Do you have only a few missing teeth? Are the rest of your natural teeth relatively healthy? A removable partial denture might be the right choice for restoring the beauty and functionality of your smile.
Did you know? The number of U.S. adults needing dentures is projected to increase from 33.6 million in 1991 to 37.9 million in 2020, according to research published in The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.
Removable partial dentures, also known as “artificial tooth appliances”, “partial dentures” or “flippers” use gum-colored plastic bases that give the appearance of natural teeth. And because a removable partial denture is custom-designed for your mouth, you’ll feel confident and comfortable wearing it every day.
Read on to discover the benefits of a removable partial denture, what to expect with the procedure, and answers to some of your most pressing questions.
Benefits of Removable Partial Dentures
There are a handful of options for replacing missing teeth. Some of these options include implants, bridges or dentures. While each solution offers its own unique pros and cons, removable partial dentures provide several unique benefits:
Natural appearance. Removable Partial dentures blend seamlessly with the rest of your natural teeth, providing a complete and beautiful smile.
Less Invasive. Removable partial dentures are attached to your teeth in a way that is considered less invasive than other options. Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental will secure your partial denture to your teeth in one of the following ways, depending on your situation:
- Clasps and a metal framework
- Natural looking connectors
- Precision attachments
- Crowns with attachments
- Implant locaters
Cost-effective. Typically, removable partial dentures are lighter on the pocketbook than other options.
Improves mouth function and health. Most patients find that after a couple weeks, removable partial dentures soon make it much easier to comfortably speak and chew. Further, by filling the gap in your mouth, removable partial dentures will help maintain the shape of your face and ease stress in the jaw.
Flexible. Additional teeth can usually be added to your removable partial denture, should you lose more adjacent natural teeth over time.
Tooth Stability. Removable partial dentures can hold remaining teeth in the correct place. This will keep the teeth from incorrectly tipping forward or an opposing arch tooth from “over-erupting”.
What to Expect
Following a consultation with your local Ozark, Missouri dentist, a removable partial denture will be custom-designed for your mouth and specific needs.
As with any new hardware in the mouth, it may take a few days to become accustomed to wearing your removable partial denture; inserting and removing the piece will require practice. Never force the denture into position by biting down, however, as this could result in serious damage to the hardware.
Try to wear your removable partial denture as much as possible those first few days in order to quickly identify areas that may need adjustment. If you encounter any sore areas in your mouth, call your local dentist for an adjustment. Remember, your dentist’s goal is to optimize both the functionality and comfort of your new removable partial denture.
Questions & Answers
Can I eat while wearing removable partial dentures?
Yes. In fact, many people find that eating becomes a more pleasant experience with their removable partial dentures. Ease into eating by starting with soft foods that are cut into pieces. Try to chew on both sides of your mouth to keep even pressure on both sides. Eventually, you should be able to once again enjoy most of the foods you once loved. There are some foods you’ll want to avoid, though, including anything sticky or hard like candies and chewing gum.
Can I sleep with a removable partial denture in my mouth?
Most dentists agree that you should not sleep with your removable partial denture in place. Wearing your removable partial dentures to sleep is not recommended for a few reasons:
- If you’re wearing your removable partial denture to sleep, that means you’re missing the opportunity to properly clean the appliance. Removable partial dentures are designed to be cleaned outside the mouth. Sleeping with your removable partial denture in place provides the perfect environment for bacteria to fester, which could lead to gum inflammation and over time, periodontal disease.
- Your gums need the ability to rest and recover just as much as the rest of your body. Removal of your removable partial denture at night allows the gums to do just that.
- Some people tend to clench their teeth during sleep (often times without even knowing it!). This pressure can cause damage to both your natural teeth and denture.
How should I care for my removable partial denture?
With proper care, your removable partial denture should last approximately 5 to 8 years. Denture care differs from natural tooth care, so make sure to follow these important steps:
- Lightly brush your removable partial denture daily to remove food particles and plaque buildup. Look for a soft-bristled toothbrush; hard-bristle brushes can damage your denture.
- Your local dentist will recommend a professional denture cleaner. Toothpaste is too harsh for use and some will scratch the acrylic.
