Partial dentures are generally the least popular type of tooth replacement, a sentiment captured in their degrading nickname: flippers. In general, people only choose them because they are less expensive than other options, but many wearers quickly find that they can cause a host of problems, including receding gums.
Why Partials Can Lead to Receding Gums
Partial dentures replace lost teeth in only the most basic sense. It puts placeholder teeth in your arch that can help maintain spacing of your natural teeth, give you the appearance of a full arch of teeth, and keep your cheeks and lips from appearing sunken due to tooth loss.
But partial dentures are not like your natural teeth.
Most importantly, partial dentures aren’t anchored in your bones like natural teeth–they rest on your gums. This puts excess stress on your gums that they just aren’t capable of handling. Even if you remove your partials for eating, your gums are stressed every time you close your jaw for swallowing or to help brace your muscles for effort. And if you’re a teeth clencher, you can put a lot of stress on your gums.
Partial dentures make up for not being secured in the bone with clasps and hooks that fit around neighboring teeth. These hooks and clasps can irritate your gums even further, especially if the denture isn’t properly fitted. Receding gums typically start where some of these supports hook around your teeth.
Finally, partial dentures can trap food and bacteria against your gums. Even with proper, thorough cleaning, this can increase your risk of gum disease, one of the most common causes of receding gums.
Restoring Gums Damaged by Partials
But we have to make sure that we are also addressing the cause of receding gums, or else they will just recede again. Sometimes refitting your partial dentures can reduce or eliminate gum irritation, and receding gums will stop.
But other times, it’s best to get rid of the partial denture completely and replace with a healthier option. Dental implants are a better approach to replacing lost teeth, and even if you initially were reluctant, if you are being faced by receding gums, now might be a good time to reconsider.
If you are looking to restore receding gums in Orange County caused by partial dentures, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.