Removable Partial Dentures
As was mentioned earlier, and as the name states, removable partial dentures are just that, removable. Depending on the type of material used, they may fit passively around your remaining teeth or clasp quite snugly to one or more of your remaining teeth and can sometimes be challenging to remove. They rest on your gums and/or teeth and as a result you can develop sore spots. Sometimes these sore spots are a result of food having gotten between the partial and your gums as it moves slightly and then pressed into your gums. Other times, it is the partial itself rubbing your gums which is more likely to happen when you first get the partial or much later as your gums and underlying bone slowly change shape and the partial no longer fits the same as it did originally. Partials will stain and build up calculus (tartar) just like your natural teeth do and need to be kept clean as well. Failure to do so can lead to an unsightly teeth and contribute to halitosis (bad breath). The partial itself will not directly damage your remaining teeth, but failure to keep up good home care and regular check-ups can lead to cavities forming on your remaining teeth wherever the partial is up against natural tooth. Partials with a metal framework to them are thinner than all acrylic ones since metal is stronger than the same thickness acrylic. Clasps and rests are part of the framework casting and allow for improved retention and support, the partial is actually partially supported by whatever remaining teeth it is designed to sit on, clasping to those teeth as well. In cases where retention is wanted but you don’t want to show clasps, precision attachments can be built into a crown rather than having clasps go around a tooth. In cases where it is unaffordable for the individual to replace all missing teeth with implants and crowns, a couple of implants can be placed utilizing precision attachments on them and within the partial to retain the partial and have no visible clasps. Remember, the biggest advantage a partial offers is price; it doesn’t matter whether you need one tooth or 12 teeth replaced in an arch, the price will be the same. Keeping even two teeth and having any amount of retention with a partial is better than having none, especially when the alternative is a complete lower denture which has just a narrow ridge to set on with a tongue moving around in the middle of it. A partial can almost always have a tooth added to it, just in case you still haven’t started taking care of them yet and you lose another. It still costs money, but is less expensive than a whole new partial.