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Section Questions and Answers

Dentures   "False Teeth"   Removable Partial Dentures

  1. What is a removable partial denture?
  2. Can a partial denture improve my appearance?
  3. Will my removable partial denture make me feel good about myself?
  4. How will the dentist assess me for a removable partial denture?
  5. What are the benefits of having a partial denture?
  6. How is a partial denture designed?
  7. Why is the design of a partial denture important?
  8. What are partial dentures made of?
  9. What treatment is needed before partial dentures can be fitted?
  10. What steps are taken when dentures are to be made?
  11. Will my eating and speaking be affected by a partial denture?
  12. Is there an adjustment period before a denture feels comfortable?
  13. Over time will partial dentures need any attention?
  14. How should a denture be cared for?
  15. What role does the dental technician play?

 
1. What is a removable partial denture?

  • A removable partial denture is an appliance that replaces one or several missing teeth.
  • It is attached to the remaining teeth with clasps, and is removable by the wearer.
  • Dentures are made by general dentists or by specialists called Prosthodontists.

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2. Can a removable partial denture improve my appearance?

  • Yes, it can. A partial denture can improve your appearance quite dramatically, particularly when front teeth need to be replaced.

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Before
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With dentures
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Natural looking dentures

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3. Will my removable partial denture make me feel good about myself?

  • Replacing missing or unsightly teeth will improve your appearance and self confidence.
    Physical appearance matters to us. Most of us want to look as good as possible.

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4. How will the dentist assess me for a removable partial denture?

  • The dentist will examine the condition of your teeth and gums, and plan how to replace the missing teeth.
    • It may be advisable to have implants placed in the jaw, for better stability.
    • Teeth of the appropriate shade, shape and colour will then be chosen, to harmonise with your face and smile.

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Before
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Partial denture

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Internal view
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Final denture

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5. What are the benefits of having a partial denture?

  • A denture serves a number of purposes:
    • It provides the pleasure of comfortable eating. This ability is paramount in maintaining good health.
    • It improves your appearance, confidence and smile. This is achieved by restoring the natural contours of the lips, cheeks and face.
    • A denture prevents premature ageing lines and wrinkles developing around the mouth.
    • When loss of teeth has affected speech, a removable partial denture can correct this by closing the spaces left by lost teeth.
    • It helps to maintain the healthy relationship between upper and lower jaws. The correct positioning of the jaws is necessary to prevent jaw joint problems.
    • It also protects the health of the remaining oral tissues.
    • The denture prevents other teeth from drifting into the gaps left by extractions. When teeth drift they open additional spaces between teeth. Food can then pack into the narrow spaces and cause gum irritation and gum disease.
    • Additional teeth can usually be added to a partial denture when some remaining teeth have to be extracted.

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6. How is a partial denture designed?

  • A removable partial denture is designed to rest on the gums and/or palate, as well as on the remaining teeth.
  • It clips onto the teeth by means of metal clasps, which help to hold it firmly in place.
  • The artificial teeth are part of the acrylic and metal base of the denture.

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7. Why is the design of a partial denture important?

  • Removable partial dentures are capable of damaging the gums, teeth and other oral tissues, if they are not well designed.
  • Partial dentures can encourage plaque accumulation, particularly at the junction of the natural teeth and denture. Good design should minimise this.
  • Good design should prevent food from lodging between the remaining natural teeth and the denture, or under the denture.

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8. What are partial dentures made of?

  • The base of the denture is made of acrylic or metal.
    Metal is preferable because it is stronger and easier to keep clean.
  • The gum areas are made of acrylic.
  • The artificial teeth are made of acrylic or porcelain.

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Final denture
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Metal base

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9. What treatment is needed before partial dentures can be fitted?

  • Diseased teeth and gums should be treated before the denture is made.
  • Teeth to which the partial denture will be clasped, may have to be crowned to hold the partial denture more securely.
  • A partial denture rests on the bone, gum and natural teeth. It is therefore necessary to make sure that these foundations are healthy.

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10. What steps are taken when dentures are to be made?

