Removable Partial Dentures: Should You Consider?

Considering removable partial dentures? Learn all about this easy denture option in this guide

If you have a few missing teeth, you know how important it is that you find a replacement for them. Whether you’ve lost your teeth to gum disease, cavities, decay or even by accident, dentists strongly recommend that you get a replacement as soon as possible. Having something such as partial dentures to fill the gap where your natural teeth were will help prevent further misalignment of your remaining teeth, and allow you to speak, chew and smile with confidence again. 

If you’re considering opting for partial dentures, you probably want to know a little more about them before you discuss the choices available to you with your dentist. One denture option you have is to get removable partial dentures. Curious to see how this type of denture can easily fit into your daily routine? Well you’ve come to the right place, because in this guide, we’re going to discuss:

  • What removable partial dentures are
  • What to expect from removable partial dentures
  • What do removable partial dentures cost?
  • Whether or not you can wear removable partial dentures every day
  • Do removable partial dentures hurt?
  • How to care for removable partial dentures
female dentist looking at a patient with a call to action on the right side saying “find an office”

What are removable partial dentures?

male dentist shaking hands with patient in the office

Get to know a little more about what removable partial dentures are, and what they are not.

When you first discuss your options for finding replacements for your missing teeth with your dentist, chances are they’re going to bring up removable partial dentures. This kind of dental instrument is very popular with people who are missing teeth and looking to get their chewing and speaking power back. They also help prevent further misalignment of their remaining teeth. 

Removable partial dentures are exactly what they sound like, dentures that you can take in and out of your mouth with ease. They are typically made up of a gum-colored plastic base that is created by taking impressions of your mouth and bite. They connect to your surrounding teeth with the help of metal connectors or precision attachments. Your dentist will then cap them with crowns that are customized to mimic the color of your surrounding natural teeth.

Removable partial dentures are typically used to replace three or more teeth that are missing in a row. You can get removable partial dentures for your upper or lower jawline.

Types of removable partial dentures

Although you may already be familiar with the traditional partial denture made of gum-colored plastic, there are two other options available for you to use.

  • Light metal alloy dentures. This kind of partial denture base is made out of a mixture of a light metal alloy and plastic. They are fitted just like traditional plastic dentures, but they are lighter and may prove to be more comfortable, however this option can cost more.
  • Flexible dentures. This option is popular with people who have had difficulty getting their dentures to fit correctly. The flexible partial denture is designed to mold specifically to your mouth. And they can stay in place in your mouth without the use of clasps. 

Removable partial dentures or complete dentures?

Partial dentures are not the same as complete (or full) dentures. Complete dentures are designed to replace an entire upper or lower jaw, and are either designated as conventional or immediate. Conventional dentures are placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth have been pulled, and your mouth has been given enough time to heal. Immediate dentures are added on the same day that your dentist has removed any additional teeth. Because they are placed immediately, this type of complete denture allows you to return to normal life without the need to wait for a mold of an entire set of dentures.

What are some of the benefits of removable partial dentures?

If removable partial dentures sound like something that might be right for you, there are some benefits that you should be aware of:

  • Removable partial dentures are friendly to your budget and can cost less than other options
  • They can give you back the ability to chew, speak and smile with confidence
  • They’re easy to make a part of your daily routine
  • Removable partial dentures can prevent further misalignment of your natural teeth
  • You should be able to eat the foods you love again (except for some items that won’t work well with dentures)

While we think removable partial dentures are a great option, only your dentist can help you decide what’s best for your particular situation. The benefits of removable partial dentures are many. However, there are some disadvantages you should be aware of too.

  • Removable partial dentures can increase the build-up of plaque on your surrounding teeth 
  • Bone loss can occur where your missing teeth are
  • You must remove them at night

How much do removable partial dentures cost?

What can you expect to pay for removable partial dentures?

Removable partial dentures are one of the most affordable options when it comes to replacing your teeth. Check with your local Aspen Dental dentist for price specifics. What you end paying will be determined by a few factors:

  • How many teeth you need for your partial denture. Whether you need three, four or five teeth for your removable partial denture will determine what the cost of it is. Depending on your situation, your dentist will determine how many teeth should be included in your partial.
  • Where you go to have the partial made. Depending on where you live, the cost of the removable partial denture might be higher or lower than other parts of the country.
  • What type of material the removable partial denture is made out of. The kind of material that the partial  denture base and clasps are made out of will also have an effect on the price of your partial denture. 
  • Any additional extractions or office visits. Should your dentist determine that you need additional teeth extracted before you get your removable partial denture, this will also factor into the overall cost. You should also consider that you may need additional adjustments to the removable partial denture afterwards to ensure a proper fit. 