- Clean your removable partial dentures by moistening the brush and applying the denture cleaner. Brush all surfaces gently to avoid damaging the plastic or bending the attachments.
- It’s important to keep your removable partial denture moist when not in use. Soak your removable partial denture in solution or water overnight. In the morning, make sure to thoroughly rinse the denture before placing back into your mouth.
- Never chew, swallow or gargle with denture cleansers.
At Excel Dental, we’ll recommend the proper method for keeping your removable partial denture in tip-top shape.
My removable partial denture isn’t fitting quite right. Can I fix it myself?
Can you? Yes. Should you? No, and here’s why. Our bones, gum ridges and mouth structure naturally change as we age. As a result, your removable partial denture may need an adjustment over time to ensure optimal fit. If you find yourself with a removable partial denture that suddenly doesn’t feel as comfortable as it used to, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Do-it-yourself kits can damage the hardware beyond repair, costing you a pretty penny for a brand new appliance. Over-the-counter glues often contain harmful chemicals that are not advised for use in or around your mouth. Call your dentist immediately if your partial denture becomes painful, breaks, cracks or chips.
Fulfill Your Smile With Removable Partial Dentures
Are removable partial dentures the right choice for you? Make an appointment with Dr. Tracy Davis or Dr. Nick Matthews at Excel Dental to find out. We’ll partner with you to determine the best solution for optimizing your smile. Find us in Ozark, Missouri—a short 10 minute drive from Springfield—where a full, healthy smile awaits.
Searching for more advice on this topic? Make sure to check out these related posts from our blog:
Springfield, MO – Are you embarrassed by your less than white smile? Smile bigger than ever before by treating yourself to tooth whitening and enter the new year happy to show off those pearly whites.
“There is no reason to be dissatisfied with the color of your teeth,” says Dr. Tracy Davis of Excel Dental. “Tooth whitening is an easy way to correct the color of your teeth, making your smile more beautiful than ever before.”
There are several reasons why a patient may choose tooth bleaching. Perhaps the patient has spots on their teeth due to excessive fluoride intake at the time their teeth were developing. Or perhaps the daily cup of coffee a patient enjoys has left her teeth stained. And sometimes the outer layer of enamel on our teeth just begins to show its wear, resulting in a less than white appearance.
Springfield, MO – Your child’s dentist just told you he found a cavity. But since that tooth is just going to fall out anyway, do you really need to repair it?
“This is a question we hear a lot,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, one of the Ozark dentists at Excel Dental. “”The short answer is yes. Those baby teeth play an important role in your child’s oral health, as well as his or her self-esteem.”
Parents also wonder why the affected baby tooth can’t just be pulled. Dr. Nick Matthews explains why your dentist will tell you no.
“Baby teeth have several important roles, one of which is to guide the placement of permanent teeth,” says Dr. Matthews. “If a baby tooth is removed before it is ready to come out, that can affect how the permanent teeth come in. Those teeth can shift into holes left open by baby teeth that should still be in place, leading to the need for orthodontic work in the future.”
Springfield, MO – There are common habits many of us have that might be doing damage to your pearly whites. If you have any of these habits, the Ozark dentists at Excel Dental encourage you to stop before you wreck your smile.
1. Using your teeth as tools.
If you find yourself unable to open a package, do you move it to your mouth and try to rip it open with your teeth?
“You aren’t alone in this habit, but it’s one you should stop now,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “It can lead to broken teeth, or teeth that chip or crack. Your teeth should only be used for chewing food – never as tools.”
Springfield, MO – The things we eat and drink affect not just the health of our bodies, but the health and look of our smiles, too. So what are the biggest culprits when it comes to staining teeth, and how can we keep our smiles white and beautiful?
“Coffee is the most common culprit for dulling our smiles,” says Dr. Tracy Davis of Excel Dental. “It’s easy to tell someone to avoid drinking coffee to keep from staining their teeth, but for those of us who love our daily cup of joe, that’s much easier said than done! But, there are a lot of other foods and beverages that can affect our smiles.”
