There are many options for replacing a missing tooth in today's world of modern dentistry. From implants to bridges to partial dentures, there are options that can work for many unique situations. For those looking for an option that does not require any type of invasive procedure and is completely removable, a partial denture is a consideration. It can be used to replace one or more missing teeth and can transform a patient's smile and chewing function.
Partial denture overview
A partial denture is a removable oral prosthesis that the patient can put in and remove as needed. Unlike a full denture, it only replaces the teeth a patient is already missing. It does not require any invasive treatment, and getting one is usually as simple as taking a mold of the teeth. It is sometimes the most economical option for tooth replacement as well and can usually be fabricated at a dental laboratory within a few weeks.
How a partial denture replaces teeth
A partial denture uses clasps that attach to the patient's existing teeth to fill the space of a missing tooth. It can replace front or back teeth. In the past, the clasps were exclusively made of metal, but depending on the patient's needs, acrylic clasps can often be used now. The clasps can be adjusted by a dentist as needed if the patient feels the appliance is too tight or loose.
Benefits of replacing teeth
A missing tooth does not just leave a gap in the patient's smile; it can also affect other teeth and overall chewing function. Adjacent teeth can drift into the space where the missing tooth once was, or the tooth from the opposite arch can erupt out of line when there is not an opposing tooth to chew against. This can cause major orthodontic problems for a patient and eventually affect the patient's bite. If a patient is missing molar teeth, chewing function is greatly reduced, and missing front teeth can affect biting into certain foods. Missing front teeth may also cause the patient to feel self-conscious when smiling or talking. A partial denture can help increase chewing power while preventing teeth from drifting out of line; it is also replace teeth for aesthetic purposes.
How to care for a partial denture
Because a partial denture is a removable appliance, it must be cared for each day. The patient should remove it before bed and let it soak in a denture cleaning solution overnight. Any plaque or food debris can be brushed away with a toothbrush. The patient must also be diligent about keeping the anchor teeth clean because plaque can accumulate on the clasps and lead to tooth decay or gum inflammation.
While there are many replacement options for a missing tooth, a partial denture is a popular one because of its non-invasiveness and simplicity of use. Many patients find an increase in satisfaction when eating and smiling from this replacement option, and by following some easy care instructions, patients can benefit from this appliance for many years.
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