It is very important to replace missing teeth for several reasons
- mastication or chewing ability
- support of remaining teeth (natural or artificial)
Patients without complete dentitions have a very compromised lifestyle. Maintaining the appearance can be an important factor in replacing missing teeth, but equally important is mastication as the chewing effectiveness decreases due to loss of teeth in either of the dentitions such health problems as indigestion, weight loss may arise.
A Partial Denture
Partial dentures replace one or more natural teeth, they improve patient appearance, mastication. Also if the remaining teeth are left unsupported they may drift (tilt or move) or even over-erupt. If the patients remaining teeth are not replaced with a partial denture immediately as the tooth/teeth come out, as the time progresses the teeth will drift and to get a satisfactory result with the view of appearance and function will be difficult to achieve when the patient decides to get the partial dentures in the future. Another point to consider as the remaining natural teeth numbers decrease the stress and wear increases and the likelihood of further tooth loss is very probable.
Therefore as soon as natural teeth come out a partial denture is advisable to maintain appearance and function as a long-term objective.
In consultation with your Dental Prosthetist patients can be advised what are the benefits of different materials and designs partial dentures can present.
Acrylic Partial Dentures
Acrylic partial dentures while may not be viewed as the most comfortable by the patients, they are the most accessible in term of cost and future modifications (repair, reline, tooth addition) to factor in any tooth loss in the future. Retention is usually being facilitated by stainless steel clasps and at times due to aesthetic reasons by clear or tooth coloured retainers.
Cast Metal Partial Dentures
Cast Metal Dentures are viewed by the patients as a more comfortable alternative to acrylic partial dentures, this is due to the fact that they are generally thinner and can be smaller in the mouth. They offer great strength and stability due to the fact they are manufactured out of metal. Because of this strength, the biting forces can be redistributed not only to the gums but also to the teeth in the form of occlusal rests. Retention is facilitated by cast metal retainers (clasps), and depending on the design the can be very unassuming in appearance.
Repairs and relines or addition of teeth in the future is possible in some cases with laser welding, but to be sure a consultation with the Dental Prosthetist is advisable.