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FAQ:  Denture Partials

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Ill-fitting partial: I just had a permanent crown installed in bottom row and now my partial doesn't fit right.

My dentist tried to alter it but parts of the thin metal "claws" stick out and my partial is an eighth of an inch above my real teeth. Is this normal dental practice? ... Visitor from PA

The question I would ask you is: did the dentist put your partial denture in place and include it in the impression?

Getting a good fit of a new crown to an existing partial denture is a difficult thing to do in many cases. Your partial denture was made to fit intimately with the tooth that you had crowned. The holding clasps ( thin metal claws ) were made and cast to fit the exact contours and undercuts of that tooth as it was in your mouth. Recently you had a crown done on that tooth that held your removable partial denture in place.

For the best possible fit with an existing partial denture, when a crown planned where the clasps go around it, the partial denture should be included in the final impression that will go to the lab.

In the lab the tech with make a crown that will fit underneath the existing partial. It is very difficult and takes a lot of experience and skill to contour the porcelain of the crown to duplicate the original tooth.

Since the existing partial has fixed clasps that are made to fit an exact tooth, it is hard for the lab tech to adjust and contour the porcelain to fit. It usually can be done with good results.

When a crown is made in this way, the new crown and existing partial both come back from the dental lab together. The crown put in, but before it is cemented, the existing partial is tied in over this crown to make sure the partial fits like normal. The clasps should need very little adjustment around this new crown to form a retentive fit.

In your case, if your partial denture was not included in the final crown and bridge impression that was sent to the lab, then it probably would be very hard to fit around your new crown. The lab tech only having an impression of the tooth preparation, would only be guessing of how it was supposed to fit around the partial denture clasps of your existing appliance.

In trying to adjust the small metal clasps around a new crown, they can be bent out of shape and stick out a bit, which would prevent full seating of your partial denture. If this happens it would be unlikely that the partial would ever fit normally again.

I hope this explanation will help you understand the best way to have a crown made to fit an existing partial denture.

Editorial Staff

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