Partial Dentures

Fill the Gaps

Today's dentures are fit for royalty. That wasn't always the case, however. Dentures weren't fully developed until the 18th century, which is why Queen Elizabeth I had to resort to plugging up gaps in her teeth with cloth.

These days, whether you lose teeth to malnutrition, bad oral habits or trauma, a full or partial denture can fill the gaps.

Complete dentures are used if you're missing teeth in your upper (maxillary) or lower (mandibular) jaws. Partial dentures are used on patients who just have some missing teeth on either jaw.

Types of Partial Dentures

There are two types of partial dentures: fixed and removable. The health of the teeth surrounding the gap is one of the factors that determine what type of partial denture is prescribed for you.

A fixed partial denture is also called a dental implant bridge. A dental implant bridge permanently attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw with a dental crown or under the gum tissue with dental implants.

A removable partial denture is also known as a removable dental bridge. A removable dental bridge fills the gap between two healthy teeth and consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. Removable partial dentures are connected by a metal framework that helps keep them in place.

Whether you and your dentist decide on a fixed or removable partial denture, partial dentures offer several benefits. Partial dentures:

- Make it easier to speak and chew
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Decrease the risk of periodontal disease and resulting gum disease treatment
- Prevent teeth from shifting in your mouth
- Ease the stress of your jaw

How to Care for Partial Dentures

You don't need "The Midas TouchTM" to keep your partial dentures in tip-top shape. Partial dentures, like your natural teeth, just need thorough and regular brushing in order to remove food deposits and dental plaque. Unlike your natural teeth, partial dentures are very delicate and break easily, so it's important to handle them with care.

Other tips on denture dental care:

- Stand over a folded towel or sink while cleaning your dentures.
- Use a brush specailly designed for cleaning dentures.
- Avoid using household cleaners or bleach to clean your dentures.
- Soak your dentures in a denture cleanser when not wearing them.
- If you're unsure about what denture cleanser to use, ask your dentist.