When a patient is missing several, but not all, teeth, partial dentures are a potential solution. Partial dentures are replacement teeth connected to a plastic base that blends in with your gums. Any missing teeth, whether they’re in the front of the mouth or the back, on the upper arch or lower, can be replaced with a partial denture. The three most common types of partial dentures include:
Cast Metal Partial Dentures
Cast metal partial dentures are the most-used option when it comes to partials because they’re strong and they’re built to last many years. While some patients are concerned about the idea of a metal partial, the good news is that the rigid metal frame is covered by plastic that matches the color of your gums. Depending on the location of your partial, however, the clips that connect the metal framework to your remaining teeth may be visible when you talk. Sometimes, these clips can be made with tooth-colored material to make them less noticeable.
Flexible Partial Dentures
While less sturdy than cast metal partial dentures, flexible partial dentures are valued for their comfort and flexibility. These lightweight dentures are made with a natural-looking nylon material. Patients who are allergic to acrylic or who find it difficult to tolerate wearing the more rigid cast metal partials may find flexible partial dentures to be preferable. Another advantage of these dentures over others is that they have a very realistic appearance.
As the name suggests, a tooth flipper is a removable partial denture that can be popped in and out with ease. Dental flippers are most often used as a temporary replacement while you wait for a more permanent solution. Like a flexible partial denture, dental flippers are lightweight, but they also break easily. Flippers are inexpensive, costing one-third to one-quarter less than a cast metal partial denture, so they are commonly used as a placeholder to keep teeth from shifting into the empty space while waiting for dental work to be completed.
Other Options to Think About
Partial dentures aren’t the only option for replacing more than one missing tooth. If the missing teeth are adjacent to each other, a fixed or removable bridge may be a potential solution.
An even better, lifelong solution for replacing missing teeth is dental implants. These replace both the root of the tooth as well as the crown, so they are the only option that can prevent and even reverse bone loss in the jaw. In addition to single tooth implants, implant-supported bridges and dentures can also work to prevent bone loss, but they can be an easier and more economical solution than replacing each individual tooth with its own implant.
Learn More About Partial Dentures
When you schedule a consultation, we’ll go over all of the available options for replacing your missing teeth and work together to find the right one that helps you realize your treatment goals while also staying within your budget. If you’d like to discuss dentures with Dr. Lubliner, contact us at 516-798-0223 to book an appointment.