Dental question. Opinion on "partials"

Hello Everyone,
Went to the dentist today and while my teeth are in good shape for this checkup I have a mess in my mouth from years ago. Unfortunately I lost a few teeth when I was younger. I am missing on second from the back on the right and the back two teeth on the left. Two were finally pulled because I lacked the money to get root canals and crowns when I was younger and one because the tooth cracked after a root canal.

I am wanting to get my mouth fixed, but unsure of what to do. The best way to fill in the missing teeth would be to have implants put in, but I am financially not in a position to have that done. The dentist offered another solution, being something she called “partials”. From what I can tell, they are like mini dentures that would cover the existing spaces by “hooking” onto tabs somehow placed in my mouth. A bridge is out of the question, at least on the right side because there is no tooth in the very back. The partials are very affordable, but not sure if it is the right thing to do.

Does anyone here have them and are they “natural” feeling? What problems have you encountered and in the end are they worth the time and expense? It would be nice to have no spaces between my teeth, as it would make chewing a lot easier and perhaps I wouldn’t be so self conscious, although you can’t see the missing teeth because they are so far back in my mouth.

One last thought, I am very frustrated with my teeth. I brush 3 to 3 times a day. Floss 3 to 5 times a week and still am plagued with cavities. I wonder if genetics are the reason for my teeth being in the condition they are in. Don’t get me wrong, my teeth aren’t disgusting or anything, but I seem to get more cavities than most people even though I do my best to prevent them.

You should be flossing every day, maybe even twice a day. But, honestly, even that may not help. My mother and my best friend both just have plain bad teeth; they care for them impeccably, but often get cavities. It sucks.

As to partials, I don’t have them, but aforementioned best friend got them recently. For the first day or so, he found them odd feeling, but now he loves them. They look completely natural, and he says they feel fine as well. His are fitted so well, he doesn’t even uses polident or anything to keep them in. He can eat anything with them. And, again, they look great. I would highly recommend them.

My father had them. Frankly, he hated them, but his were fitted long ago and maybe they’ve been improved since them.

I guess they’re sort of like having braces. Some people get used to having hardware in their mouths, while others can’t stand it.

I don’t have personal experience with my own mouth, but I grew up with my mom having them. She’s had partials since I was a baby, for more than 40 years. They stay in place by hooking onto a tooth or teeth in front or behind where the partial goes. She’s never used adhesive, it isn’t (or shouldn’t be) needed because of the anchors onto solid teeth. One of her partials is anchored with a gold crown, so they don’t even have to be natural teeth the partial hooks onto. She just brushes them with her toothbrush, and occasionally soaks them in denture cleaner to get any tarter/plaque the toothbrush doesn’t get.

The only thing my mom avoids is nuts. The small pieces can get wedged between the partial and the gum and can be painful until she can get to a bathroom to get it out. So, she just avoids them (unless they’re cashews - she can’t resist those!).

Having been exposed to someone with them all my life, if I needed to replace a couple teeth but couldn’t afford implants, I’d get the partial in a heartbeat. (Especially molars that no one can see.)

No personal experience but I’ve heard that sometimes the wire clips that secure the partial to the natural teeth can damage the enamel on the teeth.

I’m going to call my friend when he gets out of work tonight to be certain, but it was my understanding that his partials stay in by the force of a sort of vacuum between the plate that fits (perfectly) over the roof of his mouth. I don’t think his has any hooks or anything. But, they aren’t mine and I need to call him and ask.

At any rate, his are quite new and he is very pleased with them. He is eventually getting implants*, but he has, in fact, postponed that surgery for another year because he finds the partials so comfortable and easy to use.

*He has a problem with his gums and bone underneath that made implants impossible for him until the issues healed themselves, which was supposed to happen over the course of about 10 months with the partials. The dentist he was working with intended to get the implants in as soon as physically possible, but since he is so happy with the performance of his partials, they have put that off another year to allow for more healing.

I’ve worn a partial for many years. It hooks on to other teeth. In my case it stands in for my upper incisors (industrial accident) and a bicuspid. The backs of my upper canines have been slightly flattened in back for that set of hooks and the side and back hooks fit into spaces between other teeth. Occasionally, food can get between the plate and the roof of my mouth but it’s not a big deal.

Like any abrupt change in your mouth, it may feel weird for a while, but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. I never think about mine. The worst part is having your entire mouth filled with that gell they use to make the mold. It’s difficult to breath during those few minutes.

They last for years, so why not get the partial now and save your pennies for implants later?

This happened to me. Wire clips simply damaged more teeth. Eventually I had the partial replace with bridgework. But that has to attach to teeth on either side with caps. Depending on the location and size of a bridge, it may last no more than 25 years. So if you have bridgework done when you are young, you may have to face another replacement some day. Nothing beats implants, but they are expensive.

You can actually get a bridge attached to only one tooth - it’s called a cantilever bridge.

Thanks so my much for the replies. I have called this morning and told the dentist to go ahead. It will be nice to have a full set again!

They are, in fact, held in place only by the vacuum. Obviously I have no idea how anyone else’s partials would work, but that is the design for his.

Best of luck, obbn! I hope yours are comfortable and awesome!

If you have a large enough area of contact with the gums and roof of the mouth, then they will stay in place that way. Small partials need the hooks because there is a large enough contact area. The area in contact with the plate* part of the dentures can suffer from abrasion and lack of air, so it’s best to minimize this. A first set of dentures can be very uncomfortable to people because the gums will recede and reshape from the presence of the denture and after a while they don’t fit properly anymore. For large dentures which use a plastic plate, they can be relined to provide a better fit. Dentures which use metal plates have to be remade.

The hooks probably are also intended to keep adjoining teeth from shifting. I think there are some composite/plastic types available now where the hooks are less damaging to the teeth.

*I’m calling the portion of the denture which contacts the gums and the roof ‘plate’ because I don’t recall the actual term. A plate usually refers to a complete upper or lower denture.

I’ve heard of these, but only with a three tooth minimum where the cantilever is supported by two teeth. Dentists always recommended me away from those and other lightweight alternatives because they suspect I have a strong bite and they would tend to be under too much stress.