The removable partial prosthesis
When it is impossible to make a fixed prosthesis (cap, bridge) there is nearly always the possibility of a removable prosthesis.
They do not offer the same comfort but they have the advantage of being inexpensive and quickly made.
Two possibilities exist:
- The patient still has some teeth; we are talking about a removable partial prosthesis
- The patient has no teeth; we are talking about a complete prosthesis
1. The removable partial prosthesis
It is a prosthesis that replaces one or more missing teeth. It is held with the help of clamps fitted on the remaining teeth.
It must be removed every day so that it can be cleaned. We must encourage the patient to have a careful hygiene, both of the oral cavity and of the prosthesis.
There are two types of dental prosthesis:
- The removable resin prosthesis
- The removable metal prosthesis
The all-resin device
These prostheses are not often used. They tend to be used simply as a provisional prosthesis.
Removable metal prostheses
They are also known as ‘skeletal.’ They are held both on the teeth and on the mucosa.
They are among the most often used removable prostheses.
They are made with a biocompatible chrome-cobalt alloy and acrylic resin teeth.
The advantages offered by these prostheses compared to those made of acrylic are: a smaller volume in their structure, a better fit and higher hardness.
This type of prosthesis also has its disadvantages:
- It is removable
- Food may get under it
- There are aesthetic limitations because of the clamps
- Sometimes the patient does not like the ‘feel’ of metal with the tongue
It has drastically lost ground nowadays due to the appearance of dental implants.
Nevertheless, chrome-cobalt removable prostheses still represent an alternative in many cases where bone-related or economic limitations exist.
2. The complete prosthesis
Commonly known as dentures or ‘false teeth’
There are many more people without teeth than we think.
The complete prosthesis is a resin base with prefabricated teeth placed directly on the gum.
These teeth can be made of resin or porcelain. Complete prosthesis stability is guaranteed by the adhesive suction phenomenon. Saliva appears as an important factor for the stability of these devices. Insufficient saliva production causes pains, discomfort and lack of adhesion.
The complete lower prosthesis has more retention problems that the upper one; the tongue, with its mobility and its volume, ‘contributes’ to the instability of the lower prosthesis. Implants can largely help us to mitigate the poor stability in the lower device and we do not need to have such a big upper prosthesis at the palate level either.
Three or four implants can be placed on the jawbone (lower part) on which a bar is also placed to increase stability and improve mastication.
This technique is applied to the upper maxilla as well. Thanks to it, the palate coating is largely reduced, which improves the perception of food tastes.