Partial dentures, or bridges, are attached to the teeth to fill in gaps where other teeth are missing. Bridges may be removable or may sit in a fixed position using a crown. Bridges help maintain the appearance of a healthy smile while also keeping the remaining teeth in their proper alignment instead of shifting over time.
There are two types of partial dentures.
Plastic Partial Dentures
These dentures sit on the gums and in certain cases stainless steel wire clasps are required to hold the denture firmly in place. Some movement is experienced whilst eating as the denture sits on the gums and moves with the softness of the gums. Because of this movement sometimes the stainless steel clasps can rub on the natural teeth causing wear and in severe cases the loss of the tooth, naturally we avoid clasps on this type of denture whenever possible.
Metal Chrome Cobalt Dentures
These are cast metal dentures generally considered to be the more permanent partial denture unlike plastic partial dentures are clipped to the natural teeth with clasps and most importantly incorporate rests on the teeth. The clasps hold the denture firm and the rests stop any damaging up and down movement. Chrome Cobalt partial dentures are far superior to plastic partial dentures because they are thinner and the gums stay healthier because the biting force is shared between the gums and the remaining teeth. In certain designs we are able to have an open palate allowing taste and hit and cold detection to be improved.
Clasps and Partial Dentures
As mentioned previously certain cases require to be held in with clasps but there is an alternative to metal clasps. We are able to cast a tooth colored acetyl resin to act as a clasp. This has the advantage of not wearing the tooth that it has clasped as the resin is forgiving to the tooth because it is not only springy but also soft. Another advantage of this type of clasp is that when used towards the front of the mouth because the clasp is colored to match your own tooth color it becomes less obvious to detect unlike the metal clasps, which quite often can be seen.
Maintenance of Partial Dentures
A partial denture can often need more attention than a full denture to maintain the health of your remaining teeth.
Partial dentures can trap food, which will cause decay in your natural teeth, both the denture and your teeth should be brushed after every meal. A badly fitting partial denture can severely damage your gums that are supporting your natural teeth leading to bone loss, mobility and finally the loss of the tooth. If you notice soreness, swelling or bleeding of your gums you must seek help as soon as possible.
When inserting or removing your partial denture never try to force it, always place it in a position with you hands and never bite it into position as you may damage your denture, your teeth or your gums.