Dentures, partials, and their role in dentistry

By Stacey Simmons, DDS

It has been said, “A patient without eyes cannot see and a patient without legs cannot run, yet a patient without teeth expects to eat and act with dentures as they do with natural teeth.” There is truth to this statement if you have ever fabricated dentures or partial dentures.

What would it be like if we could replace every missing tooth with an implant? The possibilities for implants and their implication in the future of dentistry are endless, and yet not all people are candidates or are able to do implants (financially, medically, etc.). We have to acknowledge these circumstances that dictate us to consider and offer alternative replacement means to these patients, mainly dentures and partial dentures.

Dentures and partial dentures are treatment options that are an acceptable way to replace function and missing teeth. Unfortunately, many practitioners find the creation of said prostheses frustrating and difficult. Not only can the fabrication be challenging, but, statistically, these populations of patients have the highest percentage of dental complaints. Why? Because the loss of the problematic natural teeth is often considered a way to eliminate dental woes. Instead, a removable prosthesis is actually an introduction into a new realm of challenges. Regardless of these concerns, when treatment planned and fabricated correctly, the outcome for partials and dentures can be predictable.

An established, step-by-step protocol needs to be set and maintained from the initial to the final treatment, so the patient is fully aware of what to expect.

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