Partial dentures are false teeth for people who have lost some but not all of their teeth. Partials are typically made from acrylic (plastic) or a combination of acrylic & metal framework. The pink base of the denture is colored to match your gums & the false teeth will be matched to your existing teeth. Your partial will be virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth in terms of appearance.
Partial dentures are secured in your mouth by clipping onto your existing teeth. In partials where the base structure is made of metal, the clips will be made from metal. This type of partial is also called a cast partial & it tends to be both thinner & more durable. However, the metal clips on a cast partial may be visible when a patient smiles, depending on which teeth are present & which are being replaced. In partials where the entire structure is plastic, sometimes called a flexible partial, the clips will also be made of plastic. These plastic clips are less likely to show up when the patient smiles.
The process for creating a partial is very similar to the process for other forms of tooth replacement, such as dentures or bridges. Here is a basic outline of how partial dentures are created.
- First, an impression of your mouth is taken by having biting down on a tray of mold-making material or by using an intraoral digital scanner.
- From the mold a cast is made, giving the dental technician a replica model of the remaining teeth to design the custom partial onto.
- Depending on how many remaining teeth you have, the dentist may measure your bite to see how your upper & lower jaw relate to each other when closed. This helps ensure a good fit.
- The dental technician designs & engineers the partial denture based on the model of your mouth.
- The dentist will invite you in to try on a wax mock-up of the partial denture design & will make any necessary adjustments to the fit, shape & appearance.
- The dental technician makes the final partial by pouring a solid piece of acrylic (in the case of flexible partials) or by pouring acrylic around the metal frame in the case of cast partials.
- The dentist will invite you back to try on your final partial & make sure it’s hugging onto your remaining teeth comfortably & securely. If the fit is good, you will be able to wear your new partial home. If not, the dentist will make adjustments until it’s right.
Just like complete dentures, partials are removable & should not be worn at night while sleeping. Removing your partial at night gives your gums a chance to rest & allows saliva to wash your gums, which helps maintain the healthy flora in your mouth. Your partial denture should be cleaned every night as well using a soft toothbrush, denture brush, & denture toothpaste. (Don’t forget to brush the rest of your teeth & the portions of your gums the partial rests on with toothpaste & a soft bristle toothbrush!) Your partial should be stored overnight in a denture solution to disinfect it & keep it moist, which helps ensure its longevity. Before you go home with your partial denture we will give you a full lesson on how to clean it & care for it.
With partial dentures you will have your smile back & will regain chewing & biting ability, giving you the chance to enjoy foods that you may have had to avoid when you were missing teeth.
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