Sometimes you want to hold onto your natural teeth as long as possible. Maybe you’ve lost some of your teeth or some are too far gone — that’s where partial dentures come in handy.
What Is A Partial Denture?
If you have one or more natural teeth remaining in either the upper or lower jaw, you can get a removable partial denture (or bridge).
This is when your dentists inserts replacement teeth that are connected to a gum-colored plastic base. You can replace front, back, upper and lower teeth with partial dentures.
Often, there is a metal frame involved that holds the dentures in place while in your mouth or clasps that attach to the adjacent crowns. It all depends on the type of partial denture your dentist recommends. We’ll take a look at those next.
Different Types Of Partial Dentures
There are a few main partial denture types you can choose from. And each one is meant for different situations, whether you need a bottom (mandibular) partial denture, an top (maxillary) partial denture, or both.
Cast Metal Partial Dentures
A cast metal partial denture involves a metal framework that attaches by way of clasps connected to crowns. The metal frame is obviously not visible (the gum-colored acrylic plastic covers it), but when you smile, the clasps may be visible.
This acrylic-based partial denture is often considered the gold standard of partial replacements, mainly because they’re strong, sturdy, and long-lasting. Every other partial denture is compared to this one.
Flexible Partial Dentures
Flexible partial dentures are named appropriately. On top of being very flexible, they’re lightweight and comfortable.
After a laboratory has constructed the denture out of realistic-looking nylon material, your dentist can easily insert the piece into your mouth. Typically, the dentist won’t need to alter any of your natural teeth. And after the procedure, most patients become accustomed to their replacement very quickly, thanks to the thinness and comfort of the denture.
A dental flipper is another type of removable partial denture, mainly used as a temporary stand-in while your dentist orders a more long-term replacement. It’s a great partial denture option for replacing one tooth or more.
The benefit of using a tooth flipper in the interim of getting a new denture is that it can help diminish bone loss in the mouth and tooth movement as the gums heal.
Although these replacements are cheap and convenient, their quality usually matches their low price. They’re thin, so they can easily break if you drop them.
Fortunately, it’s only a temporary fix until the final denture is ready.
Partial Dentures Pictures
The Cost Of Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are not always covered by insurance, so it’s good to know how much they may cost out of pocket.
A common situation is that insurance benefits include payment for half of the cost of a partial payment after the policy’s deductible is paid (if it has one). The best way to find out what your insurance will cover is to contact your insurance provider directly. Most discount dental plans give huge discounts for partial dentures, so it’s worth taking a closer look.
But just to give you an idea of what the total cost of a partial denture is, we’ve put together this table showing you the price ranges of each of these types of removable partial dentures.
|Type Of Partial Denture||Low End Of Price Range||High End Of Price Range|
|Cast Metal Partial Dentures||$935||$1,975|
|Flexible Partial Dentures||$1,075||$1,500|
Obviously, these ranges will depend on what your dentist charges, where you live, and many other factors. The point of this chart is to give you an idea of the cost you can expect for a partial denture.
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Partial Denture Questions And Problems
You may have lots of questions about removable partial dentures (and you should – it’s your new set of false teeth, after all). So in this section, we’ll try to answer the most frequently asked questions and cover the common partial denture problems.
In all of these cases, it’s best to consult your doctor if you’re not sure about something.
Is it okay to sleep with partial dentures in your mouth?
It’s really not a good idea to sleep with removable dentures in your mouth. It’s best to take them out at night, clean them, and place them in a denture-safe solution.
If you regularly sleep with them in, you’re more likely to develop tongue and denture plaque, inflammation of the gums, or thrush.
Is it okay to eat while wearing a partial denture?
Yes, you need to eat and partial dentures are built with that expectation. At first, it may be best if you start with softer foods and even cut your food into small pieces. And sticky or hard foods and candies — like gum — are not good for removable partial dentures.
How do I remove my partial denture?
It’s simple. Here’s a quick step-by-step process:
- First, fill your sink with warm water, just in case you drop the dentures. That way, they’ll float in the water instead of potentially breaking in the sink bowl.
- You can then rinse your mouth with alcohol-free mouthwash or warm water.
- To remove either your upper or lower partial denture, place your thumb and index finger on the plastic or metal sections of the denture, making sure to avoid handling the clasps.
- Gently pull the denture out of your mouth in the path in which they were inserted. Be gentle
Never use any object but your fingers.
How do I clean my partial dentures?
Here’s how to clean your partial dentures:
- After you’ve followed the above steps for carefully removing your dentures, you can begin the cleaning process.
- Rinse your dentures under warm water (not hot or boiling) after each meal
- Brush them daily with a soft toothbrush or denture brush
- While brushing, use warm water, soap, or denture paste (not regular toothpaste – it’s too abrasive for dentures)
- Soak your dentures in water, possibly with denture solution (see your manufacturer’s instructions) – don’t use alcohol-based solutions as this can discolore the acrylic
- After soaking, rinse thoroughly under warm water
Can you make your own partial dentures at home?
Technically, yes you can. You can definitely buy a denture-making kit online, but be cautious and conscientious. And remember, anything a dentists gives you will be higher quality than what you can make at home.
I have pain while wearing partial dentures
This is a common problem with all denture wearers, so you’re not alone. Here are a few quick tips on what you can do to relieve denture pain:
- Talk with your dentist and discuss a solution
- Eat soft foods cut into small pieces
- Remove dentures every night before bed and clean them daily
- Use denture adhesive to help the replacement fit better
- Use an over-the-counter denture relief cream or gel
My partial dentures don’t fit right
The best option is to meet with your dentist to find a solution. In the interim, you can follow the steps for relieving denture pain, if applicable.
After taking in all of this info, you should be familiar with Cast Metal Partial Dentures, Flexible Partial Dentures, and Tooth Flippers. Now you have an idea of how to budget for a set of partial dentures, and you didn’t even have to talk with your insurance company or dentist!