Are you facing the daunting prospect of missing front teeth? Or perhaps gaps in your smile are already your reality. When the loss of front teeth confronts you every time you look in the mirror, or can’t eat your favourite food, it’s even more important to find the best way to fill those gaps. After all, your smile is an essential part of first appearances, and we all know how important they are. In the following article we help you to navigate your way through the maze of available information and arrive at a more informed point from which to resolve your dilemma. We examine the removable partial denture options available to fill those gaps, and what other factors, like cost, comfort and functionality, need considering.
Why are missing front teeth different?
Beyond how you look, and the assumptions others make based on your appearance, are the long-term consequences of not replacing missing front teeth. A partial denture for front teeth serves as support for your lips and face without which your facial structure can collapse inward causing you to appear much older than your years. Having gaps in the front of your jaw can affect your speech, producing lisping or hissing sounds and mispronunciation of certain words. These factors can accumulate to damage your confidence and ability to socialise or communicate well in your job.
Retaining as many natural teeth as possible
A partial denture is always a preferable option to a full denture where possible.i It’s therefore crucial to preserve any adjoining natural teeth since they will provide stability for your denture and therefore your comfort. This is especially the case for your lower partial denture which, because of the necessary space left for your tongue, will not have the suction capability of your upper denture. Being secured to natural teeth with clasps on your removeable partial denture, will help ensure its stability and retention. This is why many patients report difficulty adapting to a full lower denture which has no such anchoring.ii Because wearing partial dentures may increase the possibility of oral disease, a careful maintenance program is essential to preserve the health of remaining natural teeth.iii This applies not only to your mouth’s hygiene, but also to your denture, since loose or ill-fitting dentures can potentially damage abutting teeth to which your denture is secured by clasps.
Partial removeable denture options for front teeth
The loss of natural teeth for any reason, whether it be extractions due to disease, or loss because of accidents or mishaps, can be confronting to say the least. But when it’s your front teeth, especially your upper front teeth, it’s even more urgent to rectify the situation. Firstly, let’s look at what removeable denture options you have for addressing the situation. Keep in mind each option has advantages and disadvantages and no one patient has the same set of determining factors. (For more information on partial denture options see here.)
Cobalt chrome partial denture
Pros: Light, durable low profile in the mouth. Good longevity: metal base can last up to 15 years, however teeth on this base may need replacing before then due to normal wear and tear. This contrasts with an acrylic partial denture which has a lifespan of between 5 and 7 years and the flexible partial denture lifespan of between 2 and 3 years.
Cons: More expensive than acrylic. Only suitable for those with healthy natural teeth to affix to.
Acrylic partial denture
Pros: Durable, most affordable compared to other options. Easily added to and repaired.
Cons: Slightly thicker profile in the mouth than a chrome cobalt denture and without the ease of use that a flexible partial denture offers. Acrylic partial dentures have a full acrylic palate covering the roof of one’s mouth which can diminish eating enjoyment.
Flexible thermoplastic partial denture
Pros: Easy to insert and remove, virtually unbreakable.
Cons: Only suitable to replace one to six teeth. Not clinically suitable for everyone.
You can feel protected and confident in whichever option you choose. All dental prostheses must comply with strict Australian standards.
Getting the right advice about partial dentures for front teeth
Before you make any decisions about which denture is right for you, it can’t be emphasised enough how important it is to get the right advice. You would not employ a motor mechanic to build your house. Neither should you embark on replacing your missing front teeth without seeking the right advice for your unique clinical needs, desired appearance, and your particular financial situation. Choosing the appropriate health professional for your needs is crucial. [See here for a rundown of dental and denture professionals]. While oral health professionals collaborate closely to serve patients’ needs, each has a specific expertise. Dental prosthetists’ primary area is designing, crafting, and fitting dentures. Not everyone can afford the best partial denture option even if they are clinically suitable candidates. However, it is important to get the best quality product you can afford. This choice may even serve you better in the long term with greater longevity, comfort, and more natural aesthetics.
Which partial denture for front teeth is suitable for you?
What factors do you need to consider when contemplating a partial denture for front teeth? Listed below are some pertinent considerations to think about, although not in order of importance since people’s priorities differ.
The cost of a partial front denture is an important factor for most people. Of course, related to this is value for your money. This is why once you have made a decision on the type of denture in collaboration with your oral health professional, it is worthwhile getting more than one quote. Some denture clinics offer a ‘request a quote’ button on their websites which gives you an estimated cost to work on. However, taking advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation many denture clinics offer, is an effective way to get a more accurate idea of what the cost will be. While many people do not have the financial resources to afford the best option to fill front teeth gaps, be aware there are no-interest payment plans available. Choosing the cheapest option may prove to be a false economy in the long run. Help is also available for those on low incomes and government pensions. A chat with your denture clinic will provide you with information in this regard.
Pain and procedure
Pain is a very subjective experience because everyone has different pain thresh-holds. However, all partial front tooth replacement options can have some degree of pain or discomfort.
Pain and discomfort associated with any removable partial dentures may occur after the extraction of teeth as the gums heal. During the manufacturing phase of removable partial dentures, some people have issues with gag reflex when having moulds taken, while others sail through this phase without any problems. Once the partial denture is fitted, there is a settling in phase while oral tissues heal and adjust to the new denture. The procedure for getting a removable partial denture takes between 3 to 6 weeks depending on the type of denture and what preparation is needed.
Everyone wants a natural looking result at least as good as, or if not better than their original teeth. All removable partial dentures provide this. Depending on how much you wish to spend, the tooth quality you choose for your partial front denture will duplicate varying degrees of natural tooth appearance. Even the so-called budget end of the denture tooth range is satisfactory.
Functionality describes how your choice of teeth replacement performs, how stable it is, how natural it feels, and how easy it is to care for.
Removable partial dentures depend on surrounding natural teeth to which they are attached for stability, which is why the good condition of these natural teeth is crucial. Even so, biting and eating with removable partial dentures is not the same as natural teeth. Care must be taken with choice of foods and size of food pieces. Normal biting pressure, like biting into an apple for example, may damage the front teeth on your partial front denture.
Removable partial dentures should be brushed twice daily and removed at night to soak and rest oral tissues and gums. In addition, periodic adjustment and relining is necessary to accommodate a changing bite and gum shrinkage.
You can expect approximately up to 20 years for chrome cobalt (or metal) partial dentures, with approximately 5-7 years for acrylic partial dentures. During the life of your partial denture, relines and adjustments may be needed to maintain a snug fit. Flexible dentures have a lifespan of approximately 2- 5 years.
A final word on partial dentures for front teeth
The loss of your front teeth is different from losing teeth in other parts of your mouth. Their loss can have a devastating effect on your appearance, confidence, health, and your ability to eat and speak naturally. Fortunately, there are options to address the situation. However, it’s important to get the right advice for your unique clinical, financial, and aesthetic needs. This means choosing the appropriate oral health professional to help you make the choice most suitable for you. All types of removable partial dentures for front teeth are worn successfully by the majority of those needing to fill the gaps resulting from missing front teeth.
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.