A partial denture is designed to fill in the gaps left by one or more missing teeth.
They can be made in one of two ways, with either a plastic base or a metal base. Partial dentures can either be held in by making them a very snug fit to the remaining natural teeth, or by placing one or more clasps on the denture so that it clips onto the natural teeth.
Your dentist will initially take impressions of your mouth. From this, he will make a bespoke tray to take a very accurate impression. At the same time, your dentist will take some measurements to determine what length of teeth and what shape will suit your mouth the best. From this, the dental technician can make a wax trial denture. If you are pleased with the result, the denture can then be finished off and you walk away with a beautiful new smile.
What is the difference between a plastic partial denture and one that contains metal?
Plastic partial dentures are less expensive to make than ones with a metal base. However, they must be designed very carefully to ensure they do not damage or irritate the soft tissues in the mouth.
You can also get flexible plastic dentures. These dentures do not need clasps or attachments to hold them in place as they keep stable by flexing against your natural teeth.
Metal partial dentures are usually from an alloy of cobalt and chromium and they are much stronger than plastic dentures. They are lighter to wear and can be supported on the teeth rather than the tissues, allowing for a much stronger bite. Although the base is metal, they have gum-coloured plastic and natural-looking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than plastic dentures. In order to have a metal denture the teeth and gums must be in very good condition and well looked after.
How do I choose the best type for me?
If you speak to your dentist, you can be guided by them as to what would be most appropriate in your mouth – everybody is individual with different needs. The dentist will take into account the condition of your gums and remaining teeth and let you know what can be done to fill the spaces and maintain the health of the natural teeth. In most cases, in a healthy mouth, a metal-based partial denture gives the best result.
Can I have a bridge fitted straight after having a tooth removed?
For most people, it can take up to 6 months for the gums to heal properly after having a tooth removed. This means that you may need to have a temporary denture for 6 months before the bridge is fitted.
How do I look after my denture?
The general rule is brush, soak, brush. Always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking, to help remove any food debris. The use of an effervescent denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher – always follow the manufacturers’ instructions – then brush the dentures again, as you would your own teeth, being careful not to scrub too hard as this may cause grooves in the surface.
We advise using a denture brush and soap and water to clean your denture, not toothbrush and toothpaste, simply because it can be too abrasive and wear the fit surface of the denture.
Should I take my denture out at night?
We recommend that you always take your dentures out at night to give your tissues a chance to rest. If you remove your dentures, it is important to leave them in water to prevent any warping or cracking of the plastic.