Can I add teeth to my partial denture, or do I need a whole new denture?
The question of whether tooth additions can be made to a removable partial denture concerns many denture wearers. Who wouldn’t cringe at the thought of having to get a new denture because of a lost tooth or teeth? But in most cases, getting a new denture or putting up with the gaps left after teeth are removed is unnecessary.
The good news
So, if you’re a denture wearer wondering about tooth additions, you can relax, because the answer to that perplexing question of adding teeth to an existing denture is a resounding yes! Tooth addition to a removable partial denture is easily done with only a few exceptions.
Teeth can be added to acrylic dentures, chrome dentures, and dentures made from some flexible materials like Thermosens, depending on the design of the denture. However, most flexible materials like Valplast, won’t allow structural changes due to the flexible nature of the materials and bonding issues this involves. Some chrome dentures may require additional welding. This often makes the process longer, as the denture will need to be sent to a chrome lab. This will be determined by your dental prosthetist.
Why would I need tooth additions?
The term ‘tooth addition’ describes the process of adding additional teeth to an existing partial denture. Generally, the reason for needing to add teeth to your partial denture is to fill gaps left after natural teeth have been lost because of tooth extractions, or where an accident has resulted in the loss of natural teeth.
Tooth additions after extraction
Once your dentist determines which tooth or teeth are to be extracted, he or she will provide you with a treatment plan confirming the identifying tooth numbers. You then take the treatment plan to your prosthetist who uses this information to prepare your denture for tooth addition so it can be fitted immediately after the extraction.
How long will it take to add teeth to my denture?
It takes just one day to make a tooth addition to your partial denture.
Two appointments are necessary at either end of the day. If you’re having an immediate denture, the extractions can be scheduled with your dentist for the same day, or the day after you receive your modified denture complete with your new tooth addition. This is so your dentist can fit the denture immediately after completing the extraction. The advantage of this method is the denture assists with the healing process, stemming blood loss and sealing off the wound site. In addition, you’re only without your teeth for a short time. Bear in mind, once the tooth has been added, you won’t be able to wear the denture until the dentist has extracted your tooth.
Alternatively, you may choose not to have your denture fitted immediately, but rather wait for the healing of the tooth socket. This can take 2-4 weeks depending on your age, health, and the number of tooth extractions. In this case, tooth additions to your partial denture will be made after this period.
How do I decide between an immediate denture or waiting until the socket has healed?
Generally, the position of the tooth extraction governs whether you have your denture fitted immediately or whether you wait until healing takes place. But consider other factors like your lifestyle and health as well.
When removing front teeth
Most concerning for patients after anterior (front) teeth removal, is their appearance. Not wanting to appear ‘gummy’ for any longer than necessary, they opt to have their denture, complete with new tooth additions, fitted immediately after the extractions. This preserves the ‘smile line’ and eliminates being without a denture for the 2-4 weeks the healing process takes.
When removing ‘clasped’ back teeth
A ‘clasped’ tooth is a natural tooth onto which the denture is secured with a metal clasp. If you have a back tooth removed to which your denture was clasped, you will require immediate tooth additions and clasp relocation to maintain denture stability. The clasp must be moved to fix to a different natural tooth to remain secure in the mouth after the extraction. The gap left by the extracted tooth is filled with the new tooth addition. If the clasped tooth is extracted without changing the position of the clasp, the point of fixture is no longer available, and the denture will not be stable.
When removing unclasped back teeth
If however, you have posterior (back) teeth extracted which are not relied upon for fixing clasps, allowing the gum tissues to shrink back and the sockets to heal for a 2-4 week period can be beneficial.
The process to fit an immediate denture
Depending on the proximity of your specialists, it’s possible to arrange all appointments for the same day. For example, drop your denture into your denture clinic at 9am, collect it at 3.30pm then present for your extraction. Finally, your prosthetist fits your denture around 4pm. Arranging your appointments in this way would limit the time you’re without your denture.
How much does it cost to add teeth to a removable partial denture?
The cost of adding a tooth to a partial denture can vary greatly. See our ‘tooth addition to partial denture’ page for a current cost guideline.
Useful things to know about adding teeth to your partial denture
Remember the old adage: ’fail to plan, plan to fail.’ Forward planning when initially designing and making your denture can mitigate negative impacts like the cost of having to get a new one or suffering an extended period without your denture.
Informing your prosthetist of any future dental work you may need. He or she can then take this into account when assessing you for a denture. Choice of denture type affects whether tooth addition is a viable prospect. You would not choose a flexible denture if you expect tooth extractions in the future for example.
The final word
Adding teeth to an existing partial denture is achievable. With some coordination between you, your prosthetist and your dentist, you have every reason to expect a smooth process. Keep your prosthetist informed of your dental status. This can save you money and minimise time endured without your denture in the future.