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FAQ:  Denture Partials

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My husband, has very poor teeth. He's had a full upper denture since the age of 17. Over the years, he has had several bridges done, on the lower teeth. Every time I turn around, they "need to do another bridge".

We've gone from one tooth bridge, to a two tooth bridge, to the current suggestion of a three tooth bridge, this is for the left side. He has two bridges, one on the left lower, one on the right lower. Needless to say, this is getting costly, and truly appears to be throwing good money after bad. Why are they not at this point considering a partial, rather than more bridge work?

It seems, they anchor to a tooth, that tooth breaks down, then we need to replace the bridge. He's been told he has "acidic saliva", and this is the cause of the problem. Since this isn't likely to change, why are they not considering a permanent solution? Is there any reason a partial cannot be done, if a bridge could be? ...Visitor from MA

There is nothing better than having your own teeth to eat with.

Following this a fixed bridge (teeth that are attached to stable teeth) for this allows you to have a stable platform to eat with. The next would be a partial denture which is replacing the missing teeth. Because this is removable it does have mobility which creates an unstable platform and traumatizes the underlining bone.

An "Acidic Saliva" is the type of mouth that would be loosing teeth to decay. The teeth would be breaking down with large holes in them. The usual course of action is to repair them with fillings, root canal, crowns, etc. Also prevention can be as simple as placing custom made trays with fluoride over the teeth.

A "Basic Saliva" is the type of mouth that will build-up a lot of plaque and often results in tooth loss due to the underlining bone being destroyed and the teeth getting loose and falling out. This type of mouth should have frequent cleanings and now with the advent of local antibiotic treatment and careful monitoring the amount of tooth loss should be minimized.

As for the condition which you are describing, a partial denture may be of benefit with the understanding that the patient may end up with a complete denture. If this is the final outcome the denture could be retained with implants being placed under them.

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