Lower partial dentures - your questions answered

Lower Partial Dentures

This article answers some of the most asked questions about partial lower dentures, including the most basic question, ‘can you have a lower partial denture?’ to which the answer is most definitely yes.

We cover your questions from comfort and functionality to aesthetics, and more in between. But first let’s define what is meant by a partial lower denture.

What is a lower partial denture and how is it different to a partial denture?

A partial denture is a device to replace missing natural teeth. A lower partial denture replaces teeth missing on your lower jaw. Sometimes it’s referred to as a ‘bottom denture’ or a ‘partial bottom denture’. Importantly, because this lower denture is ‘partial’, you will still have some natural teeth with which to anchor the denture.

Questions about cost

How much are bottom partial dentures?

The answer to the question ‘how much does a lower partial denture cost?’ depends firstly on your individual clinical situation. This may include how many teeth are needed, the materials from which the base and clasps are made, and the profile of the denture in your mouth. Secondly, your final choice of denture depends on how much you are willing to spend. As a general guide you can see more on prices here. Things for you to consider are durability, how you would like your denture to look, and your personal sensitivity to adapting to something in your mouth. Your dental prosthetist will guide and explain to you the choices available. Be reassured that even the least expensive Australian-made dentures are subject to strict regulations, so you can be sure of getting a quality and safe product.

Questions on comfort

Are lower dentures hard to get used to?

Full lower dentures have been criticised for being notoriously difficult to get used to. This is because unlike upper dentures, which rely on suction to keep them in place, full lower dentures must rely on the development of facial muscles and tongue placement to keep them stable. Partial lower dentures are a little different, however.

How do bottom partial dentures stay in place?

In contrast to full lower dentures, partial lower dentures have one defining feature in their favour. Because some natural teeth are retained, partial lower dentures are secured with clasps which attach to those remaining natural teeth. This makes them more stable and therefore easier to keep in place.

What is the most comfortable type of partial denture?

This is a very subjective issue. Each individual patient will have unique factors which impact on their comfort. So, while one denture may be more comfortable for some individuals, the same may not apply to others. This is where your choice of denture prosthetist and team is crucial. You should aim for someone with extensive experience with whom you feel comfortable communicating. This is because the process of getting dentures is not a passive one for the denture wearer, but rather a collaborative exercise with the dental prosthetist, other involved dental professionals and the patient all playing their parts toward a successful outcome. It is important therefore, that you can comfortably discuss any concerns you might have.

Are lower partial dentures uncomfortable?

No dentures should be uncomfortable once an adjustment period has passed. Getting used to partial lower dentures is quicker than full lower dentures because they are secured to your natural teeth and do not rely on waiting for facial muscle development. If your dentures are uncomfortable, consult with your dental prosthetist. Very often a simple adjustment can alleviate any discomfort.

Questions on function

Can you eat with lower partial dentures?

The purpose of all dentures is to function as closely as possible to natural teeth. This includes the very important function of eating. If you are having issues eating and enjoying your food, a trip to your denture clinic will help. Your prosthetist will make adjustments to your lower partial denture if needed and provide tips on how to adjust to your denture both physically and mentally. Some people make the transition easily, others take a little longer. Choosing foods that help you transition from natural teeth to a partial lower denture is essential. Eventually you will learn the foods to avoid.

Will I adjust to partial lower dentures?

Replacing your natural teeth with false teeth or a denture may seem overwhelming to begin. So, while you may initially feel uncomfortable, you can expect with some patience and persistence to become accustomed to your new teeth.

How to remove a partial lower denture

To begin, your lower partial denture will feel very snug, as it should do. Over time, as you become used to wearing it and removing it for cleaning, the denture will glide out easily. But initially, the following information may help accustomise you with the procedure. Remember the most vulnerable part of your partial denture structure are the clasps. Treating these gently will avoid the inconvenience of repairs.

  • Try to avoid twisting or placing uneven pressure by simultaneously lifting the clasps on both sides of the denture.
  • Use your fingers at the base of each clasp to lift and disengage, then remove the denture.

How to care for a partial lower denture

Caring for your lower partial denture is much the same as for any denture. By choosing to purchase a partial lower denture, you have not only made a financial investment, but also a considerable investment in your lifestyle and appearance. Therefore, in order to protect it, having a maintenance program is key. See here for instructions.

Questions on aesthetics

What are the most natural looking dentures?

There are a range of lower partial dentures from which to choose. Sometimes making a choice is made more difficult by the overabundance of choices available. Your dental prosthetist can assist you in this regard, taking into account not only how the denture will affect your appearance, but also your individual clinical requirements and your budget. The most natural-looking lower partial dentures, or any dentures for that matter, are those with the lowest profile (or presence) in your mouth. Your dental prosthetist will choose the most appropriate tooth colour to match your existing teeth.

What types of partial lower dentures can I choose from?

While all dentures must have teeth, the materials to which they attach vary from acrylic to ThermoSens flexibles, to metals like chrome cobalt. The metal dentures are thinner and less visible in the mouth. They are also a little more expensive. Clasps which hold the denture in place can be metal or gum coloured acrylic. Some of the flexible dentures are virtually undetectable. See here for a range of partial dentures.

Questions on problems with partial lower dentures

Not everyone who has a lower partial denture encounter problems. However, it’s always better to practise prevention, than have to deal with problems in the future that could possibly have been avoided. Here are some points to be aware of.

  • Allergies - some patients may experience a reaction to the metal component of the denture. If you suspect you may have issues in this area, talk to your prosthetist before your denture is made.
  • Structural – it’s important to care for the structural integrity of your partial denture. The metal framework and clasps can become bent if handled roughly. Teeth on the denture may chip or break if dropped. Avoid harsh cleaners and chemicals which may compromise the integrity of your denture.
  • Oral hygiene - a regular cleaning regime will help prevent food particle and plaque build-up. Paying attention to remaining teeth by regular brushing and flossing will avoid problems like decay on your natural teeth, or gum issues where the partial denture clasps attach.
  • Loose fit – over time your partial lower denture may become loose with the normal process of natural teeth movement and gum shrinkage. See your dental prosthetist if this is the case.

In summary

Partial lower dentures have advantages over full lower dentures, although in terms of their care and maintenance they are much the same. There are many combinations of materials which make up your lower partial denture, from which to choose. Your dental prosthetist will advise you on the best lower partial denture for you taking into account your comfort, clinical requirements, preferred aesthetic, and budget. Getting a successful lower partial denture outcome is a collaborative exercise involving the patient and their oral health providers each playing their parts.

Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is located in the heart of Tweed Heads, southern Gold Coast. Finally have the smile you deserve with handcrafted, quality dentures.

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