If you’re new to partial dentures, I get it – there’s a lot to learn. As a Camden resident myself who got partial dentures last year, I want to share what I wish I knew beforehand to help you out. This beginner’s guide covers everything from “What are partial dentures?” to costs, maintenance tips, and more.
What are partial dentures?
Simply put, partial dentures are removable appliances that replace missing teeth. They consist of a metal framework that connects to replacement teeth. The base that sits against your gums is made of pink plastic. Partial dentures are also called “partials” for short.
Unlike full dentures that replace all teeth, partial dentures only fill in the gaps where teeth are missing. They attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments.
Why get partial dentures?
There are a few key reasons to consider partial dentures if you’re missing teeth:
- Restore your smile – Partial dentures allow you to fill in gaps in your smile so you can eat, speak, and smile confidently again. No more covering your mouth!
- Prevent other teeth from shifting – When you loose teeth, the surrounding teeth can shift out of place over time. Partial dentures prevent this.
- Improve ability to chew – Your chewing ability diminishes when teeth go missing. Partial dentures restore this ability and allow you to enjoy a wider variety of nutritious foods.
- Look more youthful – Missing teeth can make your face appear sunken. Partial dentures give your face a fuller, more youthful look.
Pros and cons ofbpartial dentures
Pros of partial dentures
- They are less expensive than implants, which are a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. Implants require surgery and multiple visits to the dentist, while partial dentures can be made and inserted in a relatively short time. According to Healthline¹, the average cost of partial dentures ranges from $300 to $5,000, depending on the type and quality of the denture. Implants, on the other hand, can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000 per tooth¹.
- They are easily removable for cleaning and maintenance. You can take them out at night and soak them in a denture cleaner to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup. You can also brush and floss your remaining natural teeth without any obstruction from the denture. This can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- They can be made to closely match the color and shape of your natural teeth, which can improve your appearance and confidence. You can also choose the material and design of your partial denture to suit your preferences and needs. For example, you can opt for a flexible partial denture, which is made of a soft plastic material that can bend and adapt to your mouth. This type of denture can be more comfortable and discreet than a metal partial denture, which has visible clasps that hook onto your teeth.
Cons of partial dentures
- They require frequent adjustments and repairs over time, as your mouth changes and your denture wears out. You may need to visit your dentist regularly to have your denture re-lined, re-based, or fixed if it breaks or cracks. This can add to the cost and inconvenience of having a partial denture.
- They break more easily than permanent solutions, especially if you drop them or bite on hard foods. You should handle your partial denture with care and avoid putting too much pressure on it. You should also avoid eating sticky or chewy foods that can pull on your denture and damage it.
- They need denture adhesives for a secure hold, especially if your denture is loose or ill-fitting. Denture adhesives are products that you apply to your denture to help it stay in place and prevent it from slipping or moving. However, denture adhesives can be messy and inconvenient to use, and they can also interfere with the taste of your food. Moreover, using too much denture adhesive can cause health problems, such as zinc poisoning or oral infections¹.
- They accelerate bone loss in the jaw, which can affect your facial structure and appearance. When you lose teeth, your jawbone starts to shrink and resorb, as it no longer receives stimulation from the tooth roots. Partial dentures do not replace the tooth roots, so they do not prevent bone loss. In fact, they can worsen bone loss by putting pressure on the jawbone and the remaining teeth. This can lead to further tooth loss, denture instability, and changes in your facial features.
- They require remaking over time, as your mouth changes and your denture no longer fits properly. This can happen due to bone loss, tooth loss, weight loss, aging, or other factors. If your denture becomes too loose or uncomfortable, you may need to get a new one or switch to a different option, such as implants or bridges.
What’s the cost for partial dentures in Camden?
The cost for partial dentures varies case by case, but you can expect to pay $600-$2,500 per arch (upper or lower) in the Camden area. Some factors that impact the partial denture cost include:
- Type of materials – Gold alloy vs. acrylic
- Design complexity – More or fewer replacement teeth needed
- Dental office fees – Varies by dentist and location
Many dental insurance plans cover a portion of the partial denture cost. I’d recommend calling your insurance provider to find out your policy’s coverage details.
How to find a quality dentist in Camden for partial dentures
Choosing where to get your partial dentures is an important decision. Here are a few tips:
- Ask friends or neighbors for dentist recommendations. Word-of-mouth is powerful!
- Search online for highly-rated local dentists that offer partials. Read reviews.
- Schedule consultations to get a feel for the dentist’s expertise and bedside manner. Do you feel comfortable?
- Ask about what materials and brands the dentist uses. High-quality materials tend to last longer.
- Consider going to a prosthodontist who specializes in dental prosthetics like partials.
What’s the process of getting partial dentures?
Getting fitted for partial dentures involves a multi-step process over several weeks:
- Initial consultation – The dentist will examine your mouth, take x-rays, and discuss partial denture options.
- Impressions – The dentist makes molds of your mouth to precisely map your unique shape.
- Try-ins – You’ll return to try on the partial dentures before they are finalized to ensure proper fit and comfort.
- Insertion – At your last appointment, the dentist inserts the finished custom partial dentures and makes any final adjustments.
- Follow-ups – You’ll need periodic follow-ups to check that the partials are still fitting well as your mouth naturally changes.
How to care for your new partial dentures
Caring for your partial dentures properly is key to keeping them secure and functional. Be sure to:
- Remove and brush dentures after every meal – Use a soft bristle toothbrush and cool water. Avoid hot water that can warp them.
- Soak dentures in cleaner – Overnight soaks in an ADA-approved cleaner like Polident keeps them fresh.
- Practice proper insertion and removal – Be very gentle to avoid breakage. Always handle over a folded towel.
- Watch what you eat – Avoid overly hard or sticky foods that could loosen or damage partial dentures.
- See your dentist annually – Regular dental checkups and re-linings when needed will add longevity.
- Store partials in water or cleaner when not worn – Keeping them hydrated prevents warping.
Living with partial dentures
Adjusting to partial dentures can take time and practice. At first your speech may be altered, and you’ll need to re-learn how to chew. You may also experience some soreness while your mouth adjusts. Be patient with yourself during this transition. Within a few weeks, your partial dentures will start to feel much more comfortable and natural.
The Finish Line
Getting partial dentures is a big decision that can positively impact your quality of life. With the right information and dental professional on your side, the process doesn’t have to be daunting. Now that you know the partial denture basics from A to Z, you can move forward with confidence.
The keys are finding an experienced dentist you trust, choosing high-quality materials, and caring for your new partials consistently. Be patient during the adjustment period. Before you know it, your partial dentures will feel completely comfortable and give you your smile back.
Partial dentures don’t have to hold you back from speaking, eating, and smiling with confidence. Consult with your dentist to see if they’re the right solution for you! I hope this guide gave you a helpful head start on your partial denture journey.