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Dentures and Partial Dentures

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Of all the adults over the age of 65, one quarter (26%) of them have 8 or fewer teeth, and 1 in 6 are missing ALL of their teeth. Severe tooth loss is 50% higher in people with medical conditions like: Diabetes, Asthma, Heart Disease, Emphysema, a Stroke history, Liver Condition and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Severe tooth loss greatly impacts our ability to chew the foods required to maintain a healthy diet, like fruits, vegetables, and meats. When teeth are missing, it is important to replace them with some type of prosthetic tooth-replacement option in order to (1) be able to chew food, (2) smile with confidence and (3) keep the remaining teeth from shifting into the open spaces and drift upward/downward from not having opposing teeth to bite against.

When someone is missing some or all their teeth, full or partial dentures are one option available to replace them.  Dentures and partials have been used for tooth replacement for as far back as we can remember (long before dental implants came onto the scene.) In fact, the first mention of a partial denture dates back to 1711 and full dentures date all the way back to 2500 BC, when they were made from animal teeth!  They are removable, and typically made of acrylic and resin, often with a metal frame for strength.

What are Dentures?

Dentures are removable false teeth that replace an entire arch of teeth. They sit on the gums and you take them in and out to clean them. An upper denture has a full palate, extending to the back of the roof of the mouth, and relies on suction to hold it in place. A lower denture is a horseshoe shaped plate that sits on the lower jaw and is held in place by either using adhesives, or by training yourself to accommodate them by changing the way you use your tongue and cheeks when speaking or eating. Many people who can adapt to wearing an upper denture without too much trouble, find it much more difficult to wear a lower denture. There is nothing to hold them in place other than mechanical manipulation of how you use your tongue and cheek muscles and the limited help of dental adhesives.

An upper removable denture that rests on the roof of the mouth and relies on suction for adhesion

What Are Partial Dentures?

Partial dentures are false teeth used to replace one or more missing teeth. They rest on the gums and are stabilized using clasps that wrap around surrounding natural teeth. Like full dentures, they are taken in and out to be cleaned.

The bar on the front of this partial sits behind the front teeth and isn’t visible, but the clasps that extend toward the front teeth that it wraps around, are.

Indications for Dentures

  • Having a full arch of missing teeth
  • Dental implants have been deemed inappropriate by the patient or doctor because of finances, or a contraindication of surgery (for instance, being medically compromised and unable to undergo surgical procedures)
  • Inevitable damage to vital structures such as the sinus cavities, nerves and blood vessels
  • Oral cancer that has caused a loss of gross intraoral tissue

Indications for Partial Dentures

  • Partial dentures may be recommended if someone has multiple missing teeth. A good candidate would be someone who has multiple missing teeth but still has some healthy teeth to anchor the partial to.
  • Someone who either doesn’t want dental implants or fixed bridges or can’t afford them.
  • If you’ve lost multiple teeth in either your top or your bottom jaw and have difficulty eating, or you’re embarrassed of the gaps in your smile.

Benefits of & Dentures & Partial Dentures

  • They can be made and delivered within a short period of time.
  • They are not invasive, as no surgery is required.
  • They are affordable compared to fixed bridges or dental implants.

Cons of Dentures & Partial Dentures

  • They are not as easy to chew with as fixed bridges or implants.
  • Some people consider the (sometimes) visible clasps a negative thing, for esthetic reasons.
  • Although the clasps around the adjacent teeth do help to keep them in place, the forces put on the partials through active chewing, causes them to shift slightly, and food to get trapped in and around them.
  • An increase of plaque buildup on the abutment teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Over time, the abutment teeth supporting the partial dentures may experience trauma from the excessive forces placed on them by supporting the prosthesis
  • The gums may experience trauma over time as well, due to the pressure and movement of the partial during chewing.
  • The loss of an abutment tooth may require a new partial.
  • They must be removed at night.
  • They do not function as well as a fixed bridge or dental implants.

