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Partial Dentures

A partial denture is designed to replace one or several missing teeth.

You may consider a removable partial denture to replace the missing teeth, if:

Removable partial dentures have been made by dentists and worn by patients for many years. Partial dentures are composed of three different materials. A cast metal base with clasping arms holds a pink plastic gum tissue and plastic or porcelain teeth. The metal clasps are silver in color and, depending on the individual circumstances, may or may not be visible when you talk or smile. These clasps are absolutely necessary to hold the partial in place. Their location and design are dictated by the shape and position of your remaining teeth and which missing teeth will be replaced. We will show you where the clasps are to be located in your mouth

Most of the time, the amount of preparation (drilling) of your natural teeth needed to ensure successful clasp design is minimal. Often there is no need for a local anesthetic injection. This is unlike fixed bridgework, which always requires significant tooth reduction for proper design and fit. If you find that the appearance of the clasps will be objectionable, then you might consider different possibilities. It is common to place crowns on the teeth that are clasped by the metal arms, and then place the clasps inside the crowns. This will give you a more natural appearance, but it will add to the ultimate cost of treatment. It involves significant preparation of the natural tooth and you might also want to rethink about fixed bridges or implants.

The base of the partial denture will rest lightly on your gum tissue. At some time in the future it is expected that you will need adjustments to the base. Usually this means an addition of more pink material to the denture base. Clasp arms will loosen and need to be tightened at various times. Weight loss or gain will also affect the fit of the base of the partial.

Although a partial is less expensive than a fixed bridge, which is metal and porcelain cemented into place, there are several possible drawbacks. It is much more bulky than a bridge and is more difficult to wear initially. You may have to adjust the way you speak to accommodate the extra bulk. After awhile, this will not be much of a problem. And depending on the position of the retaining clasps, they may be visible when you talk or smile.

Do not sleep with the partial dentures in place. The partial dentures absolutely must be removed during sleep time to be cleaned and give the clasped teeth a chance to rest. The gum tissue under the denture needs a chance to breathe and reestablish proper blood circulation. The partial denture can compress the tissue and reduce blood flow in the area. Plaque can accumulate on your denture and your gum tissue. Use a very soft toothbrush to gently brush your gums. Also brush your partial denture daily with a denture brush and denture cleanser. Always store your partial denture in water when you are not wearing it.

If you have any questions about removable partial dentures, please feel free to ask us.

Immediate Dentures

Immediate full or partial dentures are made when teeth are extracted on the same day that the finished dentures are inserted.

Immediate dentures are different from regular dentures in that the final impressions are made before some or all of the teeth that are to be removed are extracted. Traditionally, fabricated dentures are constructed to replace an already existing full denture. There is no healing time necessary and the initial fit will be much better because the impressions will exactly reflect the soft tissues on which the denture base rests.

With immediate denture construction, there is an approximation of the fit of the denture base. Because the teeth are still in place when the denture is being constructed and tried in, the fit will not be as exact initially. It is more difficult to try in the immediate denture to check for fit and appearance when the teeth are still in place. This is especially true when the natural teeth that will be removed have drifted far out of their original position. Immediate dentures are made so that the patient will not be forced to be without teeth while the gum tissues heal and the remaining tissue ridges reach their final shape. This final healing can take 3 to 6 months after the teeth are removed.

The immediate denture will be inserted the same day the teeth are removed. Because of this, the patient will be numb and swollen from the local anesthetic, and not really able to tell much about the comfort of the denture base and the set of the denture teeth against the opposing jaw and teeth. Expect several appointments with us during the healing period as the swelling goes down and the denture base settles. Your bite will change and need to be readjusted. The more teeth removed at the time the immediate denture is delivered, the longer it will take to heal and the more sore spots you will have.

Sometimes we will advise removing some teeth as the denture is being made, leaving only a few front teeth in place. This will help make a more accurate fit of the immediate denture. Of course, every case is unique. Expect many sore spots and places where the tissue is rubbed raw. When this happens, take out the denture and see us immediately. If you continue to wear the denture without adjustment, the gum tissue will be badly damaged and it will take longer to heal. Although the general process of making an immediate denture is close to that of a traditional full denture, the immediate denture construction poses different and more significant problems.

After the tissue completely heals at the extraction site, the denture base will need an addition of more plastic. This is called a reline. The extra plastic will fill in the space between the denture base and the new position of the soft tissue. Originally, this space was estimated in the sites where the teeth had not yet been removed. Tissue shrinkage will continue for some time, but after about 6 months, it slows down enough that it is practical to do the reline. With either immediate dentures, or after some years of wearing dentures, the tissue may change enough that relines are again necessary. As you age and have no teeth, the bone in the jaws gets smaller. The plastic base of the denture does not change along with the jaw changes, so a periodic reline is necessary.

It is possible that after many years of missing teeth, the bone on which the denture sits becomes so small that it is difficult, if not impossible, for a denture to remain properly in place. Dental implants may help retain the denture. Some surgical procedures may help.

If you have any questions about immediate dentures, please feel free to ask us.

Full dentures

Full dentures replace a full arch of missing teeth to restore chewing and facial appearance. A denture can be constructed to replace missing top teeth, missing bottom teeth, or both.

Full dentures replace a full arch of missing teeth to restore chewing and facial appearance. A denture can be constructed to replace missing top teeth, missing bottom teeth, or both.

A denture is normally constructed of an acrylic (plastic) base, colored pink to look like the gum tissue it covers. The teeth are either plastic or porcelain. Choice of which type of material to use for the teeth will be based on our judgment and what the teeth in the opposing arch are. Porcelain goes against porcelain. Acrylic goes against acrylic or natural tooth.

If you already have a denture or dentures, construction of new dentures is relatively easy. Your mouth is familiar with the feel of the denture. Preliminary impressions are made from which more exact impression trays are designed and fabricated. These trays are used to make a final master impression, from which the denture will be made. The line of the teeth and thickness of the denture are established in wax and checked. Teeth are selected by color, form, and material. They are placed in the wax and tried in place in the mouth. When you approve the form, design, and setup of the teeth, the dental laboratory will complete the process in acrylic. Then they are returned to the office and delivered to you. They will be adjusted at that time. Expect to make several visits with us, as the dentures settle in and sore spots develop. Do not expect the new dentures to fit the same as your old ones. Dentures cannot be exactly duplicated. The feel will always be different. Not worse, just different.

If you have recently had one or a few teeth extracted, or are having a full denture made after wearing a removable partial denture, you will need more time to adjust to the new full denture. It can take 3 to 6 months for soft tissue to heal and reshape itself fully after an extraction. The more teeth removed, the more change there will be and the longer it will take to heal. Many times, a denture is made before this time period has elapsed. Expect to have more sore spots and more adjustments before the denture feels comfortable. You may also expect to have the denture relined after a few months to compensate for that tissue change. The reline fills in the space that develops under the denture by the extraction site. Partial dentures have some mechanical retention from clasps on teeth. Full dentures do not have this help and are more difficult to keep in place.

If you have a denture or dentures, make sure to remove them daily. Do not sleep with them in. Your gums need a chance to have unimpeded circulation of fresh blood. Dentures tend to restrict blood flow. Plaque can accumulate on your denture and on your gum tissue. Use a very soft toothbrush to gently brush your gums. Be sure to keep your dentures clean by brushing them daily with a denture brush and denture cleanser-and be sure to store them in water when they are not being worn.

If you have any questions about full dentures, please feel free to ask us.

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