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If You Have Missing Teeth, Should a Partial Be Considered Before an Implant?


Posted on 6/15/2017 by Dr. Frank Sallustio
A pair of dentures.
Missing teeth, even only a few, have a significant impact on your life, affecting your ability to eat and speak as well as your confidence level. Fortunately, you have a few different options for replacing missing teeth, restoring both the function and look of your mouth.

Partial dentures and dental implants are two of the most common solutions, but which should be considered first?

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are false teeth set into a gum-colored base that are supported by your gums and secured in place with metal clasps. These prosthetic teeth are removable, and are designed to be taken out each night for cleaning and to give your gums a break.

Benefits of partial dentures include:

•  Affordability.
•  Non-invasive (no surgery required).
•  Easy to adjust.

While partials do offer these benefits, they do have a few drawbacks as well. For one, because they rest on your gums, you are at risk for denture sores. They require extra care when it comes to cleaning.

One of the biggest drawbacks is that they don't do anything for your jawbone, which deteriorates as a result of tooth loss. For this reason, you will need to be refit occasionally for a new partial.

Dental Implants

Implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss. Titanium rods are surgically placed into the jaw and left to fuse with the bone. Once healed, the implants, acting as "roots" are what supports the section of false teeth, rather than the gums. These teeth are not removable, except by your dentist for maintenance.

Advantages of implants include:

•  More natural appearance (your gums are visible, rather than a gum-colored base).
•  Permanent (they aren't removable).
•  They can be cared for like natural teeth.
•  No slipping or falling out.
•  They preserve the integrity of your jawbone.

Despite these advantages, implants have drawbacks too. They are more expensive. They require surgery, and a substantial amount of time for healing. They are not suitable for smokers, especially if you are not willing to quit both before the procedure and while you heal.

Finally, if you have already lost significant bone mass, you may first require a bone graft procedure before you can have implants successfully placed.

Both partial dentures and dental implants can restore your smile as well as the functions of your teeth. While implants are often the first option considered, your health and specific needs are what will determine your best option.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about dental implants and partial dentures.

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Frank Sallustio, DDS
Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics
13802 West Camino Del Sol, Suite 102
Sun City West, AZ 85375-4486
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Frank Sallustio, DDS, 13802 West Camino Del Sol, Sun City West, AZ, 85375-4486 - Key Phrases: Prosthodontist Sun City West AZ, dental implants Sun City West AZ, dental implants Sun City West AZ, (623) 738-2639, www.drsallustio.com, 10/18/2017