Partial dentures are removable dental appliances that are used to replace one or more missing teeth. They consist of artificial teeth attached to a base that matches the color of the gums. This design helps to restore the appearance of a complete smile while improving your chewing ability.
Traditional detachable partial dentures are usually secured with clasps that wrap around healthy teeth known as “abutment teeth” in order to fill in a gap with one or more missing teeth. The clasps can be constructed of metal, often as part of a metal structure that runs the entire length of the piece, or of resin material that is less noticeable.
You can achieve even distribution of biting pressures, prevent damage to your gums and natural teeth, and maintain the most natural-looking appearance and function, by getting a partial that fits perfectly.
Despite these benefits, there are a few shortcomings that you have to overcome in order to enjoy your tooth replacements:
12 Disadvantages of partial dentures
1. Impact on Speech and Pronunciation
Wearing partial dentures can initially affect speech and pronunciation. The presence of the appliance in the mouth may require some adjustment, leading to temporary difficulties in articulating certain sounds. However, with practice and time, most individuals adapt and regain their natural speech patterns.
2. Challenges in Chewing and Eating
Partial dentures may present challenges when it comes to chewing and eating certain foods. The artificial teeth of the partial denture may not provide the same biting force and stability as natural teeth. It can take some time to adjust to chewing with the dentures and certain hard or sticky foods may need to be avoided to prevent dislodging or damaging the denture.
3. Discomfort and Sensitivity
Some individuals may experience discomfort or sensitivity when wearing partial dentures. The presence of the appliance in the mouth can cause sore spots in the gums or irritation of surrounding soft tissues (cheeks, tongue, lips), especially during the initial adjustment period. It is important to communicate any discomfort to the dentist, who can make necessary adjustments to improve comfort.
4. Need for Regular Removal and Cleaning
Partial dentures require regular removal for cleaning and maintenance. It is essential to establish a routine of removing the dentures at night to clean them properly. This includes brushing the dentures with a soft toothbrush and using appropriate denture cleaners to remove plaque and bacteria.
5. Difficulty in Proper Cleaning and Hygiene
Proper cleaning and hygiene of partial dentures can be challenging. The intricate design and small spaces between the artificial teeth require thorough cleaning to prevent plaque buildup and the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. It is recommended to seek guidance from the dentist on effective cleaning techniques and the use of specialized tools for cleaning the dentures.
6. Risk of Damage or Loss
Partial dentures can be susceptible to damage or loss if mishandled. Dropping the dentures or applying excessive force can cause them to break or become misaligned. Additionally, if the dentures are not properly stored when not in use, there is a risk of misplacement or accidental damage. Proper care and handling are essential to maintain the longevity and functionality of the partial dentures.
7. Potential Damage to Supporting Teeth and Gums
The clasps or attachments used to secure partial dentures to the abutment teeth may exert pressure on these teeth, potentially leading to enamel wear or gum irritation. Moreover, the partial might cause trauma to surrounding gums due to constantly removing and wearing them. Regular dental check-ups are necessary to monitor the condition of the supporting teeth and ensure they remain healthy.
8. Risk of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Partial dentures can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease if proper denture oral hygiene practices are not followed. Plaque accumulation around the abutment teeth, which are covered by the clasps, can contribute to the development of dental caries and periodontal issues. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health.
9. Changes in Bone Structure and Alignment
Partial dentures do not prevent the loss of underlying bone tissue at the sites of missing teeth. Over time, the bone may undergo resorption, potentially affecting the overall stability of the remaining teeth and the facial structure. Regular dental consultations can help monitor any changes and address potential issues early on.
10. Self-Consciousness and Self-Esteem
Wearing partial dentures can lead to self-consciousness and a potential impact on self-esteem. Individuals may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about the presence of the appliance, particularly in social or intimate settings, whereby you have to take them out at the end of the day. It is important to address these concerns and seek support from dental professionals or support groups if needed.
11. Impact on Social Interactions and Confidence
The presence of partial dentures may affect social interactions and confidence, especially during activities such as speaking, laughing, or eating in public. Some individuals may worry about the dentures becoming noticeable or dislodging, leading to social discomfort. Building self-confidence and open communication about the dentures can help overcome these challenges.
12. Emotional Adjustment and Acceptance
Adjusting to the physical and emotional aspects of wearing partial dentures can take time. Accepting the changes in oral function and appearance, as well as incorporating the dentures into daily life, requires patience and a positive mindset. Support from loved ones and professional guidance can assist in the emotional adjustment process.
While partial dentures provide an effective solution for replacing missing teeth, restoring function, and enhancing aesthetics, it is important to consider the limitations and potential disadvantages associated with their use, as a way to manage your expectations and prepare yourself in advance for optimal comfort.
Keep in mind that regular dental consultations and proper care are essential for maintaining oral health and maximizing the benefits of partial dentures.