Partial dentures are plates of artificial teeth that can replace a small number of missing teeth in one section of the mouth – even if those missing teeth are interspersed with present natural teeth. Traditional partial dentures have artificial teeth attached to a rigid plate, with holes to accommodate natural teeth, that sits down on the gums and secures over the natural teeth on each end with a metal hook.
The traditional partial denture setup isn't the best match for every patient with some opting instead for partial fixed overdentures. What are overdentures and what are the key characteristics of patients well suited for this treatment route?
Desire More Stability than Traditional Dentures
Traditional full dentures have a plate that sits tightly over the gums and jawbone ridge but can shift around while chewing if the fit isn't perfect. Partial dentures offer a stability improvement due to the metal hooks and the presence of natural teeth but the plate can still potentially shift during chewing, which can cause discomfort and abrasions on the soft gum tissue. Fixed partial overdentures take away the possibility of movement.
The partial overdentures snap down onto two or more dental implant roots. Those roots are implanted into the jawbone, which will then heal and fuse around the roots for security. Those roots will hold the implant plate firmly in place so it won't move during chewing and poses no risk for your gum tissue.
Have Healthy Jawbone – Or Will Undergo a Graft
Partial overdentures are a good choice for patients who have healthy, dense jawbone that can easily heal around the metal roots. If the bone isn't healthy enough, you can opt to undergo a bone graft procedure, which involves implanting donor bone in weakened areas then allowing the two bone segments to fuse together.
The graft will increase the treatment time since bone healing takes a matter of months. You would need to undergo two separate bone healing processes: the graft procedure and then the bone healing the metal roots in place. You might consider the long treatment time worth the comfort and security of the fixed partial dentures.
Comfortable Not Removing Dentures
The overdentures are fixed, which means you can't easily remove the partial dentures for sleeping or to clean the dentures. The fixed nature is part of what makes overdentures stable, but some patients might prefer the flexibility of removing dentures and should stick with the non-fixed traditional partial dentures.
Even fixed dentures are removable but that should be left to your dentist. For more information, visit http://www.joerosenbergddspa.net.