Excel Dental Blog

Removable Partial Dentures For a Full Smile

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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