Keeping all this in mind, removable partial dentures are still a budget-friendly way to replace your missing teeth. In order to get the most accurate cost of partial dentures, be sure to speak to your Aspen Dental dentist.

What to expect from your removable partial dentures 

Will you be able to go back to eating and speaking normally with removable partial dentures? Here’s what you can expect.

female dentist giving a high five to a patient in the dentist office

When you first decide to get removable partial dentures, your dentist will take molds of your mouth and of your bite to ensure that the denture will be a good fit. After all, every mouth is different. So, you’ll need a customized solution designed to work with your specific circumstances. These molds will be used to create a model of what your partial denture will look like, which will be used to ensure it fits into the space where your missing teeth are. Your dentist will make any necessary adjustments before the final partial denture is made. Once you go in to get your final removable partial, your dentist will go over how to put it in and take it out, how to clean it, and how to adjust to it being in your mouth.

diagram showing dental care and maintenance tips

One of the frequently asked questions of new removable partial denture wearers is can you go back to eating, chewing and speaking normally? The short answer is yes, you can. When you first get your dentures, and for about two week afterward, you will have to learn to adjust to having them in your mouth. 

Having something new in your mouth will take time to get used to. But after a few weeks, you should go back to speaking and smiling just as you did with your natural teeth. If there are any words you are having trouble saying with your partial dentures, you can make sure to practice those, and rest assured, they will get easier to say over time.

When it comes to eating and chewing with removable partial dentures, it may take a little time to get the hang of it. This is a new experience for you. So, make sure you give yourself a break as you get used to eating the foods you love again. Although your dentist will discuss this with you in detail, there are some tips to be aware of as you navigate eating and chewing with partial dentures:

  • Take things slowly. Although you may want to dive into eating your favorite foods again as soon as your partial dentures are in, try to avoid this. As your mouth, cheeks and tongue get used to having the dentures in your mouth, it’s helpful to eat softer foods or meals that don’t require a lot of chewing. Think soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt and hot cereals. After a few days or a week, you can begin to transition to other foods, such as cooked rice, pasta and baked beans.
  • Avoid certain foods. Whether it’s day one of your partial dentures, or you’ve had them for years, there are certain foods that you should always try and avoid. Stay away from sticky foods, hard foods and tough meats as these can cause excessive chewing and tearing that increase the risk of displacing your dentures. You will also want to be aware of foods that have small seeds or kernels on them that can easily get lodged or stuck in your partial dentures, such as sesame seed rolls. 
  • Small bites are key. While you’re adjusting to eating with your partial dentures, remember to cut your food up into small bites and chew slowly. This will make biting into and chewing your food a lot easier, and prevent your dentures from possibly becoming dislodged or falling out.

After a few weeks of practice, you should be just fine eating the foods (with some exceptions) that you’ve always enjoyed. If you find that you’re still having issues with eating using your removable partial dentures, make sure to tell your dentist. This could be an indication that the dentures are not fitted properly or there is some other adjustment that needs to be made. 

Can you wear removable partial dentures every day?

Should you be wearing your removable partial dentures daily?

mold of partial dentures
Your removable partial dentures are designed to be worn daily. Image courtesy of AEGIS Dental Network.

Once you’ve got your removable partial dentures from your dentist, there will be a time of adjustment as your mouth gets used to them, as we previously discussed. Your dentist may recommend that you wear them constantly for a few days, since this is one of the best ways to determine if any adjustments need to be made. 

If during this time period you notice soreness or pain, make sure to let your dentist know. This could be indicative of poorly-fitted partial dentures that just need to be adjusted. Although it may be a little uncomfortable, if your dentist asks you to keep them in, make sure you do it. You’ll thank yourself in the long run should you happen to need any adjustments at the beginning. 

After this period, your dentist will recommend that you start removing your partial dentures at night while you sleep. This gives your mouth and gums a break, and allows time for your removable partial dentures to soak. You can and should wear your dentures daily, because as your mouth gradually adjusts to them, you’ll find that eating, speaking and smiling with them is much easier. Removable partial dentures are designed to be worn daily, and taken out at night. 

diagram illustrating the top reasons to avoid sleeping in dentures

Do removable partial dentures hurt?

Should you expect your removable dentures to be painful?

You should expect it to take your mouth some time to get used to your partial dentures. After all, you’re introducing an entire new appliance to your mouth, so some discomfort can be expected. If during your adjustment period with your new dentures you’re experiencing pain, consider trying out these remedies.

