Partial Dentures Explained

Having missing teeth can take its toll on the appearance of your smile, but it also affects your health by decreasing your ability to chew and speak properly. The gap left behind by missing teeth can cause bite pressure issues, shifting of other healthy teeth and even jaw bone deterioration, which can lead to serious oral problems in the future. Partial dentures help restore a more complete smile, and can prevent your remaining natural teeth from becoming misaligned.

A removable partial denture is an appliance that is placed into the mouth to fill a gap created by one or more missing teeth. It consists of replacement artificial teeth attached to a base that looks like the gum tissue. The dentist makes a mold of the patient’s jaw and surrounding teeth to determine the best design for the partial denture. The dentist then fabricates the appliance and places it in the mouth after adjusting for comfort.

There are two main types of partial dentures: acrylic and cast metal. Acrylic, also called false plastic, is the most common material used to make partials. It is cheaper than cast metal and has good aesthetic results, but it can be prone to discoloration over time. Cast metal is a more expensive option, but it offers superior stability and can withstand plaque build-up better than acrylic. It is also less likely to break than acrylic, but it can crack or chip if dropped.

The type of partial denture you choose depends on the amount of money you’re willing to spend, how much cosmetic appeal you’re looking for and whether you have allergies to acrylic or metal. The type of clasps your dentist uses to attach the partial to your natural teeth will also influence the look of the appliance. Some people choose flexible partial dentures, which have thermoplastic clasps that are more discrete than their metal counterparts. However, they can be prone to breaking, so you’ll need to have them replaced frequently.

Partial dentures are easy to maintain, but they’re not as simple to keep clean as regular teeth. Rinse them with water or denture solution after eating to remove food particles. Brush them daily with a toothbrush and soap or denture cleaner (not regular toothpaste, which is too abrasive) to remove plaque. Soak them in water or a cleaning solution at night to prevent drying and dehydration. Your dentist will provide detailed instructions about when to wear and when to remove your partial.

It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions for wearing and removing your partial denture to avoid damage or irritation. You should also visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings to ensure the health of your existing teeth and gums. With proper care, your dental appliances can last a lifetime. If you’re interested in replacing your missing teeth with a partial denture, contact your New Hampshire Center for Comprehensive Care Amherst dentist to learn more about the available options.