cosmetic Partial Dentures
A partial denture is a removable dental appliance and a replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue when some natural teeth remain. It is made to closely resemble your natural teeth and should enhance your smile, not only filling in the spaces created by missing teeth but preventing other teeth from shifting.
Partial dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years but do have to be remade, repaired, or re-adjusted due to normal wear as well as gum and bone shrinkage as a result of normal ageing.
Partial dentures have been used to replace missing teeth for over one hundred and fifty years. Just by looking at that phrase, you can immediately understand that it is becoming an outdated treatment option. It must be removed several times a day to clean, it can move around in the mouth, and it can lead to more tooth loss and damage to the remaining teeth. It should not be worn when sleeping due to excessive pressure it places on the supporting jaw bone.
Often when a partial is used long enough, many people graduate from their "partial" to a "complete" denture due to the disasterous side effects of the partial on the remaining teeth.
Why you should replace all missing teeth:
- Stop remaining teeth from rotating, tilting and moving into unsightly and awkward positions
- Prevent further decay of remaining teeth
- Help prevent excess wear on the remaining teeth
- Restore your smile and enhance your appearance
- Help speech
- Eat more comfortably and eat more efficiently
- Aid and improve digestion and nutrition
Partial dentures are still used today because the alternative 21st century options of dental implants (and even dental bridges) can be prohibitively expensive for some people. When made well, a partial denture can be a good cosmetic alternative treatment for missing teeth. They are also a very good immediate temporary option when one or more teeth are lost and an implant or bridge is being considered as a long term replacement.
|All Acrylic Part Denture||Metal Frame Part Denture||Valplast Nylon Part Denture||Implant Bridge or tooth|
|Treatment Time||1 - 2 weeks||4 - 8 weeks||2 - 4 weeks||1 day to 9 months|
|Does it involve any other treatment?||Should have a healthy mouth. Some other teeth may need to be adjusted for proper fit.||Must have decay free and gum disease mouth. Often need to adjust the natural teeth for optimum fit||Should have a healthy mouth.||YES - tooth extraction, implant placement, correcting other teeth if they have moved into area of missing teeth.|
|Appearance||Fair. Can show metal clips.||Fair to good. Can sometimes show metal clips but these can be hidden with tooth coloured clips.||Very Good. Do not see any clasps.||Excellent|
|Stability||Can be loose and need denture adhesive.||Generally fit quite firmly.||Generally fit firmly.||Excellent|
|Chewing Ability||Can be difficult and decreases chewing ability by 80%||Easier than the all acrylic but still decreases chewing ability by 65 -70%||Can be difficult initially and decreases chewing ability by 70%||Excellent|
|Lifetime||1 - 4 years||10 years||8 - 10 years||30+ years|
|Strength||Weak. Clips can break, teeth can break off, denture frame can break. Easy to repair.||Moderate. Clips can break. Teeth can come off. Easy to repair.||Moderate. Teeth can come off.
Clips and denture frame are unbreakable. Hard to repair.
|Comfort||Some people find these very uncomfortable and can also cause gagging. Feel thick in the mouth.||Reasonably comfortable and can be kept small, thin and light||Some people find these uncomfortable and can also cause gagging. Feel thick in the mouth. More comfortable than the all acrylic denture.||Exceptionally comfortable. Just like your own teeth.|
|Ease of Cleaning||Denture is simple out of the mouth. Trap food under denture.||Simple to clean out of the mouth. Can trap food under the denture.||Harder to clean than other dentures and needs a special soluble cleansing agent.||Very easy.|
|Speech Change||Initially poor but improves with time||Slight change initially but quickly adapt||Initially poor but improves with time||None|
|Risks for future decay||Very High||High||High||No|
|Risks for future tooth loss||Very High||High||High||No|
|Effects on whole mouth||Greatly Weakens||Weakens||Weakens||Strengthens|
|Effects on the gums||Greatly weakens||Weakens but can be designed to stay away from gumd of the natural teeth.||Greatly weakens||Strengthens|
|Effects taste and sensation of food due to covering the palate||Decreases taste sensation and temperature sensation. Decreases the feel of food.||Slight change in taste, temperature and texture sensations. In some people there is a metallic taste.||Decreases taste sensation and temperature sensation. Decreases the feel of food.||No change|
|Destructive to healthy tooth structure||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Harms Bone||Yes||Yes||Yes||No - dental implants actually improves bone strength|
|Cost||$200 - $900||Chrome $1,600 - $2,000
Titanium $2,000 - $2,500
Gold $6,000 - $8,000
|$700 - $1,500 plus special Valplast cleaner||$5,000 - $7,000|
Quick and easy
|Best long term option for a partial denture if a bridge or implant is unafforable. Very thin and light.||Very biocompatible and suitable for people with allergies to plastics and metals. Very aesthetic and doesn't show metal.||All of the above features|
|Disadvantages||Destructive to other teeth, gums and bone. Not very strong. Bulky. The denture can easily break especially when replacing front teeth.||Destructive to other teeth, gums and bone. Clips can break. Teeth can come off occasionally.||Can become rough with time; teeth can come off; bulky.||Cost|
Eating With Partial Dentures
Replacing missing teeth should make eating a more pleasant experience. However don't expect to chew with the same amount of force and ability as you did with natural teeth. Just as a leg amputee must learn to walk again, a tooth amputee must learn new habits with chewing. An amputee can walk with crutches or a prosthetic leg but can only run with titanium implants and complex leg replacements. Dentures are like crutches or prosthetic legs - they are limited in what they can do.
When starting out with partial dentures, soft foods should be eaten and food cut into small pieces. Extremely sticky or hard foods should be avoided at all times. While adjusting to the new denture, chewing gum can be difficult but this improves with time.
Denture wearers need to learn to chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on the denture and maintain balance in the denture.
Dentures can break from time to time. If a denture breaks then it's usually for a good reason:
- Poor fit due to bone and gum shrinkage
- Excessive force e.g. tooth grinding, doing the wrong thing!
- It has been dropped (do not clean dentures in the shower).
You should always have the fit of your denture checked regularly. Repairing a denture that keeps breaking can become expensive! It may also be damaging your mouth especially when the fracture is due to a bad fit.
The shape of your mouth changes as part of the natural aging process. If your denture is 5 years old or more then perhaps you should consider a new one and keep the old as a spare.
The mouth changes in shape while the denture stays the same!
Starting with Partials
It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will disappear as your muscles and gums get used to the new partial dentures. Any soreness after 5 or 6 days needs adjusting.
Proper cleaning of your new partial denture, good cleaning of the remaining teeth, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures in addition to maintaining the health of the remaining teeth which firmly secure the partial denture.