Do you have several missing teeth and have problems chewing or enjoying your lunch or dinner? Just relax. Partial dentures are your solution. They can replace several missing teeth but not your entire upper or lower set of teeth. To get partial dentures, you must have some healthy teeth remaining in either of your upper or lower jaw.
Partial dentures, also called partials, are primarily artificial replacement teeth that help restore your missing teeth. The surrounding tissues in the oral cavity support dentures. Partials will only replace a few missing teeth in your upper or lower jaw. Complete dentures will replace an entire set of teeth.
This article discusses some of the most common questions you might have regarding partial dentures, including types, materials, and other information regarding partial dentures. If you have recently experienced a loss of teeth, talk with your dentist to see if partial dentures are the right fit for you.
1 Why Should You Replace Your Missing Teeth?
As you know, your appearance is one of the main reasons for replacing your missing teeth. Another reason being that the gap left by your missing tooth can put more strain on the teeth at either side. In such a scenario, tooth replacement becomes necessary.
Any gap or missing teeth means your ‘bite’ is affected. Probably because the teeth next to the space can tend to lean into the gap. As a result, it will change the way your upper and lower teeth bite together. There are also chances that the food can get stuck in the gap, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
2 How are Your Missing Teeth Replaced?
Your dentist decides on the treatment or procedure depending on the number of missing teeth you have. The condition of your other teeth will also affect the decision.
There are primarily three ways to replace your missing teeth. The first option is using a removable false tooth, commonly called a partial denture. The second option is using a fixed dental bridge. Your dentist might use a bridge when there are very few teeth to replace. Or when there are missing teeth on one side of the mouth.
The third option is the use of dental implants. During this procedure, your dentist will place an artificial root into the bone of the jaw. Above which, a bridge or crown is placed.
3 What is a Partial Denture?
A partial denture is designed like a plate with one or more false teeth placed on it. It could be made of all plastic or a mixture of plastic and metal. Both types might have clips on them to help keep the denture in place while you wear them in your mouth. Depending on the placement in the mouth, some of these clips are visible when you smile.
In contrast, a complete denture is a removable replacement for your teeth and bone – placed in an entire dental arch. Most complete dentures are easy to fabricate, relatively economical, and provide a level of esthetics and function acceptable to many individuals.
4 How Long Does it Take to Get Used to Partial Dentures?
Initially, when you wear them, your new dentures will feel unusual. It is quite usual if you have new hardware in your mouth, be it retainers or braces, they need an adjustment period. Most patients learn how to manage dentures within days.
Some of the things you might need to get used to are the way the dentures feel in your mouth. How to take them out, and how to clean your dentures. You may also have to know how to eat and talk as your mouth feels different.
Initially, the dentures might feel awkward. Some patients get adjusted after two to three weeks. In contrast, others may not get adjusted entirely even after six weeks. Once you learn how to survive and live with dentures, you will automatically stop thinking about them and become part of the system.
5 How Can You Make Your Partial Dentures More Comfortable?
Make it a point to talk about your dentures and their fitting whenever you visit your dentist. Your dentist is the right person to give you suggestions for ways to overcome any discomfort you might feel. Indeed, the first few weeks might feel odd to you. But you have to find ways to make your dentures feel more comfortable.
One option is to use an adhesive to keep your artificial teeth from sliding away. You can try experimenting with different adhesives available in the market.
It is best to discuss with your dentist how to make your partial dentures feel comfortable. Since your dentist knows what brands might work best for you with the specific materials used in your dentures.
Remember that you must also keep realistic expectations. Dentures are going to fill the gaps in your teeth. They might also keep your teeth from moving away. Other people will not know that you have lost a tooth if you wear dentures. But note that it will not feel like a natural tooth. You have to accept all these facts.
To make your dentures feel comfortable, it is vital to clean them regularly and properly keep them in good condition. Proper handling of your partial dentures will keep them from becoming uncomfortable and misshapen.
Learn more about Snap-in Dentures: What you need to Know here.
6 Is it Hard to Eat with Partial Dentures?
Initially, your partial denture might feel a little awkward. You may be used to the missing teeth. But having a foreign object in its place would feel unnatural, especially during the first few weeks. But slowly, you will be more familiar with wearing it over time.
When you first get your dentures, try eating soft food for the first few days. Soft food will help get used to the chewing process. Once you become more confident eating with your partial dentures, you can eat more chewy foods. Hard and chewy foods will take maximum time to get used to.
However, once you learn how to cope with dentures, you will feel more natural when you eat your food. Eating with them will no longer be difficult as you get used to keeping dentures in your mouth slowly. However, eating with dentures is more difficult if you have full dentures than partial dentures. With complete dentures, you need to simultaneously chew food on both sides of your mouth.
7 Can You Wear Partial Dentures All the Time?
Technically you can wear your dentures 24X7, meaning the whole day. This is an excellent dental health practice. However, many dentists suggest that your gums and teeth should remove the dentures at night while you sleep.
If you wear your dentures the whole day, fungi and bacteria will grow under the dentures. This could be bad for your dental health. As a result, it could lead to problems like bad breath, irritation, and gum disease. In addition, they can put pressure on your gums for an extended period which could be bad for your bones.
Hence it is advisable to take out your dentures at night and give them a rest. It is also good practice for your long-term dental health. But initially, your dentist may recommend you to wear your dentures as much as possible. So that they can make minor adjustments to make it fit as comfortably as possible.
8 What are the Problems Faced With Partial Dentures?
One can also opt for dentures that are lightweight and do not have any metal. They are more comfortable than dentures. They do not feel tight around your teeth and do not move around in your mouth. Some individuals also face issues with removable partial dentures.
You may also experience upper denture problems. Upper denture problems are common both in the case of complete dentures or partial dentures. They might affect your chewing, your speech, and TMJ functioning.
Do many people often ask if you can chew gum with dentures? Yes, enjoying chewing gum with these types of fittings is relatively easy.
However, a properly fitted denture will not have these problems. If you have any problems, your dentist will evaluate your current dentures and recommend fixing them.
9 What is the Difference Between a Plastic Partial Denture and Metal Denture?
Plastic partial dentures are preferred as they are less expensive to prepare. These dentures must be designed very carefully else; they can damage the teeth they fit against.
In contrast, partial metal dentures are often made from an alloy of cobalt and chromium. Therefore they are much more durable and more robust in the long run. The design of the metal framework makes it easier to add artificial teeth.
Metal braces are lighter to wear and could easily be supported by your remaining teeth. Although the base is metal, they have natural-looking teeth and gum-colored plastic fixed to them. This is the reason why metal dentures are more expensive than plastic ones.
10 How To Care for Your Denture?
You need to note that your dentures may break if you drop them. Always clean your denture in a bowl of water or a folded towel to avoid slipping.
The thumb rule is to soak and brush every day to clean your dentures. First, brush your dentures to remove any food particles. You could use a non-abrasive denture cleaner but do not use toothpaste.
Also, be extra careful not to scrub too hard as this might cause grooves on the surface of the dentures. Ensure that you brush all the surfaces of the dentures. Do not forget to clean the surface that fits against your gums. This step is all the more essential if you use any denture fixative.
Your doctor might suggest using a denture cleaning solution to soak your dentures. This might help remove any plaque and stubborn stains on its surface. The answer may also help to disinfect your dentures, leaving them feeling fresher. These are a few dental care tips you should follow at home.
You should also remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as part of dental care. If you notice any build-up of scale or stains, then you can get it cleaned by your dental team.