In a world of implants, no one talks about partial dentures

The dental world belongs to implants. And with good reason. Implants are sexy, shiny and exciting. Their functional and aesthetic properties are outstanding. However, there are many instances where partial dentures are still indicated – if not required. The problem is, knowledge of partial dentures is limited. In this blog, I am answering some frequently asked questions about partial dentures. As always,  if you have any questions not covered here, feel free to call me at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.

What are partial dentures?

Partial dentures are an affordable way to replace one or many missing teeth. They are a removable appliance placed in the mouth, to find out more, head to my Dentures info page.

Are partial dentures temporary or permanent?

Partial dentures can be made as either a temporary or permanent solution to replace missing teeth. For instance, a partial denture can be used to temporarily hold a space open while waiting to get a dental implant.

What is the difference between a partial denture and a full denture?

A partial denture replaces one or more teeth, whereas a full denture replaces all the teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.

What are partial dentures made of?

Partial dentures are made from plastic (acrylic) or metal (chrome-cobalt). Note that metal-based partial dentures are generally more comfortable as they feel less bulky in the mouth. This comes back to the strength of metal over plastic. To get the same strength from plastic, it needs to be thicker, hence, plastic-based dentures can at times feel more bulky than metal-based dentures.

Are your dentures made in Australia?

At Riverstone Family Dental, we select labs that make their dentures here in Australia.

How do partial dentures stay in the mouth?

Partial dentures are created from an accurate mold of your mouth. Using these molds, we are able to design a denture which fits snugly to your teeth and gums. A partial denture typically has metal clasps which grip onto your teeth to hold it in place.

How will the partial denture feel?

Having a foreign object in your mouth takes some getting used to. Some people adjust quite readily, while others need time, patience and perseverance.

Will a partial denture fit well if I have just had a tooth out?

Partial dentures are a great solution if you are urgently needing your tooth out. This is because they can done quickly, in which case they are referred to as ‘immediate dentures’. An important note with immediate dentures is that over time your gum and underlying bone will change. This is especially true in the first 3-6 months after having your tooth out. You may find your partial denture starts to feel loose or is rubbing on the gum to cause sore spots. This can be alleviated by getting a reline done. A reline tops up the base of the partial denture so it fills in the gaps and fits the new shape of your gums.

Can you hide the metal clasps on a partial denture?

If your partial denture requires metal clasps on front teeth, then you may see this metal when you smile. An option would be to opt for tooth-coloured clasps. They are not as strong as metal clasps and can be used in suitable situations depending on the amount of retention required. It is worth discussing this with your dentist.

Do the teeth on the partial denture look natural?

Partial denture teeth come in many different shapes and shades. They will never be a perfect match, however, we aim to get them as similar to your natural teeth as possible. I look at the general shape of your teeth to see if they are ovoid, square or triangular. Then I look at the shade which is assessed in three parts: value, chroma and hue. A match is discussed with you during the planning stages of the denture and modifications can be made before finishing.

Do the metal clasps on partial dentures strip the gums away?

Partial denture clasps can strip the gums away if they are moving when you eat. The biting action can drive the clasp up or down the tooth which can result in gum stripping. The way to prevent this is to ensure your denture fits as snugly as possible to your teeth and gums.

Will a partial denture give me a lisp?

Your tongue will require time to adjust to a partial denture if it covers the roof of your mouth. The extra 2mm of plastic has changed the distance between the tongue and the roof of the mouth. Therefore, the established patterns of speaking will be affected and time is required to re-train the tongue.

I hope this has helped answer some of your queries regarding partial dentures. As always, the best way to know if something is right for you is to book in for a consultation. Need a friendly, caring family dentist? Give Riverstone Family Dental a call on: 8678 3538


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