Removable Partial Dentures (RPD)
If you are missing a few teeth in either your upper or lower arch, then an economical way to replace these teeth is with a partial denture.  A partial denture is a removable prosthetic appliance that replaces one or even several teeth in either the upper or lower arch.  Partials come in a variety of styles and materials that are custom fitted for your exact needs.

A partial denture has three major components: a base that sits on your gums and provides stability, the lifelike false teeth that replace the teeth you have lost, and clasps that wrap around your natural teeth and help hold the partial denture in place.  Here are some of the benefits of all types of Removable Partial Dentures in Farmersville and Van Alstyne, Texas:

  • Replace multiple teeth economically
  • Improve chewing
  • Improve speech
  • Restore your smile
  • Prevent the remaining teeth from “drifting” after an extraction

Metal-Framework Partial Denture
A metal framework partial denture uses metal in its base to provide strength and stability.  In general, the metal portion consists of connectors, rest stops, and clasps.  The metal frame is mostly covered by the pink or gum-colored plastic and the lifelike false teeth, but the metal clasps that hold on to your natural teeth are visible.  In my opinion, here are the advantages and disadvantages of a metal framework partial:

Advantages

  •  Typically, metal framework partials are stronger and less likely to break than other partial types
  • The base can be thinner because of the strength of the metal.  Thinner bases are less bulky and are usually more comfortable.
  • Metal framework partials feel firmer when biting on harder foods. Patients who like whole food diets that include lots of nuts and raw vegetables will probably like the feel of a metal framework better than other partial types.
  • I find that patients who wear metal framework partials complain less about their gums being pinched and rubbed raw.  This is mostly due to the fact that this type of partial doesn’t just rely on the gums for support; it also utilizes your natural teeth to support the partial, and therefore your gums experience fewer direct forces that irritate when chewing.

Disadvantages

  • Higher cost than other partial types due to precious metals being used.
  • Metal claps can often be seen.
  • Longer time to fabricate than other partial types.
  • The remaining natural teeth typically need more alterations to accommodate a metal framework partial; sometimes this may increase treatment cost and time.

Metal-Free or Acrylic Partial Denture
An acrylic partial usually consists of lifelike false teeth set in pink or gum-colored acrylic resin. One or more plastic (in some cases metal wire) clasps that are embedded in the pink gum-colored base, wrap around your natural teeth to assist in retention of the partial denture.  In my opinion, here are the advantages and disadvantages of metal-free acrylic partial dentures:

Advantages

  • Lower cost than a metal framework partial.
  • In most cases, the teeth do not need to be altered to accommodate an acrylic partial like they do for a metal framework partial.
  • Less time is needed to fabricate it.
  • Metal clasps can be avoided, which makes the acrylic partial more aesthetically pleasing.

Disadvantages

  •  They are less durable.
  •  Typically, these partials cause more gingival irritation and sore spots.
  •  The acrylic partials lack the strength of metal; to counter this, the acrylic base is much     thicker. Thicker bases are bulkier, which makes them less comfortable.
  •  Acrylic is not as firm as metal; therefore, the partial flexes when the patient is chewing, and moves around much more than metal framework partials.

Traditionally, acrylic partial dentures are used as a transitional or temporary solution.  Acrylic partials are often made before a patient has teeth extracted.  The partial is then delivered immediately after the teeth are extracted and it’s worn for a few months.  After the extraction sites have completely healed, a metal framework partial, implant, or bridge can be placed.  Although acrylic partials were traditionally made to serve as temporary fixes, today’s materials can provide patients with a dependable and cost-effective way to replace multiple missing teeth.

Using your new partial denture
Learning to insert your removable metal framework or acrylic partial is going to take a little practice.  The partial will feel a little awkward at first, but within a few days you should become accustomed quite nicely to putting it in and taking it out.  A well-made partial should attach fairly easily and should never require forcing.  You should never have to force it in, or bite down to force it into place. This could break the clasps, or even the teeth that support and hold the partial.

Your new partials should make eating easier again.  Until you become used to having the partial in place, softer foods are recommended.  In a short time, your new partial dentures will seem as normal to you as your own natural teeth.  Establish good habits in the beginning, and your partial should last for many years.

What are the steps in making a partial denture?

  • Initial impression: An initial impression is taken of the upper and lower arches, using stock trays and a low detail impression material.  These are used to make a model of the remaining teeth, gums, and jaw so that a custom tray can be fabricated.
  • Final impression: The custom tray that was made from the initial impression is loaded with a high detail impression material. Then, an impression of the arch for the partial is taken.  This makes a detailed model of that arch, enabling the denturist (someone who makes dentures and partials) to make the best possible fitting base plate or metal framework.  This is important because this is the part that sits against your gums and teeth, and provides the partial’s stability.
  • Wax-Rim Bite Registration: Using the partial base plate or metal framework, the denturist adds a wax-rim in the shape of a U. The wax-rim is where the future teeth will be placed.  The dentist puts the wax-rim in your mouth and has you bite carefully.  This registers how you bite and provides important information about how your teeth and jaw align.  At this visit, you and the dentist choose the size, shape, and color of the future life-like false teeth, which the denturist will place in the wax-rim.
  • Teeth try-in wax: The teeth that were chosen by you and the dentist have now been installed in the wax-rim base plate or metal framework.  During this visit, you have a chance to approve the look of your teeth and the dentist checks your bite and other critical points.  If both parties are happy, the partial is sent off to be processed and finished.
  • Partial delivery: At this visit you finally get your finished partial.  The dentist checks the fit and function and makes any needed adjustments.
  • Partial adjustments: After delivery of your partial, it’s typical to need three to five adjustments over a period of time.  A few reasons for adjustments could be if the partial is causing a sore spot because it’s digging into your gum tissue, or if your bite feels uneven.  In rare occasions, you may not need an adjustment or you may require more than five.

What other options do I have besides a partial denture?
In some cases, a fixed partial denture is a great option. This is a partial that cannot be removed from your mouth and stays in place permanently. The two types we offer at Harvest Dental are a fixed dental bridge, and a fixed implant-supported bridge. You may call us at 469-812-7100 to arrange your visit with Drs. Horsley and Walker and learn if partial dentures are right for you.