Springfield, MO – Have you noticed that your child’s baby teeth seem to be stained? Are discolored teeth a cause for concern? The expert Springfield dentists at Excel Dental explain more.
“There are several reasons why your child’s teeth may appear to be discolored,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, an Ozarks family dentist with Excel Dental. “It is possible for baby teeth to develop cavities, so if you notice discoloration in your child’s teeth, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us. We can examine the teeth to determine if decay is causing the problem, or if it might be due to another issue.”
Springfield, MO – As you age, you’ve probably noticed new health issues creeping up. Issues with your oral health can begin to appear, too, but by understanding issues unique to seniors, you can take better care of your teeth and mouth.
“Senior citizens face a host of unique oral health issues,” says Dr. Nick Matthews, one of the Springfield dentists at Excel Dental. “Our bodies change, and you may once again become susceptible to cavities. In many cases this is because of a condition known as dry mouth.”
Dry mouth doesn’t go hand in hand with aging, but it does go hand in hand with many medications – in fact, there are more than 500 medications that can cause it. And as we age, more health issues begin appearing, so chances are great that you may be prescribed a medication that can lead to dry mouth. If you’re on medication for high blood pressure, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases, pain, or a host of other issues, it’s important to understand possible side effects. It’s also important to share all medications you are currently taking with your dentist. This way, he or she can understand why you may have dry mouth and then properly address it.
Springfield, MO – Taking proper care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy is important. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy increase the risk of developing gum disease, which can then affect the unborn baby. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to low birth weight babies and premature birth.
“If you’re planning to become pregnant, it’s a good idea to schedule a check-up with us,” says Dr. Tracy Davis, Springfield dentist. “That way, we can properly clean your teeth and assess the health of your mouth, and tackle any issues before they might become a bigger problem.”
But once you become pregnant, what should your prenatal dental care look like?
First, it’s always important to inform your dentist if you may be pregnant. This is necessary because there are some dental procedures that should be avoided during certain times of your pregnancy. The first trimester and second half of the third trimester are especially crucial times in fetal development.
“It’s best to schedule check-ups before pregnancy, and then during months four and six,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “This is the safest time in fetal development for us to properly work on your teeth, but if you require certain procedures, we may need to discuss them with your obstetrician before.”
During pregnancy, hormonal changes can bring on pregnancy-induced gingivitis. Bleeding gums can be a normal sign of pregnancy, however, because of the intimate link between periodontal disease and premature birth, bleeding gums should be taken seriously.
Springfield, MO – Are you embarrassed by your less than perfect smile, so you hide it at all costs? Now, you can get a straighter smile by visiting your Springfield dentist. That’s right, the dentists at Excel Dental are certified Invisalign providers.
“Our goal is to provide exceptional care to our patients,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “Part of being cosmetic dentistry specialists is providing all of the options our patients need for beautiful smiles. And Invisalign is a great piece of the puzzle.”
Since it was introduced in the late 90s, Invisalign has revolutionized the way teeth are straightened. Using a series of clear plastic aligners, Invisalign gently guides teeth into their ideal locations. It’s a great solution for people with minor issues, and for adults or teens who’d like to straighten their teeth discreetly.
“What makes Invisalign so wonderful is the customized treatment plans,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “We use digital imagery to precisely map out the proper tooth movement to achieve your perfect smile, and we can even show you what your smile will look like at the end of treatment.”
Springfield, MO – Has your dentist recommended tooth sealants, but you aren’t sure what they are? The Springfield dentists at Excel Dental have all of the information you need.
“Sealants are essentially a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “These back molars are where we most often find decay because they can be harder to reach when brushing and flossing.”
Good brushing and flossing techniques are great at removing food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of your teeth. However, your molars have deep grooves where food particles can get stuck. This can lead to decay and cavities. Sealants help seal those areas, keeping food and plaque from causing damage.
“Sealants should only be applied professionally at a dentist office.” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “At your appointment, we will clean out the grooves on the chewing surface of your molars and place the sealant directly onto your tooth enamel. It bonds to your tooth and hardens, protecting the enamel from the plaque and bacteria that lead to decay.”