The Most Common Type of Partial Denture
Many people who are missing teeth have Partial Dentures to help fill in the gaps left behind by one or more natural teeth. This helps to maintain the shape of your face and can make it easier for you to speak and eat normally. Partial dentures can be made to look like your own natural teeth and gums so they are indistinguishable when you smile. There are several factors to consider when choosing a partial denture including cost, comfort and aesthetics as well as the health of your surrounding teeth.
Partial Dentures are a great option for patients who have gaps in their front teeth that make them feel self-conscious about smiling or talking to other people. They also can protect the nearby natural teeth from shifting into those gaps, which can cause problems with the bite (occlusion) and may even lead to a need for more invasive dental procedures down the road.
There are many types of partial dentures available and it is important to consult your dentist about the best option for you. Typically, the choice will be determined by how much you are willing to spend on your denture and your preferences regarding its appearance, as well as whether you have any allergies to acrylic resin or metals that may dictate what type of partial you can have made.
Traditionally, a partial is created with an acrylic base that is connected to your remaining natural teeth by using clasps. This can be a very comfortable and functional way to replace missing teeth but is often less aesthetically pleasing than other options. In addition, clasps can be unsightly if they are visible when you smile or talk.
Another option is a cast metal partial which uses a framework of metallic material, usually a cobalt-chrome alloy, to stay in place by attaching to your natural teeth with metal clasps. This can be more secure than an acrylic partial, but can also be more uncomfortable for some patients because the metal framework is a lot thicker and bulkier.
Valplast is a flexible plastic that offers an alternative to both acrylic and cast metal partials. It is thin and heat sensitive so it can adapt to the gum line of the existing teeth and is more comfortable than either of these other options, according to a report in the Journal of Clinical Diagnostic Research. However, it is not as durable as an acrylic or cast metal partial and can be more susceptible to breaking.
If you decide on a Valplast flexible partial, your dentist will construct it in a single visit at participating practices. It is a more attractive alternative to acrylic and can be more affordable than a cast metal partial. It is not as durable, however, and it can be prone to cracking and staining.
A fixed bridge or dental implant are more invasive and expensive forms of tooth replacement than a partial denture, but they also offer better longevity and can look and feel more like your own natural teeth. It is important to remember, though, that dental insurance policies have a yearly limit on the amount of dental work they cover.