  • Your dentist will discuss the proposed denture, and will tell you what is going to happen.
    • It is important to be satisfied about the condition of the dental ridges, and the remaining teeth. They will be examined.
    • After the initial inspection and consultation, the dentist will take impressions of the upper and lower jaws, and will make records of the jaw relationships.
    • The selection of the teeth for the denture is made.
    • The impressions, the tooth selection and other information are then sent to the dental technician, who will make the denture.
    • The technician will set the teeth into a wax replica of the final denture.
    • A "try-in" will take place, in which the wax denture is placed into the mouth.
    • The selection of the teeth and their appearance is now finally confirmed.
    • After all the adjustments have been made, the dental technician will complete the denture.

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11. Will my eating and speaking be affected by a partial denture?

  • The replacement of missing teeth should make eating easier and more pleasurable.
    • The wearer will initially have to adjust to the presence of the new denture in the mouth.
    • Only soft foods should be eaten to begin with, and both sides of the mouth should be used, to balance the food evenly.
    • Gradually the wearer's confidence will increase.
  • Speech will be even better when there are no longer any gaps between the teeth.
    At first you may have difficulty with pronouncing certain letters, but with practice these difficulties should be overcome.

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12. Is there an adjustment period before a denture feels comfortable?

  • It may take a short time to get used to the partial denture.
  • A new denture may need to be adjusted as it settles in.
    • The bearing down of the denture on the gum over prominent bony areas can create painful sores. A denture ease will relieve this irritation.
    • The supporting teeth can become sensitive if the denture places too much pressure on them.
    • Your dentist will have advised you of these possibilities, and will make the necessary adjustments.
  • Do not make adjustments to a denture yourself. It is a precision-made appliance that needs professional care.
  • Never force the partial denture into position, as the clasps may bend or break.
  • Perseverance with a new denture will pay. The benefits are very rewarding.

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13. Over time will partial dentures need any attention?

  • Dentures can be trouble free for many years. They must, however, be kept clean and adjusted at your regular visits to the dentist.
    • All mouths change naturally with time.
    • Shrinkage of the gums and ridges may lead to excessive pressure being placed on the supporting teeth.
    • When this happens, the denture can be built up to restore the fit of the denture to the gum.
    • This correction will prevent tooth sensitivity, which can become quite painful.
    • Other corrections may involve simple adjustments to the denture.
  • Partial dentures can last for many years, but the time will come when a new denture may need to be considered.

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14. How should a denture be cared for?

  • It is important to remove the stains, plaque and food, that stick to the dentures.
  • Brush all over the denture, not only around the teeth.
  • Use a special denture brush or a toothbrush with medium bristles.
  • Do not hold the denture by the clasps when it is being cleaned, as they can break off.
  • Clean your denture over a basin of cold water or a soft cloth, as it can break if it is dropped on a hard surface.
  • Chemical denture cleaners are available. They include:
    • Denture soaking solutions, which are derived from tablets or powder.
    • Denture creams.
    • Denture tooth pastes.
    • Most of the above cleaners contain abrasives, mild bleaches, anti-bacterial agents and fresheners, in varying combinations.
  • Do not allow partial dentures to dry out, as they may change their shape.
    When out of the mouth they should always be left in water, or in a denture-cleaning or soaking solution. Your dentist will recommend a suitable one.
  • Do not leave dentures in hot water or bleach!

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15. What role does the dental technician play?

  • The dental technician plays a very important part in making this precision appliance.
    • The impressions from the dentist are converted to plaster casts of the teeth and jaws. The casts are precise copies of the teeth, gums and palate.
    • The casts are then attached to an articulator, which simulates lower jaw movement.
    • The "lower jaw" of the articulator is opened and closed after each tooth is placed into the wax.
    • This is to make sure that the upper and lower teeth will meet correctly when they come together.
    • The artificial teeth are positioned into a temporary wax denture and sent back to the dentist.
    • The wax denture can be tested in the mouth for fit and appearance.
    • All final adjustments can now be made. This is called the "try-in" stage.
  • The technician then replaces the wax with an acrylic base material for the final denture. The denture is sculpted to resemble natural gum.

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Impression
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Try-in stage
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Casts on articulator
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Articulator open
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Articulator closed

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