Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth still remain. Partial dentures can be very stable, especially when supported by natural teeth on either side. And because they are removable, it’s easy to keep clean.
A removable partial denture or bridge usually consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base, which is connected by metal framework to hold the denture in place in the mouth. Partial dentures are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. A fixed bridge replaces one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching artificial teeth to them. This “bridge” is then cemented into place.
Missing teeth can also speed up bone loss and put the health of your gums and remaining teeth at risk. In order to prevent these issues from occurring, it is important to replace missing teeth quickly.
Partial dentures are an excellent and cost effective solution if you need to replace multiple missing teeth. At your initial consultation, your dentist will let you know whether partial dentures can be an effective tooth replacement option for you.
Advantages of partial dentures:
- Partial dentures can be less invasive and have a lower cost than other tooth replacement options.
- Additional teeth may be added to the partial over time.
- Partials are a better option than a complete denture to replace lost teeth in your lower jaw if some natural teeth can be saved.
Disadvantages of partial dentures:
- Partial dentures can increase the build-up of plaque around the abutment teeth which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Trauma to the abutment teeth or gums can occur from pressure or movement of the partial.
- Bone loss at the sites of missing teeth can occur and over time can affect adjacent teeth.
- Partials may not function as well as a fixed option for tooth replacement (implant or bridge).
- Must be removed at night.
An immediate complete denture is inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. The dentist takes measurements and makes models of the patients jaws during a preliminary visit. With immediate dentures, the denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. Even if you wear full dentures, you still must take good care of your mouth. Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque.
And even if you wear full dentures, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly to maintain your overall oral health and get early warning of serious issues such as oral cancer.
Your dentures were made to fit you precisely and, if they are cared for properly, they do not change shape. But you may sometimes find that they can become loose due to natural changes in the gums and bone supporting them. As the jawbone begins to shrink, so do the gums.
If you find your dentures no longer fit properly, see your dentist as soon as possible so adjustments can be made. Trying to change the fit of your dentures yourself can damage them and make them unrepairable so this would be a costly experiment!
Ill-fitting dentures repaired at home can also irritate the gums, tongue and cheeks.
In an emergency, you could use denture adhesives to keep the dentures stable until you are able to see the dentist.
Advantages of full dentures:
- Less invasive procedure with less post-op discomfort.
- Fixed denture wearers can eat and speak more comfortably.
- Biting force is evenly distributed.
- Removal not necessary for cleaning.
- Often fits better than removable dentures.
- Disadvantages of full dentures:
- Surgical treatment is necessary.
- May be prone to infection and inflammation.
- Often more expensive.
People with multiple or all of their teeth missing typically have complete or partial dentures; this treatment option is called Overdentures.
Overdentures are replacement teeth retained by dental implants. Overdentures were developed to help both partial and fully edentulous patients regain a quality of life, which most likely has been missing since they lost their teeth.
Overdentures offer a variety of advantages as compared to conventional dentures. While some of these advantages are purely cosmetic, all of these can affect your quality of life, making you happier and healthier.
An implant-retained overdenture can help stop the deterioration of your natural facial contours. Keeping this bone alive and stimulated is the only way to halt the resorption that naturally occurs in areas where your natural teeth have been lost.
New dentures will typically fit your mouth securely as they have been designed specifically for your gums. However as time goes on, your gum tissues will change and the fit of the denture will become more loose and more prone to movement inside your mouth. Having the denture professionally relined will help keep everything both secure and functional.
Some patients are unable to wear ordinary dentures because of tender gums or sore spots. A recommendation may be to reline the denture with a material that stays pliable for one to two years before needing replacement. Such a material is much less likely to give the patient sore spots than the standard hard reline acrylic. Patients experiencing these problems may also consider a more permanent solution of implant retained dentures.
If dentures haven’t been serviced in a long time, a patient’s gums may be red, swollen, or misshapen. This creates problems in taking impressions for a new hard or soft reline and may lead to a denture that would extend or enhance the problem.
A temporary, medicated reline material may be recommended to allow the inflammation to subside. This reline makes the denture fit much more tightly, and is usually soft and pliable. After a few weeks, the gums return to a more normal state. The patient is then ready for his or her new denture.