Fixing a broken partial denture

I have a partial that is made with metal. The bar that holds the 3 teeth together broke so now 2 are together and the other is separated. Is this repairable? I need to get it fixed because these are front teeth and I look awful.
- Daron from Alabama

I’m not sure I’m understanding the configuration of this partial denture. I’ll guess that you have a removable partial replacing three teeth with two teeth on one side of your mouth, one on the other, and a bar connecting the two halves. And it’s on a metal framework and it’s that metal framework that has broken. If that’s the case, no, it isn’t repairable.

A conventional removable partial denture has a metal framework and has either acrylic or composite teeth embedded in a pink acrylic (plastic) base, and then there are usually metal clasps that attach to the teeth. If any of the plastic parts break or anything happens to any of the teeth, that is pretty simple to repair. Those plastic materials can be mixed and re-created and attached to the metal framework fairly easily. It’s even not too difficult to add a tooth to the partial. And if a metal clasp breaks off, it can sometimes be repaired by embedding a wire in the acrylic base and then bending the wire to clip around the tooth.

But if the metal framework breaks, it’s time for a new partial. There are two reasons. First, repairing the metal would involve welding the pieces together, and welding would require such a high temperature that the rest of the partial would melt. Second, it’s the framework that determines the positions of the teeth, clasps, and saddles. The impressions and the laboratory work required to re-create the positioning of all those parts would be as much work as starting over and making a new partial, so it simply wouldn’t be worth it.

An option, if it fits within your budget, would be to replace the removable partial with dental implants. They’re much more comfortable, more trouble-free, and the maintenance is easier.

This blog is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. David Newkirk

Dr. Hall