When people think “dentures,” they usually think about full or complete dentures. Although these are ideal for many patients, they aren’t the only option. Partial dentures are great for those who are missing only a few teeth, and help make it easier to chew food, speak better, and can also support cheeks and lips to help avoid facial sagging.
In general, it’s a good idea to preserve the original teeth for as long as possible. Partials are used when a few consecutive teeth need restoration. If most of your teeth are free from decay and structural damage, this option can help you minimize tooth extractions.
So exactly what is a partial denture?
Removable partial dentures are similar to denture bridges in that they are sets of consecutive artificial teeth; however, a partial denture is removable, and a bridge is not removable, it is cemented in place permanently. A partial denture is situated in the mouth on special plastic or metal bases that match the color of your gums. Partial dentures often have some sort of clasp that attaches to your healthy teeth and holds the denture in place. Your dentist may recommend that these healthy teeth get crowns installed to enhance their strength and the way that the denture fits in your mouth. Your dentist will work with you to find which kind of removable partial denture is right for you.
No matter whether your dentures are permanent or removable, they may help improve the way you eat. Often for patients who need removable dentures, eating has been a problem due to lack of teeth or even very loose teeth. Removable dentures can aid in giving you more teeth to chew with. However, there is definitely a learning curve to this eating thing with dentures. A benefit of a partial denture is that they are less prone to slippage and other inconveniences in the ways that removable full dentures can be.
However, it is important to take precautions when eating again once your dentures are in place. Generally, it is recommended to begin by eating soft foods, cutting food into pieces, chewing on both sides of the mouth to keep the pressure even, and avoiding gum along with sticky and hard foods.
Be sure to take extra care when you clean teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Your dentist or dental hygienist can walk you through any of the above tips and other questions you may have about your removable partial dentures.
You should see a dentist regularly to check up on the status of your teeth, gums, and dentures. As original teeth are lost or removed, natural changes in the shape of surrounding gum and bone tissue should be monitored using X-rays so your dentures always provide the best possible fit.
As you age, the fit of your removable partial denture can change. For instance, your jawbone can shrink, creating a space under the denture where food can get trapped, or the denture clasps may get loose over time. If you notice any sense of looseness with your partials, contact your dentist; do not attempt to adjust it yourself.
It’s crucial to see your dentist as soon as possible if your removable partial denture breaks, cracks, chips, or becomes loose. You should also set an appointment if you’ve lost any of your natural supporting teeth or had any accident or injury that affects your mouth or jaw. Minor adjustments can sometimes be done in a single short visit, but might occasionally take a few days.
It’s unusual for a partial denture to need replacement, but it can happen over time. If this is required, a new impression of your mouth will be taken and a new set will be fabricated at a dental lab.
For quality dental care in a comfortable, compassionate environment, request an appointment with My Dental Company. As a trusted Colorado Springs dentist, we’ll help you make the right dental health choices for you.