Types of Dentures

Types of Partial Dentures


In this close-up view, you can see just how the clasps fit over and around the tops of the teeth supporting the partial
  • Cast metal frame partials: These are the most common partials, for good reason. The cast metal frame provides a lot of strength to the acrylic and resin replacement teeth. They usually have clasps around a few teeth for support and stabilization. These clasps are strong but can loosen over time with all the repeated removals and replacements of it in the mouth, but they can be adjusted by your dentist. In some cases, we can use precision attachments instead of clasps to improve esthetics. These are commonly used when the supporting teeth have crowns on them. A special custom attachment is made on both the crowns and on the partial to fit together without being visible, like the metal clasps are. Even with just the metal clasps, though, they are much more durable than most other types of removable partial dentures (except implant-supported partials). They offer a more precise fit and last longer, too.
Similar to the partial featured above, this one also replaces several missing front teeth and has clasps, but notice how compared to the thin bar in the center, this one has to have more bulky acrylic.
  • All acrylic partials (with or without wire clasps): These are the least expensive partials. With just one or a few teeth on them, they are often called “flippers” and are typically considered a temporary placeholder, rather than a definitive solution. Depending on the number of teeth they’re replacing, they may or may not have wire clasps that wrap around adjacent teeth to help hold them in place. These wires are not nearly as strong as the clasps on the cast-metal frame partials. They are very difficult to chew with, and the clasps on them are less effective than the cast metal frame atrial clasps. These are typically used as temporaries.
These partials are soft and flexible, but not very durable
  • Flexible partials: If you’re allergic to acrylic, this may be a good alternative. Many patients who wear them say they’re more comfortable, but more difficult to eat with, because of the flexibility. They’re also more expensive than other partials and need more frequent replacement. These are usually considered an acceptible temporary solution to missing teeth, but not necessarily a good long-term one.
Because we have attachments on the under-side of the partial that snap onto implants to hold it in place, we don’t need the clasps around the teeth
  • Implant supported partials: These partials, like cast metal frame partials, have a cast metal frame for strength, and special attachments built into the underside that snap onto dental implants in the mouth. These are a good option for patients who have difficulty cleaning their mouths thoroughly and want to be able to take them out to clean them better, or for patients who opt not to have fixed implant bridges for one reason or another. These snaps inside the partial have attachments of varying strengths that need to be replaced from time to time. The cost for this is ongoing throughout time, but minimal. Some people have them replaced every 3-4 months, and others, once a year. It really depends on the wear and tear placed on them by means of chewing, grinding or clenching, and how often they’re taken in and out of the mouth.

Caring for Partial Dentures & Dentures

To clean removable partials, you simply remove them from your mouth and brush them with a soft toothbrush and denture toothpaste or denture cleaning tablets. You’ll need to take them out and leave them out each night and store them in water. Keeping them submerged in water is important, otherwise the acrylic can dry out and become brittle and not fit as well and be more likely to break easily. Sleeping in them can cause a number of health issues down the line. Also, you may need periodic adjustments made to them at your dentist’s office.

Common Problems with Partial Dentures & Dentures

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty eating
  • Sore spots
  • Food under the partial
  • Slippage
  • Halitosis
  • Looseness
  • Breakage

Why Choose Dentures and Partial Dentures at the Dental Implant Center?

Patients who have lost all or the majority of their teeth have multiple implant and non-implant dental options at our state-of-the-art facility, including the fabrication of custom fit complete dentures or partial dentures.

  • Complete/full dentures are for people who have lost all of their teeth. Complete dentures replace ALL of your teeth. They provide support for the cheeks and lips, and are designed to function as a full set of teeth. Our dentures are customized to fit securely and look natural. Although we do offer removable (implant supported) dentures as well as fixed implant dentures that remain (fixed/screwed in) in the mouth, you may also opt to choose removable dentures that are not secured by implants.
  • Digital dentures: An acrylic block of the appropriate color is used to custom mill dentures to fit your mouth, precisely. A digital file is then created and kept on file so that if a replacement denture is ever necessary, it is just the matter of a few mouse clicks (to order a replacement) and a couple of days (to ship the prosthesis to the office) and you have a new one.  This is the most current technology in denture fabrication.
  • Partial (removable) dentures are used when some teeth remain but some are missing, and fixed bridges are either not an option. Like complete dentures, patients may opt to have partials secured by dental implants (if there is adequate bone availability), although we do offer removable partials without implants for patients for whom implants are not an option. These are also customized to the patient for a comfortable and confident fit.
  • Loose or ill-fitting dentures are uncomfortable and can cause self-consciousness while eating or talking in social situations. Even if you did not have your (first pair of) dentures made by us, we can create a new set of teeth for you to improve your comfort and confidence levels.
  • Credentials matter. At the Dental Implant Center, all of our doctors are Specialists in Prosthodontics, (the dental Specialty of tooth replacement & restoration) giving you the best chance at long-lasting comfort and appearance of your removable denture or partial denture.
What Our Customers Say

Are Dentures/Partial Dentures Right for Me?

Choosing these treatment options can be a big decision.  We will provide a thorough examination of to help you determine whether or not dentures or partial dentures has the best long-term benefits for you. All your available treatment options will be presented and discussed with you in detail, as well as the duration of treatment options and what you can expect during the process.

What is the cost?

The cost varies greatly depending upon the region and doctor’s training.  Partial dentures and full dentures (without implants) can range from $900-$4,000.

Alternatives to Partial Dentures

Fixed Implant Bridges or Removable Implant Partials

Alternatives to Dentures

Permanent Dentures or Fixed Implant Bridges or Fixed (Implant) Dentures or Removable Implant Dentures (Overdentures)

With our in-house laboratory, we take the extra steps necessary to ensure your final prosthesis is the best it can be.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover the benefits of having your dentures or partial dentures made by Dr. McFadden & our team of Prosthodontic Specialists.

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Gallery of Upper and Lower Removable Partial Dentures

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