What Are Partial Dentures?

Partial dentures are replacement teeth (or false teeth) used to replace missing teeth when one or more of a person’s natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw.  There are two main types of partial dentures that a denture specialist may suggest:

Removable Partial Dentures – These replace one or more teeth and attaches to the remaining teeth with a plastic or metal (chrome or titanium) clip. A removable partial denture can easily be removed and cleaned.

Bridges or Fixed Partial Dentures – These replace one or more teeth by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the space and attaching or affixing the artificial teeth to the natural teeth. Bridge dentures are permanently cemented into place and look more like natural teeth. Fixed partial dentures or bridges are more expensive than removable partial dentures and require the support of healthy nearby teeth.

There are few restrictions with partial dentures, as they can be used to replace front teeth, back teeth, lower jaw bottom teeth or upper jaw top teeth. Depending on your circumstances and individual needs, your denture specialist may recommend partial dentures instead of implants or bridges.

Do I Really Need Partial Dentures?

While you may not care about the missing molar in the back of your mouth there are still several non-cosmetic reasons to consider having partial dentures since they can:

  • Help you chew and eat better
  • Help with speech (in some circumstances)
  • Keep existing teeth in position and prevent drifting, which can potentially lead to other dental problems
  • Help restore your smile and confidence

Partial Dentures Procedure Explained

It’s normal to wonder how partial dentures are made and fitted. Here’s a brief explanation of the stages involved:

  1. Initial Dental Examination and Consultation
    During this initial stage our denture specialist will examine your mouth, listen to your expectations in terms of improving your smile and learn more about your medical history. Tests may include screening for oral cancer, X-Rays, and other necessary special assessments. At this time our Cambridge dentists will explain the advantages and disadvantages of partial dentures and other dental alternatives including implants and bridges.
  2. Primary Partial Denture Impressions
    A basic impression (mold) of your mouth is taken so we can make special trays for the more precise secondary impression.
  3. Recording Your Bite
    Our denture specialists will then record your bite to ensure that your partial dentures will fit properly. We do this through an articular machine that acts like your jaw, so we can observe how your teeth meet when you bite together.
  4. Designing Your Partial Dentures at the Lab
    The design of your partial dentures is the most important part of the process. Your impressions are used to create a model of your teeth, which are mounted to an articulator. The record of your bite will ensure that the top and bottom teeth fit together perfectly, as in your mouth. The lab will determine the best way to take the denture in and out, what existing teeth can be used to clasp or hold the denture in place, and other important considerations.
  5. Immediate (Temporary Dentures)
    If you need to have teeth extracted in preparation for the new partial dentures you may require an immediate denture for approximately four weeks, while your gums and mouth heal. As the gums and bones heal they will shrink and the immediate denture may need to be realigned to adjust the fit properly.

Partial Denture FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions our Cambridge dentists are asked about partial dentures.

Are partial dentures uncomfortable?

You may find that your partial dentures are uncomfortable at first. As you get used to how they feel and as your mouth adjusts to partial dentures, they should become more comfortable. If you still have some discomfort, contact our dentists for further adjustments.

Do partial dentures cause gum problems?

Partial dentures can contribute to various gum issues including periodontitis (gum disease) and inflammation under the denture area. Proper care and seeking early advice from our dentists can help reduce the risk and effects of gum problems.

What about jaw pain caused by partial dentures?

Partial denture jaw pain can be caused by a poor fitting denture. The wrong fit can cause changes in your jaw joint resulting in pain, headaches, neck pain, and pain in facial muscles. Our dentists will work with you to obtain the ideal fit to prevent changes and complications in your jaw joint.

Will I have speech problems due to partial dentures?

Partial dentures may affect your speech at first but with practice and time, you likely won’t notice a difference in speech.

How long does it take to make partial dentures?

Every case is individual but it generally takes 1 to 3 weeks.

What happens if my partial dentures are not fitting properly?

It is normal for your partial denture to feel awkward or clunky in the beginning as your mouth gets used to how it fits and feels. Your partial denture should fit into place with relative ease and you should not have to force the denture into place. If you notice pressure in a specific area, our dentists can adjust the denture to make it more comfortable.

Tips for Cleaning Partial Dentures

Before sending you home with your new partial dentures our dentists will explain how to properly clean and care for your partial dentures. Some basic denture care instructions include:

  • Clean your denture over a towel or plugged sink just in case you drop the denture.
  • Use an approved denture cleaner – do not use toothpaste, which may be too harsh for cleaning dentures.
  • Brush the denture each day to remove food and plaque deposits.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean your partial dentures.
  • When not in use, store your dentures in a soaking solution (or water) to keep the partial dentures moist and from losing its proper shape.

Cost of Partial Dentures

Depending on where the denture is located and other needs, such as any extractions or additional dental prep work required, the cost of partial dentures could vary. Partial dentures are a more affordable option to full dentures. Your insurance may cover the costs of partial dentures too. At Country Dental, our dental treatment coordinator can submit an insurance predetermination prior to any partial denture work. This way you know the full out-of-pocket cost before proceeding.

Learn more about complete and partial dentures at Country Dental or call our Cambridge dental office at 1-519-620-7474 to book your partial dentures consultation.

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