Dentures have long been used to replace missing teeth. When most people think of dentures, they probably think of a whole mouth full of prosthetic teeth. But what happens if you are only missing two or three teeth? A partial denture is a dental appliance that helps to restore the function and form of the jaw by replacing one or more missing teeth. The partial denture is natural-looking and helps with chewing and speaking.
Why would someone need a partial denture?
If one or more teeth are missing, the bite pressure in your mouth shifts. Other teeth may even move some to compensate for the gap in your bite. Soft tissue and supporting bone near the missing teeth may start to shrink. This can alter your appearance and sometimes lead to problems with your other teeth. When a partial denture is in place, it helps keep the underlying structures like the gums, facial muscles, and jawbone engaged and active. This can help keep other teeth from shifting around as well as provide you with a natural, complete, and beautiful smile.
How does a partial denture work?
Partial dentures consist of replacement teeth attached to a plastic base with a metal framework. They can be used to replace back, front, lower, and upper teeth. Structurally, they are all basically alike except they are designed so they fit in the different parts of the mouth. They are held in place with metal clasps that clip onto the teeth on either side of the gap.
Benefits of Partial Dentures
Getting partial dentures is less invasive than implants and other options and it is a less expensive way to replace missing teeth. They are easy to get used to and restore the natural appearance and functionality of the mouth. Partial dentures are ideal if your other teeth are healthy. Of course, it is always preferable to keep your natural teeth. But sometimes it’s not an option and partial or full dentures can be a workable tooth replacement option.
Are they hard to take care of?
Partials need to be kept clean and taken care of just like your natural teeth. If partial dentures are not kept clean, they can cause problems. Here are the steps to keeping them clean:
- Always clean your partial dentures over a bowl of water or a towel so if you drop them they won’t break.
- Use a special brush designed specifically for brushing dentures.
- Soak the partial dentures in a special cleanser made specifically to clean dentures.
You also need to keep up with your oral hygiene for your remaining teeth and gums. This helps keep gum disease and decay under control. Continue brushing your gums, natural teeth, tongue, and roof of your mouth twice a day. You should also get your natural teeth cleaned by a San Pablo dentist twice a year.
Are partial dentures hard to get used to?
For a few weeks, they may feel a little awkward. You may have a little bit of difficulty speaking and you may notice your mouth watering a lot at first. Just keep wearing them so you will get used to them faster. To help with the adjustment, try these tips:
- Practice reading aloud to help your tongue get used to the feel.
- Practice putting them in and removing them. Don’t force it into position by biting down on it.
- Eat soft foods when you first get your partial dentures. Try cutting your food into smaller pieces for a few weeks until you get used to the way they feel.
- Chew slowly and use both sides of your mouth.
Contact Dr. Edwin Kim
If you are missing a tooth or teeth, contact us to schedule an exam with Dr. Edwin Kim to discuss treatment options.