Partial Dentures & Repairs

Your teeth are an essential gift of nature. We enjoy the pleasure of eating delicious foods, laughing, and engaging in conversations that make us smile freely throughout the day.  Having healthy teeth and gums positively affects one’s overall general health and well-being. However, unfortunate events can happen that result in losing teeth. These events may include the need for extraction(s), accident, disease, or a poor oral health care routine.

When dentistry was not advanced, a variety of “solutions” to replace or fill missing gaps where used.  It was believed that Queen Elizabeth I used cloth to plug the gaps in her teeth. Archaeologists have discovered ancient skulls dating from roughly 1350 years ago where teeth had been replaced by many different types of materials ranging from jade to seashells to carved stones!

Flash forward to today, where the doctors at Rolling Hills Dental use the latest advances to replace missing teeth. Whether a patient has lost one or many of their natural teeth, dentures, or artificial teeth can help restore a patient’s ability to chew and eat, restore lost smiles, maintain the contours of the face, check the risk of gum disease, and prevent teeth from shifting.

Replacement for Missing Teeth

Partials are used when the patient is missing just one tooth or a few teeth in a row. The required number of artificial teeth are built on a metallic framework which fills the gap.

Alternatively, the base can also be made of gum colored plastic, which may even be flexible. They get support from the neighboring healthy teeth, either through wire clasps, or by attachment to crowns on the support teeth. When wire clasps are used, the denture is removable by the patient and can be reinserted after cleaning, rinsing, etc.

Partial Dentures vs. Traditional Dentures

Partial and full dentures serve different needs. Here are the major differences.

  • Traditional full dentures are used when the patient has lost most of the teeth in a jaw.
  • It will replace two to three consecutive teeth in a jaw.
  • Partials have the advantage of retaining the existing natural teeth. Only missing teeth are replaced. Full dentures will remove any existing teeth in the jaw.
  • Partials can be removable or fixed. In the latter case those are called bridges. Dental bridges can also be supported on implants and are termed as implant-supported bridges. Full dentures are normally removable.
  • Retention and stability is significantly greater than the traditional ones, since they gain support from the adjacent natural teeth as well as the oral soft tissues and jawbone. On the other hand, traditional dentures are solely dependent upon soft tissues and jawbone for their retention.

Type of Material

Different types of partial dentures are available using a variety of types and materials. You and your dentist will together decide which are most comfortable, most esthetic and fit your price range. You can select from the following types.

  • Cast Metal Removable Partial Denture – This is the most common type. One of the benefits is their good strength and durability. Attachment with the support teeth is via metallic wire clasps, but more aesthetically pleasing.  These can last many years if taken care of properly.
  • Acrylic Removable Partial Denture – Also called a “flipper,” it is the least expensive form. The acrylic removable partial is considered inferior to a cast metal partial. The reason is that the acrylic base must be thick and bulky to minimize the risks for breakage. It is attached to the support teeth with metal clasps, which can be visible during talking and smiling. Generally, the flipper is a temporary solution, while the actual restoration is being prepared.
  • Flexible Partial Denture – The flexible partial is convenient for those who are uncomfortable with the rigid base of the cast metal or acrylic. The base is thin and made of heat sensitive and flexible nylon material. The clasps are made of thin gum colored wires which go into spaces between existing teeth. Thus, it is very comfortable and looks good. These are normally for temporary use.
  • Fixed Bridge – A fixed bridge offers an excellent restoration solution for someone who needs one or two teeth. It consists of artificial teeth with a crown on either side which fits onto healthy teeth for support. The teeth selected for crowns must be trimmed a little to accommodate the thickness of the crown. As the name suggests, it is a permanent fixture. It is brushed and flossed just like normal teeth, and the space underneath the bridge must also be cleaned. This does increase chances of sensitivity in those teeth. All the above descriptions are primarily for front teeth partials. Where partials involving back molars are required, support may be available only on one side, and a cantilever bridge may have to be used.
  • Implant-Supported Fixed Bridge – An implant-supported bridge is similar to a regular dental bridge, but it is supported by implants and not by natural teeth. In most cases, when an implant-supported bridge is used, one implant is placed in the jawbone for each missing tooth. The crowns are connected to each other to form one piece.The number of replacement teeth is not limited to two or three. With sufficient number of implants screwed into the jaw bone at well calculated locations and angulations, a full arch or full mouth restoration can be made which can be be very aesthetically pleasing.The implant supported prosthesis is a permanent solution, free of the limitations of the conventional dentures. For this reason, implant supported bridges and full dentures are becoming very popular.

You must be wondering about which dentures are most comfortable? At Rolling Hills Dental, we recommend the implant supported removable or fixed ones, since they are extremely durable, comfortable and look and feel like your own natural teeth. However, your dentist is the best person to decide which type of denture is suitable for you.

Palos Verdes, Why Experience and Not Necessarily Low Cost Matters?

If you are looking for dentures for your missing teeth, answer this question to yourself. What happens if a person pays for an expensive aircraft to fly him, but hires an inexperienced pilot? Would you ever do such a thing? Getting a set of artificial teeth made by an inexperienced dentist may not have as drastic a prognosis, but inexperience can cause continual long time discomfort, and even social embarrassment.

Getting a beautiful new smile with good functionality in chewing and speaking is very important, and it is very important to look for a qualified and experienced dentist with a solid reputation who will be able to replace your teeth without requiring major surgeries and teeth extractions. An unqualified dentist could not only waste your money, he could also leave you with a permanent source of “pain in the teeth” and a smile that you may not like to show.

One of the best practices in South Bay, Rolling Hills Dental Group dentists prides themselves on providing painless dentistry using the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art technology. The doctors can transform your smile into the beautiful, bright smile that you have always dreamed about. We have several choices available, cosmetic and restorative dental work and our dental care team will help you determine which one will work the best in transforming your smile while improving your overall health and well-being. Our Office is located in Palos Verdes, CA – near Bristol Farms.

Need Complete/Full Dentures? Read here!