A partial denture is a removable dental appliance that replaces multiple missing teeth. It can be attached to the teeth with clasps (clasp or conventional partial) or it can be attached to the teeth with crowns with precision attachments (hidden clasps). Both types have a metal framework and plastic teeth and gum areas. An important step in maintaining a healthy smile is to replace missing teeth. When teeth are missing, the remaining ones can change position, drifting into the surrounding space. Teeth that are out of position can damage tissues in the mouth. In addition, it may be difficult to clean thoroughly between crooked teeth. As a result, you run the risk of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to the loss of additional teeth. A removable partial denture fills in the space created by missing teeth and fills out your smile. A denture helps you to properly chew food, a difficult task when you are missing teeth. Also, a denture may improve speech and prevent a sagging face by providing support for lips and cheeks.
Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more esthetic than metal clasps and they are nearly invisible. Crowns on your natural teeth may improve the fit of a removable partial denture and they are usually required with attachments. Dentures with precision attachments generally cost more than those with metal clasps. Consult with your dentist to find out which type is right for you.
For the first few weeks, your new partial denture may feel awkward or bulky. However, your mouth will eventually become accustomed to wearing it. Inserting and removing the denture will require some practice. Never force the partial denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.
You may be asked to wear your partial denture all the time. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is the quickest way to identify those denture parts that may need adjustment. If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. Your dentist will adjust the denture to fit more comfortably. After making adjustments, the dentist will probably recommend that you take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.
Having a partial denture should make eating a more pleasant experience. Start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on the denture. Avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. When having partial dentures you may want to avoid chewing gum while you adjust to the denture.
It can be difficult to speak clearly when you are missing teeth but wearing a partial denture may help. With time, you will become accustomed to speaking properly with your denture.
Handling a partial denture requires care. It's a good idea to stand over a folded towel or a sink of water just in case you accidentally drop the denture. Brush the denture each day to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing your denture helps prevent the appliance from becoming permanently stained. It's best to use a brush that is designed for cleaning dentures. A denture brush has bristles that are arranged to fit the shape of the denture. A regular, soft-bristled toothbrush is also ok to use. Avoid using a brush with hard bristles, which can damage the denture.
We recommend any denture cleaner with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.
Some people use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid to clean their dentures, which are both acceptable. Other types of household cleaners and many toothpastes are too abrasive and should not be used for cleaning dentures.
Clean your dentures by thoroughly rinsing off loose food particles. Moisten the brush and apply the denture cleaner. Brush all denture surfaces gently to avoid damaging the plastic or bending the attachments.
A denture could lose its shape if it is not kept moist. At night, the denture should be placed in soaking solution or water. However, if the appliance has metal attachments, they could be tarnished if placed in soaking solution. The dentist will recommend the proper method for keeping your dentures in good shape.
Brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth daily help prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture's metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay.
Over time, adjusting the partial denture may be necessary. As you age, your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture. Your bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, resulting in a loose-fitting denture. Partial Dentures that do not fit properly should be adjusted by the dentist. Loose partial dentures can cause various problems, including sores or infections. Contact the dentist if your denture becomes loose.
You can do serious harm to your partial denture and to your health by trying to adjust or repair your denture. We recommend that you do not try to attempt to fix dentures yourself and instead go see you dentist.