Often times when people think about dentures, they imagine the full version that encompasses an entire upper or lower jaw of teeth. However, this isn’t necessary for every patient.
In the case of people who are only missing some teeth, many dentists will recommend partial upper and/or lower dentures. As the name suggests, they cover only part of the jaw—where the teeth are missing, obviously—but leave the rest of your teeth alone.
Partial upper and lower dentures are removable and generally made from acrylic and metal. They generally use wire hooks that comfortably wrap around teeth you still have. This ensures they stay in place while you’re wearing them, yet can easily slip them off when your day is over.
The process of having partial and/or lower dentures made for your mouth begins with the initial appointment. There, your dentist will begin by taking models of your mouth in order to study them later. Primarily, they will be analyzing your bite in order to create dentures that will complement it.
On your second appointment, the dentist will make a final impression of your mouth. Depending on how complex your particular case is, you could be in for one or two more visits before your dentist has everything they need to create your dentures. As you can imagine, creating new teeth that will perfectly fit a person’s jaw is a very involved process, so these numerous visits are for the best.
With your dentures complete, you will most likely be excited about the prospect and ready to wear them. However, as your dentist will warn you, getting used to partial upper and lower dentures takes time. Expect to wear them for at least a week before they begin feeling natural. It could take you as long as a month, however. You should also anticipate that it will take some practice before you can use them without issue.
Even the most advanced forms of partial upper and lower dentures will feel bulky and heavy at first. This is partially due to the materials and partially due to the new neuromuscular movements your body is learning in order to effectively control them. Your body will need to recruit from the cheeks, tongue and lips differently. However, after enough practice everything will return to normal.
So if you’re missing teeth in your lower and/or upper jaw, don’t hesitate to speak with a dentist about dentures. Partial upper and lower dentures may be just what you need.