If you are just missing a few teeth, then only partial dentures are called for. A partial denture, also known as a bridge, fills the gap left by a row of several missing teeth, or may leave intermittent slots for remaining natural teeth. These dentures are extremely versatile and will be custom made for your exact needs.
A partial denture is constructed of a pink acrylic base set with life-like false teeth. The entire bridge is supported by a metal framework. Partial dentures can have either of two modes for attachment; removable or permanent. Let's take a look at both styles.
Removable partial dentures may use metal clasps that attach to remaining natural teeth, often referred to as abutments. A crown is usually added to the abutment teeth to provide the denture with added strength and give a better fit. Another type of clip called a precision attachment may also be used with this denture. Precision attachments generally look better and are nearly invisible when the denture is in place.
Learning to insert your removable partial denture is going to take a little practice. The denture will feel a little awkward at first, but within a few days you should become accustomed quite nicely to it. A well made denture should attach fairly easily and should never require forcing, which might break the clips. Biting down to place your dentures is a no-no, and again, you don't want to risk breaking your brand new denture. Establish good habits in the beginning and your dentures should last longer.
Partial dentures can also be installed permanently, and are generally referred to as fixed dentures. Again, crowns will be installed to the abutment teeth to beef up support. The partial denture may then be bonded directly to the abutment teeth for a secure permanent fit.
Another method of permanently installing partial dentures is the implant method. Titanium rods will be installed directly into the boney ridges of the jaw, either pointing up or down depending on which jaw, and individual teeth are then cemented to each post. The rods can also be installed in the front surface of the gums and a whole denture bridge can then be mounted on the posts. Implants have a great success rate and while more expensive, are becoming very popular due to the great stability and natural look they can provide.
Your new dentures should also make eating easier again. Softer foods are recommended at first until you become used to having the denture in place.
In a short time, your new partial dentures will seem as normal to you as your own natural teeth.