the teeth into a framework made of either acrylic resin, flexible nylon polymer or a combination of resin and chrome cobalt.

    At try-in you will verify and approve the shade of the prosthetic teeth. Usually these will closely match the shade of your natural teeth, unless you wish this changed.

    Your dentist will choose the framework materials that work best for the areas where the partial denture is needed. The partial must fit well to ensure even distribution of your biting forces, and prevent trauma to your gums and natural teeth.

    The new denture is held fast with small metal or resin clasps that wrap around healthy adjacent (abutment) teeth as invisibly as possible.

  • How do I care for my removable partial denture?

    Oral hygiene is always important, but removable partial dentures and adjacent teeth need extra care to prevent the inevitable build-up of plaque.

    • Floss each of your teeth daily, but pay particular attention to the healthy teeth immediately adjacent to your partial dentures.
    • An electric toothbrush is excellent for keeping your natural teeth healthy and free of plaque.
    • Remove your RPD at night to allow air and blood circulation to your teeth and tissues. Brush it with a soft brush and denture toothpaste.
    • Ask your dentist about using denture tablets for cleaning your RPD.
    • Some dentists recommend storing your partial in its case overnight, while others suggest immersing it in water.
    • Always place your RPD in your mouth gently using two fingers. Do not bite down on it to make it fit or you may stress the clasps and framework.
    • Limit sticky snacks and sugary drinks.
    • Consider fluoride treatments for your natural teeth.

    Regular visits to your dental hygienist are essential to staying abreast of plaque buildup, the threat of gum disease, any trauma developing in teeth adjacent to your RPD, and overall oral health.

  • How long will my partial dentures last?

    A removable partial denture will serve for many years. It is essential, however, to consider the long-term effects of wearing the appliance. Speak to your dentist about the following:

    • Trauma to the abutment teeth or gums from pressure or movement of the partial.
    • The potential for, and effect of, bone loss at the sites of missing teeth.
    • What you will do if you lose an abutment tooth.

    If you are considering removable partial dentures, ask your dentist to look at the health of all your teeth. Explore all of your options for tooth replacement discussing the points listed here. Your goal should be to keep your existing teeth and supporting gum and bone tissue as healthy as possible.

    This approach will contribute significantly to your best overall health.