Both partial and full dentures are great ways to restore oral aesthetics and functions, like eating and speaking. If you are new to denture wear, here are just a few questions you may have.
What are the components of a partial and full denture?
Partial and full dentures both contain artificial teeth made of either porcelain or acrylic, but their parts are different. A partial denture contains a:
- Saddle: This is a metal mesh that is covered in an acrylic and looks like gum tissue, which is what holds your artificial teeth.
- Major connector: This is a bar that passes over the top of your soft palate and holds the framework of the denture on both the right and left side of the mouth.
- Rest: This is a metal projection that sits on one of your natural teeth and gives the partial additional support and makes sure it doesn't slip below/above the gumline and irritate oral tissue.
- Retainer: Like the rest, a retainer gives the denture extra stability; instead of resting on top of a tooth, it partially encircles an abutment tooth.
A full denture contains a:
- Base: This covers the entire roof of your mouth, and like the saddle, it is made of acrylic and sometimes reinforced with a metal framework underneath.
- Flange: This is the part of the denture that covers your gum tissue and holds the artificial teeth.
- Post dam: This is the the part that helps to maintain maxillary retention and suctions the denture in the back of the palate.
Why do you need impressions for your partial or full denture?
Before you are fitted with a full or partial denture, you will need to have impressions taken for the prosthetic. These impressions are taken with edentulous arch trays. Edentulous means "lacking teeth"; and these trays are important because they allow the lab technician to make dentures that will fit snugly and comfortably over your natural gum tissue. It's completely normal to feel some gum soreness during the first few weeks of wear, but a proper impression decreases the likelihood of improper fit and/or pain.
Also, impressions allow your dentist to perform border molding. As the impression tray sits in your mouth, your dentist will use his or her hands to massage your cheeks to make sure beaded wax (on the edge of the tray) conforms to the mucobuccal fold. The mucobuccal fold is the junction where your gum tissue stops on the the upper or lower jaw and meets the inside cheek. This border molding will help to further contour the impression so your final dentures blend seamlessly with your natural facial structure.
How do you care for your partial or full denture?
It's important to brush the retainer, saddle, and rest on your partial denture after cleaning. Since you still have some of your natural teeth, it's important to maintain good oral hygiene—especially on the abutment teeth. These teeth should be flossed of food debris. When you take your partial out for the day, make sure it isn't left in an environment that is too hot, as the acrylic can break down.
If you are being fitted with a full denture, you should also make sure that you aren't storing it in a hot area, as the acrylic can warp. When you clean your denture, make sure to use a nonabrasive denture cleaner and denture brush. You can get these items at a grocery store or from your dentist if you are unsure. Even if you are missing your teeth, it's still important to rinse your gum tissues each morning and night so that debris isn't trapped underneath your dentures.
If you are overwhelmed with the mechanics of your new dentures, the fitting procedures, and/or the required care, contact dentists like those at Sidney Dental Associates Inc.