Most people are familiar with dentures as a way to replace broken or missing teeth. But, if you have only one or a few missing or broken teeth, is removing all of your teeth a good idea or desirable?
Let’s talk about how partial dentures could be a better alternative to full dentures and an excellent method of replacing missing teeth.
What Are Removable Partial Dentures?
Removable partial dentures are dental appliances designed to replace one or a few missing, damaged, or broken teeth. They are a cost-effective way to improve your smile and restore functionality. Most types of partial dentures gain their security by attaching to your remaining natural teeth with either resin or metal clasps.
Because they are custom-designed to fit your mouth and provide support for your cheeks and lips, partial dentures preserve your overall facial appearance. If most of your natural teeth are in good condition or are easily restorable, partials are definitely worth your consideration.
See Also: How Do Partial Dentures Work? Everything You Need to Know
Common Types of Removable Partial Dentures
Not all partial dentures are created equally. Different types of partial dentures are made from a variety of materials, including metal, acrylic, or flexible resins.
Let’s discuss the types of partial dentures that dentists commonly prescribe, along with the pros and cons of each type.
Valplast flexible partial dentures are made from a nylon-based resin material that serves as both the denture base and structural component for the partial. Because the material is thin and lightweight, this flexible partial denture type is considered by many patients to be a very comfortable tooth replacement solution.
The tissue-colored clasps that attach the partial to the surrounding teeth blend with the gum tissue. Valplast flexible partials may be used as a:
- semi-permanent tooth-replacement solution,
- a temporary solution prior to implant-supported restorations,
- or as a unilateral partial to replace a single tooth.
Valplast partials work well to replace one missing tooth or a few missing teeth. Patients who desire both comfort and beautiful aesthetics benefit from flexible partials. Since they are metal-free, there’s no unsightly metal to show when smiling. Flexible partials are particularly kind to the teeth and are suitable for patients who have a history of controlled gum disease.
Valplast flexible partials do require proper care for longevity. Their average lifespan is about five years, and, similar to acrylic partial dentures, the flexible material can be ruined by abuse or by cleaning products not intended for use on the nylon-based material.
Since they are flexible, they don’t work well for patients who do not have enough natural teeth to support the partial, such as no back teeth. Flexible partials cannot be relined like other types of removable partial dentures and must be replaced at regular intervals, adding to the cost of wearing a flexible partial long-term.
See Also: What Are Flexible Partial Dentures?
Cast Metal Partial Dentures
Cast metal partial dentures are the most common type of removable tooth replacement option in use, largely attributable to their comfortable and precise fit. They consist of high-quality resin teeth bonded with gum-colored acrylic or resin to a metal framework that attaches to the existing natural teeth using metal clasps or hidden precision attachments. If your natural teeth and the partial denture are cared for properly, a cast metal partial denture can last for about 10 years before replacement is necessary.
Cast metal partial dentures are perfect for patients who want a lightweight, stable, and secure way to replace as many as twelve missing teeth within a single arch. Because the metal framework prevents the partial from moving or bending while chewing, a cast metal partial is especially beneficial for patients who are missing some or all of their back teeth. Some patients find metal framework partials objectionable because the metal support clasps can be seen when smiling.
New technology allows for some clasps to be made from tooth- or gum-colored materials, allowing clasps to be less visible and more aesthetically pleasing. Metal framework partials are not suitable for patients with ongoing periodontal (gum) disease or problems associated with recurrent tooth decay.
Flippers made from acrylic resins are a special type of partial denture designed to be a quick and economical way to replace one or two missing teeth, generally in the front part of the mouth where multiple missing teeth are most noticeable. Depending upon the configuration of your remaining teeth, flippers may or may not contain clasps to help secure them in place.
A denturist would suggest a flipper partial as a temporary option while saving for a more long-term tooth replacement solution, such as a fixed bridge or a crown supported by a dental implant. Flippers can also be used as an immediate tooth replacement option when one or two teeth require removal and the patient doesn’t want to be without teeth while healing.
See Also: Flipper Tooth: What You Need to Know
Difference Between Fixed and Removable Partial Dentures
In dentistry, there are two broad categories of partial dentures: fixed partial dentures and removable partial dentures. Fixed partial dentures are also referred to as crowns or bridges and require grinding the natural teeth into a peg shape suitable for accepting crowns that are permanently cemented to the remaining tooth structure. While fixed partial dentures provide a more comfortable fit and lifelike appearance, they are often much more costly and often require the removal of good tooth structure in order to prepare the teeth for their placement.
Removable partial dentures fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth, replacing all of the missing teeth and restoring your smile on one arch using a single appliance. Although it is sometimes necessary for the dentist to perform some selective sanding on your teeth prior to making a partial denture, the majority of good tooth structure is preserved.
Many patients choose removable partials because they are more cost-effective and allow them to save up for better, longer-lasting treatment in the future.
How to Pick the Best Denture
Picking the right restorative solution for you can be a daunting task unless you work with a professional who is experienced with all types of removable partial dentures and other prosthetic dental appliances.
Work with a Top Clinician
Just because you have heard good things about a certain type of removable partial denture doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice for your situation or tooth configuration. While there are partial dentures made from many different materials, every partial denture is unique and designed especially to address your specific needs, wants, and desires.
A good clinician will present a variety of treatment options, both fixed and removable, at various price points to help you meet your tooth replacement needs.
Be Mindful of Gum and Jaw Health
After your dental needs have been addressed and your smile has been restored with a fixed or removable partial denture, don’t forget to protect your investment. So many patients wrongly assume that their dental health has been permanently restored by the treatment received, and they don’t need to do anything else to maintain it.
No matter how nice your smile looks, your partial denture will fail without ongoing professional care and home care. Talk to your dental professional about establishing a routine check-up schedule that is appropriate.
Know Your Functional and Aesthetic Needs
The type of removable partial denture or fixed partial denture that you ultimately choose should align with your goals. If comfort is your primary concern, the appliance that you choose may be different from the one best designed to address the most aesthetic result. Also, think in terms of short-term and longer-term dental goals.
Since a removable partial is usually a reversible procedure, it may be possible to use it as an interim appliance toward your ultimate goal – perhaps dental implants to replace missing teeth.
Work with Premier Specialists
The caring dental professionals at European Denture Center want you to have the best possible treatment to address your needs. Working with an experienced provider opens your world to a greater number of treatment options and denture services that can improve your dental health.
Why put off dealing with broken teeth any longer when it’s possible to change your smile in a single day? Schedule your consultation appointment today!