Partial Dentures

What Is A Partial Denture?

A partial denture is a set of false teeth which replaces one or a few missing teeth. This differs from a complete denture which replaces all of the upper and/or lower teeth. The partial consists of a plastic or metal plate to which false teeth are attached; in some cases metal clasps attach this plate to the existing teeth. A partial denture fills the spaces between existing teeth and prevents them from changing position. Crowns are often placed on some of the natural teeth to serve as anchors for the denture.


Who Would Benefit From The Procedure?

Partial dentures are ideal for patients who still have some teeth, even just a few. The alternative would be to remove the remaining teeth and be fitted with a full denture, but as dentists recommend that healthy teeth should not be removed except in extreme circumstances, partials are extremely common. That said, extraction of existing teeth does occur, but for those who may be considering this option, it should be noted that it can take up to six months for the gums to heal properly after an extraction and there may be further complications, depending on the patient.

Advantages And Disadvantages

There are many advantages to having a single partial denture, which can be used to replace a single tooth.

dentures can now be used to replace one or two missing teeth rather than the whole set

A key benefit of removable dentures is the price point, as it is normally more affordable than other forms of tooth replacement. Removable dentures are less invasive to insert, and this can be a big advantage for patients with multiple missing teeth who may require several to be fitted. It is also a quick procedure, as the denture itself takes just 4-8 hours to be made and even less time to be fitted. Partial dentures can achieve a natural look and be very aesthetically pleasing to patients. As there is no need for surgery, there is no need for anaesthesia, which can be great for elderly patients especially. The hassle-free method can provide them with the dentures they require in a convenient outpatient procedure. This also means there is no damage to surrounding healthy teeth, but there is the risk of this when undergoing fixed dental bridge work.

However, some people find a partial denture to be uncomfortable, as because it is larger than their tooth, it doesn’t feel as natural. These kinds of dentures can also cover the roof of the mouth, potentially affecting speech, and some patients have noted that the denture impairs their ability to taste food. This is because the roof of the mouth – an area that contains taste buds – is covered by the denture’s plastic. Partial dentures also increase the risk of oral infections such as thrush developing, and can potentially increase the build-up of plaque which can lead to gum disease and decay. As the area from which the tooth is missing will continue to shrink, the denture will need to be replaced more often, which can be a hassle for some. You may have to experience some “break-in” time, or a period in which you get used to the feeling of having a partial denture in your mouth.

Continuing a schedule of regular dental check-ups can help you keep on top of your oral health, and ensure there are no issues developing pertaining to the fitting of the partial denture. As with any cosmetic dentistry, there are both pros and cons associated with partial dentures to consider. Discuss your options with your dentist or oral surgeon to determine the best course of action for you.


How Much Do Partial Dentures Cost?

Both partial and complete dentures currently cost * £222.50 under the NHS. This sum includes all necessary treatment, examination, diagnosis and preventative care, as well as more complex associated procedures such as the fitting of crowns. Under the NHS, repairs to dentures are free of charge.

Under private care, dentures cost approximately from £400 to £750 depending on the material from which the false teeth are made and the level of contouring and stippling. This fee includes a custom-made impression tray technique, re-tries and subsequent adjustments as appropriate. Regarding repairs, for a single crack or fracture you would pay around £36, plus £16 for each additional repair to the same denture.


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What Treatment Is Required Before Fitting A Partial Denture?

Some treatment may be necessary before a patient can be fitted with a partial denture. This treatment may take the form of minor oral surgery to ensure the maximum level of comfort. This could involve anything from the extraction of teeth to the removal of excess gum tissue or reshaping of the jawbone. Reshaping of the jawbone is rarely required but simply involves trimming some sharp areas of bone to improve the denture foundation.

The Procedure Itself

At the initial consultation, your dentist will take measurements and impressions of your mouth, then order your denture from a dental technician. It is possible to have a clinical dental technician fit you with partial dentures rather than your dentist, however you would need to see your dentist first, who will give you a treatment plan and a certificate of oral health. This must then be given to the clinical dental technician at a dental laboratory in order for them to treat you.


Aftercare

After receiving your denture, it is essential to look after it properly. On a regular basis, debris should be removed before soaking and the denture should be brushed again afterwards. You should also continue to see your dentist regularly so they can check for any problems, and you should have your denture cleaned by your dentist or hygienist if you notice a build-up of stains or scale.

A denture should last for many years if good care is taken of it, but gums and jawbones eventually shrink which may alter the fit of your denture, meaning it can become loose or worn over time. Mouth sores, infections and problems with eating and speech can occur if poorly fitting or worn dentures are not replaced.

*Cost as of December 2015.

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