If you have natural teeth but some are missing we can talk about a partial denture. It is important to restore the missing teeth to avoid having the remaining natural teeth change position.
Molars and premolars, though they are often invisible, help chew food. They also protect the front teeth. Each tooth is important, whether or not it can be seen when you smile. Unfortunately, in some cases, the hooks might be visible. If this inconvenience is a problem for you, other options can be considered. We will discuss expectations before starting to create the dentures.
Types of Partial Dentures
Acrylic partial dentures are suggested for temporary use or in cases where the financial situation is a concern. After extractions, or other surgical interventions, the gums and/or the bone heal. During this healing period, the mouth changes, but not the denture. It must therefore be readjusted gradually as the mouth changes.
It is therefore preferable to make a temporary partial out of acrylic for this period and once healing is complete, to make a good metal partial for the long term. When an acrylic partial is worn over a long time period, the teeth on the partial become shorter than the natural teeth over time and, at that point, they do not meet the required functional needs or provide the desired look.
Metallic partial dentures are more comfortable than acrylic ones because the metal is much thinner and stronger. These dentures stay beautiful and functional over the long term. When one or many posterior teeth are there, we install supports to the top of those teeth, which prevent the partial denture from exerting too much pressure on the gums during chewing.
Many alloys can be used such as chrome/cobalt, Vitallium® or titanium. Metallic partial dentures can be modified if a natural tooth needs to be removed. In some situations, a solder might be necessary, but you do not have to invest in a whole new denture.
Steps to Creating a Partial Denture
When making partial dentures, we work from two impressions. The first provides an overview of the size of the mouth and muscles attached to it. Based on this model, called the ‘primary’ model, we make a custom impression tray. This tray will be better fitted to the size of the mouth and provide a more precise impression result to determine the length, thickness and contour size of the future denture.
We then take a measurement of the joint. We determine the length of the upper and lower teeth as well as the relationship between the two. The artificial teeth must be level with the height of the natural teeth. In some cases where certain natural teeth are worn out, it is possible to compensate with the partial denture to ensure better function. The teeth must fit together and slide against each other easily to allow optimal chewing. Based on these measurements, teeth will be carefully set one by one, taking into account the patient’s anatomy and preferences.
A fitting is required to complete the job. This allows the denturist to check her work, but at the same time, this visit allows the patient a glimpse of the result. During this visit, it is easy to make changes to the positioning of the teeth. With the patient’s approval, the dentures will then be completed permanently.
That being said, the work is not finished when the dentures are completed. The patient has to undergo an adjustment period. During chewing, certain areas of the mouth can become sensitive, even painful. The dentures must be meticulously adjusted at the sensitive areas. Other discomforts can also arise, and the patient must notify the denturist, who can examine and adjust the dentures so that everything works properly.