  • Eat soft foods. As you get used to your partial dentures, it’s important to eat soft foods, and to take small bites. This allows your gums and mouth to start to get used to the feeling and the motions of chewing and eating with your dentures. Keeping your diet to soft foods like soup, mashed vegetables and potatoes, and hot cereal can go a long way in helping you get used to the removable partial dentures.
  • Keep up your oral hygiene. As always, it’s important to ensure you’re keeping up with your oral hygiene. This means brushing and flossing your natural teeth to prevent the build up of bacteria and plaque. You should also be removing your partial dentures at night, cleaning them and soaking them in a denture solution or in water. You should also make it a point to clean your gums and surrounding area when your dentures are removed to keep that space clean and bacteria-free.
  • Use a hot compress. Should you experience any inflammation of the gums as you get used to the partial dentures in your mouth, feel free to use a warm compress. This should help bring the swelling down and help reduce the pain. If the swelling does not seem to be subsiding, consider removing your dentures and allowing the gums to return to normal before putting your partial dentures back in. 
  • Remember to remove your partial dentures. Unless your dentist has specifically requested that you leave your partial dentures in, it’s important to remove them at night. This gives your gums a rest and gives you an opportunity to clean and store the dentures safely.

When should you see your dentist?

If you notice that your swelling won’t go down after using a compress and removing the partial dentures to give the gums time to rest, you may want to call your dentist. If you notice sore spots or even have visible sores, this is probably a good opportunity to see your dentist. Sores indicate that the partial denture is not fitting as it should, and may require an adjustment.

If you’re feeling pain daily, this is not normal and you should contact your dentist. If you don’t, you could risk intensifying bone reabsorption, which will cause even more pain while you eat and speak. Removable partial dentures are not supposed to be painful. Speak to your dentist and they can ensure the fit is adjusted.

How do you care for removable partial dentures?

What’s the best way to care for your removable partial dentures?

diagram illustrating best ways to care for removable dentures

Just like it is important to care for your natural teeth, it is also very crucial that you care for your removable partial dentures correctly. There are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your dentures on a daily basis.

Take care when you clean

Although your partial dentures are strong and stable while they’re in your mouth, you want to make sure you carefully handle them when they are not in your mouth. Even though they can be made of plastic or other strong material, dentures can be surprisingly fragile. When you clean your partial dentures, it’s a good idea to make it a habit to place a towel over the bowl of the sink. That way, if you happen to drop them, you won’t risk cracking or breaking them. You could also opt to fill the sink up with water and plug it in order to get the same protective cover. 

Do not use toothpaste

The toothpaste that you use on your natural teeth is too harsh for your partial dentures. Instead, your dentist might recommend a specific denture cleaner, or you can choose to use a mild hand soap or dishwashing liquid. If you have any specific questions about what type of cleaner you should be using on your partial dentures, just ask your dentist and they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction. 

Brush daily

It’s important to keep your natural teeth healthy, so make sure you are brushing twice a day, flossing and using a mouthwash (when your partial dentures are removed). Make sure to also clean your gums where the partial dentures sit so this area is also free of bacteria. This ensures that you’re caring for your mouth in the best possible way. 

When it comes to your partial dentures, you’ll also want to make sure you’re cleaning those daily as well. You can start by taking your partial dentures out at night, and making sure to brush them thoroughly with a product approved by your dentist. Work to remove bits of food and plaque, which can cause the partial denture to become discolored. Daily cleaning ensures you’re also removing the bacteria that can cause your dentures to develop an unpleasant odor. 

Use a denture brush

While you can also use a soft bristled toothbrush to gently clean your partial dentures, consider picking up a brush that is specifically designed to clean dentures. With a denture brush, the bristles are made to get in all the spaces of your partial denture, making cleaning even easier. 

After brushing, rinse off the partial denture and prepare to place it in storage for the night.

Keep your partial denture moist

After removing and cleaning your partial dentures, it’s essential that you keep them moist overnight. If you do not store your dentures in a denture cleaner or water, it could lose its shape, causing it to no longer fit properly. 

When you put your partial dentures in the next morning, make sure to give them a good rinse before securing them in place and going about your day.

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to removable partial dentures. Everyone’s situation is different. So, make sure you thoroughly discuss your options with your dentist. If you’re interested in an affordable way to get back your chewing ability and have confidence in your smile, then removable partial dentures could be the right choice for you.

*General industry pricing only. See your local Aspen Dental for specific pricing.

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