Do you have missing or cracked teeth? Are you considering investing in partial dentures?
There’s a possibility your dentist will recommend partial dentures if you have three or more missing teeth in a row. Yet you may also be unsure of what to expect.
Here’s what you need to know before you agree to wear partial dentures.
What Are Partial Dentures?
A partial denture is a removable bridge that includes a pink or gum-colored base, as well as replacement teeth. They are typically used when one or more natural teeth remain in your jaw.
When you get a partial denture, a fixed bridge is placed on either side of the space on your jaw. Artificial teeth are then attached to them. Next, your bridge gets cemented into place.
Your partial dentures will then fill in the space created by your missing teeth as well as keep your existing teeth from shifting out of place.
When you and your dentist agree that partial dentures are the right step for you, they will begin by performing a complete dental exam, including X-rays. Next, they will take a series of impressions of your jaw. They will also take measurements for accurate placement.
Next, wax models will be made that you can use for trying out the fit and shape of your denture. Finally, your dentist will present you with your final denture and make adjustments as necessary.
What Are the Benefits of Partial Dentures?
Many people like the removability of dentures. They are lightweight, natural, and less expensive than other cosmetic dentistry options such as dental implants or bridges.
Dentures can prevent the side effects of missing teeth. These include severe gum disease. They can also help support your facial structure and prevent sagging.
The right dentures will keep you from losing bone structure in your jaw. They can also help you avoid any extra wear and tear on your existing teeth, which could eventually lead to additional tooth loss.
Dentures can make it easier for you to eat and speak, making you more confident. They are also a cinch to clean.
Partial dentures allow you to save some of your existing teeth if it’s possible. You can also add additional teeth at a later time if necessary.
While complete dentures can take a bit of time to adjust to, partial dentures are easier. You’ll have a healthy, natural-looking smile and feel more self-assured when you’re speaking to someone up close.
What Are the Types of Partial Dentures?
One of the most common types of partial dentures available is those made of cast metal. These are highly durable and consist of a thin, metal base that holds a set of acrylic teeth in place.
Cast metal partial dentures use metal clasps. Some folks also opt for precision attachments, which are less noticeable.
Acrylic options are usually used temporarily. These use metal clasps to attach the dentures to natural teeth.
Acrylic partial dentures can be a bit bulky and are more visible. They are also, however, quite affordable. Many dentists use them while waiting for more permanent dentures to be cast.
Those who find cast metal and acrylic options uncomfortable may be interested in flexible partial dentures. These consist of a thin, hypoallergenic, plastic material. Flexible dentures don’t use metal clasps, which many find more comfortable.
The clasps used for flexible partial dentures are gum-colored, so some find them more aesthetically pleasing as well. Patients who are allergic to certain metals are excellent candidates for flexible dentures.
Flexible partial dentures are, however, more difficult to repair if they are damaged. Losing or cracking them will usually mean getting a new pair of dentures.
How Can I Afford Partial Dentures?
The costs of partial dentures begin at around $1,200. Several factors play a role in how much you’ll end up paying. These include the number of teeth you’re replacing, their location in your mouth, and the materials your dentist uses.
Many folks, however, find that dentures are well worth the cost.
If you have dental insurance, they will likely cover at least part of the cost. Before agreeing to get dentures, be sure you speak with your HR department or insurance company representative. If you don’t have dental, your health insurance may offer extra policies that cover some of the cost of dental work.
Some folks also pay for partial dentures using a Health Savings Account, or HSA. These accounts allow you to have a certain amount of tax-sheltered money taken out of your paycheck automatically each month. The funds can then be used for health needs such as dental work, co-pays, and vision care.
If your employer doesn’t have an HSA available, you can ask about a Flexible Savings Account (FSA.) Like an HSA, an FSA will allow you to put aside tax-protected money each month that you can use for health needs.
Unlike an HSA, however, an FSA is owned by your employer. An HSA will allow you to roll over any unused funds from year to year.
You can also ask your dentist about any payment plans available. For example, you may be able to pay your dentures off a little each month, so the cost will be easier to work into your budget. Your dentist may also offer special discounts.
If you think you may need partial dentures, it’s important to talk to your dentist about your options. The right ones will give you a healthy, happy smile for years to come.
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