Missing teeth is a common problem for many people who have had teeth removed because of extensive cavities, gum disease, injuries, and those who may not have developed some of their teeth due to an inherited trait. The three most common ways a dentist can replace one or more missing teeth are a bridge (a series of joined caps), an implant(s), or a removable partial denture. Although a bridge or dental implant(s) has certain advantages when compared to a removable partial denture, in some cases, the removable partial denture may be the best or only choice available.
There are three basic types of partial dentures. The first is a cast removable partial denture, or “cast partial”, and consists of a metal base that has acrylic teeth attached to it. Metal clasps are the hook-like structures that help hold the removable partial denture in place. Although the cast partial can be a bit cumbersome, it has been used successfully for decades in the dental profession. The second type of removable partial denture is the all-acrylic variety, sometimes referred to as an interim (temporary) removable partial denture or a “flipper”. The third type is the "Valplast" partial denture, which is a nylon thermoplastic material that has several advantages over the other two types of partial dentures. The Valplast partial dentures have no metal clasps and are very light weight. The material is translucent, so the patients own gums show through, giving a very natural appearance. Valplast partial dentures can be used to replace many or few missing teeth, and can even be modified to replace a missing tooth on only one side of the mouth, greatly enhancing its comfort. Valplast is an option for people who are allergic to the acrylic found in other types of partial dentures. Another great advantage is its resistance to breakage, as it is surprisingly strong relative its size and weight.
In certain situations where we are replacing an entire arch of missing teeth, we are sometimes able to retain a denture with implants. A denture that is retained and attached to implants is not only easier for the patient, but is healthier too. It keeps the bone healthier, longer and can be much more comfortable in the long run.
In any situation with a missing teeth, Dr. Chawla and Dr. Chow would recommend an option to replace it that would best suit a patient's needs. If you have further questions or would like to learn more about the process of replacing teeth with partials and dentures, please contact our office.