A denture is a removable dental appliance designed for the replacement of missing teeth and adjacent tissues. They are made of acrylic resin which supports porcelain or acrylic denture teeth. Complete dentures replace all the teeth in one arch. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. Partial dentures replace one or more missing teeth while being anchored by several remaining support teeth. They are custom made of acrylic resin in combination with a hard metal framework, which supports porcelain or acrylic denture teeth. Partials improve chewing ability, speech, and provide support for the facial musculature.
For teeth that have recently been extracted, a healing time of 8-12 weeks should be observed before beginning construction of the partial. Then the process generally takes a month, involving 3-4 appointments. On the first appointment, impressions are taken to determine the proper fit and jaw position. At the second appointment, a "try-in" is performed to assure the correct fit of the framework and the accuracy of the color, shape and bite of the replacement teeth. On the next visit, the partial is delivered following minor adjustments to fit and bite.
New partial denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their "new teeth". Even the best fitting dental appliance will feel different at first. The patient's speech, salivary flow, facial appearance and chewing ability can all be altered initially. Accommodation to the new partial is typically achieved in several days to a few weeks. Adjustment appointments are common over the first several weeks to fine-tune the bite and fit of the partial.
Any dental appliance is breakable if mistreated. Remove and brush the partial every day over a sink filled with water (this softens the blow if the partial is dropped). Use a brush and cleansers specifically designed for use with dentures. Never use a harsh abrasive which may scratch the surfaces of the partial. Do not attempt to sterilize the partial in boiling water, the dishwasher or microwave, as this can warp the acrylic. Be sure to remove the partial before brushing your natural teeth. When not in the mouth, soak the partial in a cleansing solution or tap water.
It is very important to continue to have regular dental check-ups so that Dr. Mahlin can examine your teeth and oral tissues for signs of change or wear. To maintain an optimal fit, it will be necessary to adjust, reline and/or re-make a partial denture periodically. See Dr. Mahlin for any adjustments you feel may be necessary to your partial. Never attempt to adjust a dental appliance yourself.
If you have any questions regarding removable partial dentures, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.