I have had five missing front teeth for several years now. I had a partial denture done to replace them and it just bugs me. I am so self conscious and unhappy with how it looks and feels. I went back to the dentist three different times, and I’m still not satisfied. The front tooth doesn’t match the one next to it or the others alongside it. I end up hiding my smile and it’s always on my mind.
I was fortunate that my dental insurance covered the work to be redone the second time. But, I think that means they won’t cover it again. I am really interested in porcelain veneers. But, I don’t think that’s possible since I have missing teeth.
Do you have any recommendations for me to get back to a natural-looking smile again?
-Becca in Washington
I’m sorry to hear you are unhappy with your partial denture. There are removable partial dentures that can be made to look lifelike and blend in well with the surrounding teeth. But, it is imperative that you find the right dentist, one with more of an aesthetic mindset and skill. Most general dentists are trained to fix some sort of fundamental issue. But there are cosmetic dentists out there that are passionate about creating beauty. The thing that’s difficult for patients is that less than 2% of cosmetic dentists actually have the attention to detail and skill to create beautiful results for front teeth.
Another thing you have going against you is that the partial denture has metal clasps which attach to the existing teeth. The metal ends up showing when you smile under most circumstances. Now, they do make more natural-looking appliances with plastic fasteners that are transparent. Valplast partial is an example of one that is more aesthetically-pleasing.
Let’s shift gears to address another comment you made. You are correct in that porcelain veneers will not work for you at this point since you are missing teeth. These thin shells of porcelain are bonded in place on the front surface of teeth to give the appearance of a beautiful smile.
Even though you aren’t a porcelain veneers candidate, you still have several options. It mostly depends on what your budget constraints are and the final result you’re after.
The most economical solution would be to replace your missing teeth with a new partial denture, possibly one that has more natural-looking components and also by working with a cosmetic dentist.
If you are looking for a permanent solution to your missing teeth, you may want to begin learning more about dental implants. This option means you won’t have to take them in and out, and they ultimately look, feel and function just like natural teeth. A surgical post is implanted in your jawbone, which stimulates bone growth. Then, after a period of healing, a porcelain crown is placed directly onto the post. Dental implants are more expensive than other alternatives. However, they will look natural, and you will be proud to show off your smile again.
Lastly, you mentioned the involvement of your dental insurance. Every plan is different. But, generally speaking, most major dental work like dentures, crowns, partial dentures, or bridges usually are eligible for coverage again after five years.
Remember, it is always good to get multiple opinions so you can compare treatment plans. And it is also worth mentioning that for this type of work on such a high-profile area that shows when you smile, you need to find the right dentist versus price shopping. Trust is the most important factor when selecting the right dentist. Don’t rush into any decision at this point. Take the time to learn about each dentist, check out their credentials, ask to see photographs of cases similar to yours, and learn about their payment plans or financing options.
Thank you for your questions. Hopefully, this information is helpful.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Rick Lane, DDS.