Dental Education Lecture: Things to Do before Partial Denture

In the previous lecture, we discuss that a partial denture is supported by our remaining teeth and gums.  Before partial denture fabrication, we need to take care of the abutment (supporting) teeth.  If they remains healthy, our partial is stable.  What will happen if one of our abutments becomes loose after the partial is made?

One or two weeks ago, a 70 year old gentleman came to my office for emergency.  He had had sudden pain and swelling in the face (white arrow, Fig.1) and in the neck (black arrow, Fig.1). Exam showed that a lower right molar tooth was a culprit (Fig.2).  One of the roots is completely out of the gums (white arrow, Fig.2), whereas the other root has root tip infection (black arrow, Fig.2).  We needed to remove it to control the severe infection.  Initially the patient was so reluctant because he had had a partial made in his country two months ago!  He was afraid that the partial was going to be loose if the painful tooth was to be extracted.  After long discussion, we removed the tooth (Fig.3).

Therefore, before partial fabrication, we should have a detailed examination, remove nonsalvageable teeth, control infection (such as root canal), fix cavities and do deep cleaning.  The patient should do better home care: brushing, and flossing on daily basis and returns to clinic periodically for maintenance work.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 07/05/2009, last revision 09/28/2012