Cosmetic Dentistry – Removable Partial Dentures

It is important to replace missing teeth if you want to keep a healthy smile. When teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can shift into the missing spaces and become crooked. It is harder to clean crooked teeth. This can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) diseases.

A removable partial denture may be a solution to replace your missing teeth. A removable partial denture will improve your ability to chew food well, which often is difficult with missing teeth. Removable partial dentures also can help you speak better if your speech has changed due to missing teeth. Removable partial dentures can support cheeks and lips so the face does not sag and make you look older.

Removable partial dentures usually have replacement teeth fixed to a plastic base that closely matches the color of your gums. A metal framework connects the teeth and the base. They may attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps.

In special cases, a dentist may build a part called a precision attachment into the crown (a “cap” that covers the tooth). This attaches the denture directly to the surrounding teeth. With or without precision attachments, crowns on your natural teeth may improve the way a removable partial denture fits your mouth. Ask your dentist which kind of removable partial denture is right for you.

Your New Removable Partial Dentures

It takes practice to put in and take out a removable partial denture. It may feel odd for the first few weeks. But in time, you should get used to it. The partial denture should fit into place easily. Never force it into place by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps. If you have a problem with your new partial denture, talk to your dentist. It may need an adjustment.

Your dentist can tell you how long to wear the removable partial denture and when you should take it out. If the denture puts too much pressure on one spot, it may cause a sore spot on your gum tissue. Usually your dentist will make follow-up appointments to look for pressure points or sore spots and to adjust your denture so it fits comfortably. Your dentist may tell you to take out the partial denture at bedtime and put it back in when you wake up.

Eating and Speaking

When you replace missing teeth, eating is much easier. But it takes practice. Begin by eating soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep the pressure even. Do not eat very sticky or hard foods or chew gum. Missing teeth can sometimes make it hard to speak clearly. Wearing a removable partial denture can help. If at first you find some words hard to say, practice by reading out loud. Repeat the hard words and soon you should be able to speak well.

Caring for Your New Removable Partial Dentures

Like natural teeth, you must take good care of your removable partial dentures.
Here are some tips to care for them:

  • Your removable partial denture is very delicate and can break if dropped even a few inches on a hard surface. Stand over a folded towel or a sink filled with cool water when holding your partial denture.
  • Brush each day to remove food deposits and plaque, and to keep the artificial teeth from getting permanent stains.
  • It is best to use a special brush made for cleaning dentures, but you can use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Do not use hard-bristled brushes because they can damage dentures.
  • Clean your removable partial denture by taking it out of your Mouth and carefully rinsing off loose food particles. Wet the brush and put the denture cleaner on it. Brush all the surfaces gently to keep from damaging the plastic or bending the clasps.
  • Do not let your removable partial denture dry out or it can lose its shape.
  • Place your denture in water when you are not wearing it. Your dentist can tell you how to care for your denture and if you should use a denture soaking solution.
  • Look for denture cleansers with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, a symbol of safety and effectiveness.
  • Daily brushing and cleaning of your natural teeth helps prevent tooth decay and gum diseases that may lead to tooth loss. Take extra care when cleaning teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Plaque trapped under the clasps can raise the risk of tooth decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you how to properly brush and clean between the teeth.
  • Keep your denture away from curious children and pets when you are not wearing it.

Adjustments

Your mouth naturally changes as you age, which can affect the fit of your removable partial denture. Your bone ridges can shrink, making a space under the denture. Food can get trapped. The denture clasps also may get loose from normal wear. Anything that affects the close fit of the removable partial denture can cause irritation and sores.

If the denture needs adjusting, do not adjust it yourself. You can harm both the denture and your health. A badly adjusted partial denture can cause sores and irritation. Do not use household glues because they can have harmful chemicals and may not be useful for fixing your removable partial denture.

See your dentist as soon as possible if your removable partial denture breaks, cracks, chips, or if one of the teeth becomes loose. Sometimes dentists can make the repairs, often on the same day. Difficult repairs can take longer and will require you to be without your partial denture.

Your dentist will tell you how often to go for dental checkups. Regular visits and professional cleanings are very important to keep a healthy smile.