People who have a few odd teeth missing on the upper or lower jaw, need not restrict themselves from smiling any more. When teeth are lost, the remaining teeth tend to eventually shift and fill some of the empty space created. This leaves the teeth more or less disoriented, with an unpleasant, crooked appearance. Partial dentures have been designed to fill empty teeth spaces with false teeth, thereby ensuring a gap-free smile. The remaining teeth are kept in their natural positions by these dentures. Numerous problems arising due to change in teeth spacing, such as Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems, that could result in earaches, headaches, difficulty in moving the jaw, etc. can be avoided with partial dentures.
Types of Partial Dentures
There are two types of partial dentures: fixed and removable type. The type of partial denture is prescribed on the basis of the health of the teeth surrounding the gap.
Fixed Partial Dentures
These are also known as dental implant bridges, and involve the permanent attachment of artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under gum tissue via a dental implant bridge. These dental bridges are preferred over the removable type, due to their striking resemblance to natural teeth and comfort level. However, their implantation requires healthy teeth for support. They also are harder to clean, as compared to the removable type. Moreover, since they cannot be removed, they are susceptible to inflammation, bad breath and other oral problems. This fixed partial denture is expensive and is recommended for replacing one or two missing teeth.
Removable Partial Dentures
This type as the name implies, refers to partial dentures that can be removed and placed back as and when desired. They are also known as removable dental bridges. They feature metal framework along with metal clasps, artificial teeth and resin base material. They fill the gap between natural teeth, with a false tooth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. The tooth denture is connected by a metal framework which keeps it in place. Those possessing diseased, injured or partial tooth loss can opt for these removable dentures. There are several types of removable partial dentures, which use the same standard plastic denture teeth for the dental partials. They differ only in the materials used to support the denture teeth in place.
The different types of partial dentures are:
Flipper Partial Denture:
This type is the least expensive of all the available partial dentures. Acrylic material is used to create the pink plastic denture base, which is the standard material used for all removable partial dentures. Onto this base is attached the false teeth to fill the gaps. Wrought wire clasps are cured into the base, whose role is to clasp the natural teeth and keep the denture in place.
Initially a person may find wearing these dentures very uncomfortable. Talking and eating may become cumbersome. Nevertheless, one gets used to these flippers after sometime. To reduce trouble while eating, one should remove the denture before eating. This way food won't get stuck in the denture. Moreover, the denture is at no risk of damage, by hard food items.
One should also remove the denture at night, before sleeping. This is because, it presses the gums to some extent. Thus, it is not recommended to wear it for a long period of time. This type of partial denture can be put immediately after a tooth extraction and is not permanent solution to partial tooth loss. Usually, people wear this type of denture, until arrangements for dental bridges or implants can be made.
Cast Metal Partial Denture:
This type comprises cast metal frameworks and is more advantageous as compared to the flipper type. They are strong, rigid and durable, thus, are considered for the long run. Modern frameworks are cast from chrome cobalt (strong alloy), which is less likely to break. The metal used in these dentures is not seen to cause any allergies.
These partial dentures are attached to the teeth in a very stable fashion. The denture rests on the teeth and not on the gums, as in the case of flippers. This stability is achieved by slightly altering the natural teeth surface so that the dentures can fit properly. However, this modification will in no way alter the way the teeth bite into each other or their grinding function.
The metal clasps are also not as visible as those in flippers, however, can be seen and often people find this aspect uncomfortable. Neither the metal framework nor the plastic extensions, come in contact with the soft oral tissues, thus sore spots are not an issue. Moreover, they are less noticeable to the tongue and most people find them more comfortable to wear than the flippers.
Flexible Framework Partial Denture:
The application of nylon-like materials to the fabrication of dental appliances, is a recent advance in the dental industry. The metal parts and the pink acrylic base is replaced by this nylon-like material. This material is unbreakable and colored pink to resemble the gums. This type of denture blends well with the tissue of the palate and is not noticeable to the opposite person.
Moreover, since this nylon-like material is quite thin and flexible, it is used to build clasps as well. This solves the problem of clasp visibility. Thus, people who are uncomfortable wearing the conspicuous metal dentures, find this type more appealing.
The clasps in these dentures rest on the gums instead of the teeth, unlike the cast metal type. This can lead to sore spots. Nevertheless, these dentures require no alteration of the teeth structure, on which they rests and are quite stable.
Nesbit Partial Denture:
This type of denture is made to replace one or two lost rear teeth and can be used as a temporary or permanent tooth replacement. These dentures can be legally built only out of flexible framework material variety. The single tooth removable partial denture is referred to as Nesbit.
Unlike the earlier denture types we've looked at, this type does not have the region of acrylic or nylon-like material crossing over the arch. Small, flexible material clasps fit around the teeth adjacent to the gap. So the entire weight of the denture rests on the two teeth besides the gap. This results in extreme pressure application on the clasped teeth. Therefore, dentists don't recommend this type.
In terms of cost, it is an inexpensive dentures type. However, this type of denture is only recommended for temporary purpose. The reason being, this denture is so small, that it can be accidentally swallowed. However, with the new flexible framework material, even if it is accidentally swallowed, it is not prone to cause harm. Nevertheless, they are not good permanent options.
The Cusil Partial Denture:
This is a full denture with holes, thereby allowing the remaining natural teeth to protrude through. This acrylic denture is lined with a rubber gasket which grasps the teeth. Cusil partial denture is primarily meant for people, who have lost maximum teeth and want to salvage the remaining few, for as long as possible.
False teeth are selected to match the appearance of the rest of the natural teeth. Special effort is taken to match the shape, color and size of the natural teeth. This makes the partial dentures blend with the rest of the dental arch. Thus, people find this denture very comfortable, as nobody seems to notice they have dentures on.
If the partial denture has been correctly designed and constructed, then it will not only be comfortable to wear, but will also function like the rest of the natural teeth. Since the flexible gasket clasps onto the neck of the teeth, food particles do not seep into the inner surfaces of the denture. Moreover, this type of denture does not apply pressure on the teeth, in the way the metal clasps does, therefore is a good type of partial denture for the long run.
Maintaining proper dental care and hygiene, is necessary to avoid tooth related problems that lead to complete dentures. Follow the instructions given by the dentist, regarding denture care diligently and in case any damage occurs, take the denture to your dentist immediately. Do not try to repair it yourself. Keep visiting the dentist regularly and happy smiling!