Traditional partial dentures, unlike precision partial dentures are removable dental appliances that are made of acrylic bonded to a metal framework. Clasps, which are part of that framework, are designed to fit tightly against selected teeth to hold the partial in place. Though the clasps do a relatively good job of holding the partial in place, they do have some disadvantages:
- Over time, they can damage the teeth.
- They may cause teeth to loosen.
- The clasps sometimes show when you smile.
The Advantages of Precision Partial Dentures
Precision partial dentures have the same metal and plastic structure as conventional partials, but avoid the use of clasps. Retention is provided by the innovative design. Precision partials use special attachments that combine with complementary attachments built into special crowns. The image at left shows a typical crown attachment and the matching attachment in the precision partial.
Precision partials have many advantages:
- The precise fit is healthier for your gums and teeth.
- Retention is increased.
- Your chewing ability is enhanced.
- Your smile is free from any unsightly metal clasps.
- The procedure
The process of making a precision partial denture involves a series of appointments spread over several weeks. After a thorough exam and appropriate treatment to eliminate decay or periodontal disease, adjacent teeth are prepared for crowns. Impressions are taken, and from these impressions, precise models are made. The crowns with attachments are constructed on these models. On a subsequent appointment, these crowns are tried in and adjusted, and additional impressions are taken for construction of the precision partial denture. During another appointment, the laboratory-fabricated precision partial denture is tried in and adjustments are made. Once everything looks good, the crowns are cemented in place and your new precision partial is placed.
It will take some time to adjust to the feel of your new precision partial denture. At first, eating may seem difficult and you may have trouble speaking normally. After a few weeks, you'll make the adjustment and be speaking, eating, and smiling with confidence.