Are you missing one or a few teeth? If so, then partial dentures are the traditional solution. They can improve your appearance, and might also help with chewing and speaking. Partial dentures are removable, and difficult to anchor properly, which limits their functionality. For more function, people typically opt for dental bridges or implant dentures.
If you are looking for more information about partial dentures in Rockland County, please call (845) 627-7645 today for an appointment with denture dentist Dr. Mark Dunayer at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack.
What Are Partial Dentures?
Partial dentures are removable tooth replacements. They are appliances with one or more artificial teeth set in a cosmetic base that is intended to look like your natural gum tissue. Typically, dentures are secured with metal hooks and clasps that fit around your neighboring teeth. Additional stability is provided by a plate that fits against the floor or roof of your mouth.
Some modern partial dentures are made using flexible materials that fit over your gums and around your teeth. These dentures are more often seen as temporary restorations, but sometimes they can be used as a long-term alternative.
Even if your missing teeth are located in different parts of your mouth, a single partial denture can be used to replace all the lost teeth in a single arch.
Benefits of Partial Dentures
Partial dentures can be used to successfully replace one or more missing teeth. Many people choose them because they
- Are typically cheaper than other replacement options
- Can prevent teeth from drifting
- Can improve chewing
- Can aid with speech
- Can give a more attractive appearance
Partial dentures are often used because they are the least expensive tooth replacement option available. As we’ll see, the monetary savings are offset by functional limitations, so partial dentures aren’t always the best choice.
One thing that happens when you lose teeth is that your remaining teeth can drift out of place. This can put them at risk, and can make your teeth look very unattractive. A partial denture can help hold your teeth in place so they don’t drift.
Chewing is a challenge when you have less than a full set of teeth. A partial denture can help make your chewing more effective.
Your teeth are an essential part of your tools for speech. Without teeth to help you form sounds, your speech can be slurred or unclear. Partial dentures can help remake your sound box, allowing you to speak more clearly again.
Tooth gaps are unattractive and highly visible. Partial dentures will fill visible gaps in your smile. The dentures are much less noticeable than missing teeth.
Limitations of Partial Dentures
But partial dentures were largely used for many years because there was simply no other good option. The truth is that partial dentures are probably the least popular restoration in dentistry because they have many limitations, such as:
- Can slip out of place
- Provide limited chewing force
- Can be hard to speak with
- Can be unattractive
- Hard to maintain and easy to break or lose
- Can be uncomfortable
- May damage teeth, gums, and bone
The biggest problem with partial dentures is that the hooks, clasps, and plates used for partial dentures just can’t hold them in place very well. This causes them to slip out of place often, sometimes at very inconvenient times.
And because partial dentures just sit on top of your gums and aren’t anchored in the bone like your natural teeth, they don’t let you chew as you did with your natural teeth. You don’t have enough force, and often natural chewing motions will dislodge your dentures. Many people prefer to eat without their dentures in.
Because the dentures don’t stay in place, they can also interfere with speech. In particular if you’re trying to speak loudly or energetically, you may find your dentures come out of place, which can make it impossible to speak. But even if they stay in place, you may have a hard time being understood.
And partial dentures don’t always look very good, although dentures can be attractive. They usually look better than having a gap in your teeth, but the dentures might be made with fake-looking teeth, and a base that doesn’t really look like natural gums. Plus the hooks and clasps are very visible.
Maintenance of partial dentures can be a nuisance. They have to be rinsed off after every meal to remove food, which can get up under the denture and irritate your gums. They also should be soaked overnight. Constantly removing your dentures to clean them makes it more likely you will drop and break them, or accidentally bend the clasps when you’re trying to put the denture in. And if you take your dentures out for eating, you’re more likely to leave them behind somewhere.
Partial dentures can also be uncomfortable. The bite force put on your gums is different from what the gum tissue was designed to take, so your gums can become very irritated. In addition, the clasps and plates can irritate your gums.
And the discomfort may actually be a sign that your partial dentures are causing damage. Excess force on the top of your gums can damage the jawbone underneath. And the places where clasps touch your gums can trigger receding gums. The hooks and clasps can also cause wear to your natural teeth. The denture can also trap food and plaque up against your teeth, increasing the risk of decay.
Alternatives to Partial Dentures
As we said, partial dentures are decreasing in popularity because of their limitations. So what are people choosing instead?
For a single lost tooth, a dental bridge is a good option. A dental bridge supports an artificial tooth with crowns on teeth around the gap.
For more extensive reconstructions, dental implants are a much better choice. Dental implants are firmly anchored in your jawbone, so they can function just like natural teeth. Chew naturally, speak clearly, and never worry about your restorations coming out of place. That’s why many people choose implant dentures.
To learn more about partial dentures and the alternatives in Rockland County, please call (845) 627-7645 today for an appointment with Dr. Mark Dunayer at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack.