If you have missing teeth, a removable partial denture is one way to replace them. These are a few of the advantages of a removable partial denture:
- It can be easier for you to chew food.
- You can speak better if your speech has changed due to missing teeth.
- Your cheeks and lips will be supported so your face does not sag and make you look older.
Other reasons to replace missing teeth
When you lose a tooth, the nearby teeth may tilt or drift into the empty space. The teeth in your other jaw may also shift into the space. This can affect your bite and place more stress and wear on your teeth and jaws. You may find it harder to clean teeth that have shifted, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. This is why it’s important to replace missing teeth.
When teeth are lost and not replaced, the face looks older. The lips appear thin and flattened. The chin moves forward and upward and appears pointed.
Also, the mouth loses some of its shape, and the lip line straightens. Pouches become pronounced on either side of the lower jaw. Cracks and sores may form at the corners of the mouth.
How partial dentures work
A removable partial denture usually has replacement teeth attached to a metal or acrylic (plastic) base that matches the color of your gums. Partial dentures often have some form of clasp that attaches to your natural teeth and can easily be taken out of your mouth for cleaning or storing while you sleep.
Your dentist may also recommend crow-fluidns, or “caps,” on your natural teeth to improve the way a removable partial denture fits your mouth.
Your new removable partial denture
It takes practice to put in and take out a removable partial denture. It may feel a bit odd or tight for the first few weeks. But in time, you will get used to it. Never force the denture into place by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps or damage your teeth. Your dentist will show you how to place and remove it.
You should not wear your removable partial denture 24 hours a day
Your dentist may tell you to take out the partial denture at bedtime and put it back in when you wake up. Usually your dentist will make follow-up appointments to look for pressure points or sore spots. They will also adjust your partial denture so that it fits comfortably.
Eating and speaking
When you replace missing teeth, eating is much easier. But, it takes practice.
- Begin by eating soft foods cut into small pieces.
- Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep the pressure even.
- Do not chew gum or eat very sticky or hard foods.
If you have missing teeth, wearing a removable partial denture can help you speak more clearly. If you find that some words are hard to say at first, try reading out loud in front of a mirror. With time and practice, you should be able to speak well.
Placement of a removable partial denture
- Partial denture above gums
- Partial denture in place
- Partial denture in mouth (metal clasps on two teeth are visible)
Caring for your removable partial denture
Like natural teeth, you must take good care of your removable partial denture. Here are some tips:
- Clean your partial denture every day. Take it out of your mouth and rinse off food particles. It’s best to use a special brush made for cleaning dentures, but you can use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Wet a denture brush and put denture cleaner on it. Or, you can use a little bit of liquid dish soap.
- Do not use toothpaste to clean dentures. Some toothpastes have abrasive particles that can damage the denture base and teeth.
- When brushing your partial denture, hold it over a folded towel or a sink filled with cool water. Your partial denture is very delicate and can break easily.
- Keep your partial denture in water or in a specially made partial denture soaking solution when you are not wearing it.
- Rinse your partial denture well after using any denture cleanser. It may contain chemicals that should not go in the mouth.
- Look for denture cleansers with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, a symbol of safety and effectiveness.
- Brush your natural teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice each day. Floss or use another between-the-teeth cleaner once a day.
- Pay extra attention to cleaning the teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you how to properly brush and clean between these teeth.
- Keep your denture away from curious children and pets when you are not wearing it, because damage can occur.
This removable partial denture replaces 6 missing teeth and attaches to the natural teeth with metal clasps. It can be removed for easy care and cleaning.
Adjustments and repairs
As you get older, the fit of your removable partial denture can change. Your jaw bone can shrink, making a space under the denture. Food can get trapped. The denture clasps also may get loose from normal wear.
If your partial denture needs adjusting, do not try to adjust it yourself. You can harm both the denture and your mouth. And, don’t use household glues to repair it because they can contain harmful chemicals.
If your removable partial denture breaks, cracks, or chips, or if one of its teeth become loose, see your dentist as soon as possible. Also, your partial denture may need to be adjusted if you lose one of your supporting natural teeth. Sometimes dentists can make the repairs, often on the same day. Complex repairs can take longer. The sooner you make an appointment, the sooner you can have a well-fitting partial denture again.
Your dentist will tell you how often to schedule dental visits. Regular exams and professional cleanings are very important to keep your smile healthy.