What is a Partial Denture?
A Partial Denture is made to replace missing teeth. It is important that some teeth remain to give the denture something to hold on to – called retention. The more teeth the better the retention and stability of the denture, but a very successful partial denture can be made with very little remaining teeth. The partial denture is removable and usually taken out each night during sleep. During the day a partial denture is very discreet and most people would not know you are wearing one. The teeth are made to match your natural teeth both in colour and in shape.
Types of Partial Dentures:
There are three types of Partial Denture that we make in our Practice:
Acrylic Partial Denture:
This denture is made of acrylic resin – which is a little like a heavy duty plastic. The acrylic is pink in colour to match the gums. These are the most affordable of the partial denture range. As they do require a minimal thickness for strength, they can sometimes feel a little thicker to wear, but most people can adapt very rapidly. The denture is held in with what are called clasps – that wrap around the natural teeth to hold in the denture.
Chrome Partial Denture:
This denture is made of cobalt chrome – which is like a heavy duty metal. It is silver in colour but with pink acrylic additions where the gum would normally sit. This is by far the most comfortable of the partial denture range. It is also the strongest, more likely to last longer and resist cracking or ageing. The clasps on this denture are also made from the same metal material, so are far stronger and more retentive.
Ball Retained Partial Denture:
This denture uses either an acrylic partial denture or a chrome partial denture and attaches the denture to the mouth via ball attachments cemented into one or two teeth with root canal treatments. These ball attachments are called precision attachments, and can help remove metal clasps that you may see when you smile. They are also very powerful in holding the partial denture in place.
At Leichhardt Street Dental Practice we make many of this type of partial denture, as the success is excellent and patients have been thrilled with the result. You may have a root treated tooth that is broken or a tooth that requires a root canal treatment. Once this is completed, a post and ball attachment is cemented permanently into the tooth – the ball of which, then attaches to the partial denture. They make the denture very firm and retentive, whilst still able to be removed for cleaning and sleeping.
“If you have a pre-existing denture and break a tooth, rather than remove the tooth and add it to the denture, you can now root treat the root, add the post and ball attachment under the denture with the new tooth replaced above, – no new visible clasps and no surgery.” – Dr Barbara Szylkarski
In many cases we are able to turn a denture from an uncomfortable partial denture that is sore to wear, into a very comfortable partial denture. The following are pictures of a post and ball to support a partial denture. These are sometimes called “over-dentures”
How long will my partial denture last?
The average life of a partial denture is about 8 years. This will depend on how the denture is treated and if it is worn over night or only during the day. Obviously a partial denture will be subject to wear and tear with chewing and speaking. Some of the foods we eat can be acidic and hard which can decrease the denture life.
If there are changes to the teeth and the denture is not adjusted properly, undue forces can be applied to the partial denture that can lead to early breakage, particularly if the partial denture is worn over night in someone who grinds their teeth. But mostly a partial denture will wear very well and give many years of excellent service.