What is a partial denture?
It is a denture that replaces one or more missing teeth when you have lost some, but not all, of the teeth in your upper or lower arch. A partial denture will not prevent bone loss, so we do not recommend it as the very best possible cosmetic tooth restoration. However, it is a viable stop-gap measure to consider if you cannot receive or afford implants at this time.
Partial dentures, in spite of their inability to stop bone recession, prevent a number of other problems that result from missing teeth.
Missing teeth change the biting forces on teeth around the space. This will cause neighboring teeth to shift, and the opposing teeth begin to extrude out of their sockets and grow longer than they should be.
This in turn creates areas around the teeth that are very difficult to keep clean; so plaque and bacteria being to rapidly accumulate. This accumulation will cause tooth decay and very often also result in periodontal disease.
Changes in the bite will also place unequal chewing pressure on teeth that have shifted. This will often lead to bruxism, clenching, and very painful problems with the temporal mandibular joint (the TMJ). Uneven chewing will then make it hard to chew and enjoy food.
In order to prevent these problems, a partial denture can be used to keep teeth in alignment and to maintain normal functionality of biting and chewing. Partial dentures also will retain the shape of the cheeks and lips and prevent premature wrinkling.
Diagnosis and treatment:
In order to determine if we should recommend a partial denture, we perform a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. We typically take x-rays of your jawbone to determine its current health and size. If bone loss has already set in, we want to know at what stage it is at. As noted previously, partials will not stop recession, so determining the condition of your jaw will help us recommend to you implant options that you may qualify for in the future, and at what time it will be best to pursue them.
In the meantime, it is necessary to make a mold of your mouth that will enable us to create partial dentures that will closely match your existing natural teeth in both size and color. We do this by taking impressions of your teeth.
The dental lab will make your partial dentures, and periodic adjustments and relinements will be scheduled to keep them fitting properly and in good working order for you.
The aesthetic and medical benefits of partial dentures:
Partial dentures replace missing teeth, so you will forego the embarrassment of smiling with a noticeable gap in your arch. You will be able to eat most of the foods you normally eat, and the newer denture types that are now available on the market are much easier to clean. They also do not make clicking noises like the old generic dentures did, and they make it easier for you to speak clearly as well.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
What is a partial denture?