Let’s come right out and say that dentists like partial dentures even less than patients. Partial dentures are a poor tooth replacement option. They’re usually not functional for eating, barely functional for speaking, and come out of place so often that they’re nicknamed “flippers”.
This is not to say that no one gets good results from partial dentures. But even when they work, they can come with other problems. One common problem people experience with partial dentures is receding gums.
Why Partials Can Lead to Receding Gums
A partial denture is a tooth replacement that replaces only the visible part of the tooth. There’s no root to secure the tooth. Instead, the replacement tooth is attached to a flat plastic or metal plate that sits in your mouth. This plate is “secured” using hooks and clasps that go around your remaining teeth.
Unfortunately, these hooks and clasps have the potential to irritate your gums. Once your gums become irritated, they can become inflamed and may recede. This can be worsened by food and bacteria that collect on the hooks and clasps, encouraging gum disease.
And a partial denture can irritate your gums underneath them, too. That’s because the partial denture sits on top of your gums. If you wear your denture when chewing (or even when clenching your teeth), this puts excess pressure on your gums. This can make them inflamed and vulnerable to recession.
Restoring Gums Damaged by Partials
So, what can we do about gum recession related to partial dentures? First, we can try adjusting your partial dentures so that the hooks and clasps aren’t irritating your gums. We might also recommend changes to your oral hygiene to help reduce the amount of food and bacteria contamination.
Adjustment of the partial denture might reduce irritation, but in some cases you might have to take the partial out to eat.
In some cases, we might recommend dental implants to replace your partial denture. These are secured in your jawbone like natural teeth and don’t cause gum irritation like partial dentures.
Once we’ve figured out the cause of your gum recession, we can use gum rejuvenation to restore your smile to a healthy, attractive appearance.