Preferred Polymer

New material improves fit, feel and look of partial dentures.

Ever since she was a young girl, Emma Girt wanted to serve in the military. So shortly after high school graduation, the Canton, Ohio, native joined the Air Force, where she spent six years serving her country as a clerk typist at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Emma Girt

“I worked for the police squadron,” Emma, 65, shares. “I performed general office duties such as filing, typing and issuing meal cards, whatever was required. And this was the 1970s. We didn’t have computers.”

Following her discharge, Emma applied for a job with the US Postal Service. After waiting for nearly 10 years, she finally got her foot in the door. Once she did, she stayed 23 years before retiring in 2013. For most of her career with the Postal Service, Emma processed mail.

“We did it by hand when I first started, but then they installed machines and I operated one of those,” she recalls. “Actually, I did a bit of everything. During my last two years with the post office, I worked as a window clerk selling stamps. But I preferred the physical labor of processing the mail.”

Like anyone, Emma would have also preferred to keep all her natural teeth. Over the years, however, she lost a number of them to decay and infection and wound up wearing several partial dentures as a result.

“On the right side of my mouth, I had no teeth on the top or bottom, and on the left side, I had no teeth on top,” Emma describes. “But I always hated the partials I was given, so I didn’t wear them as much as I should have.”

Emma’s aversion only increased after the removal of a couple more decayed teeth adversely affected the fit and feel of the partials, which were partially made of metal that literally left a bad taste in her mouth.

“The partial on top had a big metal plate that covered the roof of my mouth, and I hated that,” Emma confirms. “I didn’t like the way it felt, and it tasted odd to me. When my tongue touched that metal plate, it drove me crazy because I couldn’t feel the roof of my mouth. So I asked Dr. Aljonaidy if she could make a partial that didn’t have a metal plate across the top, and she said, Yes. We now have the technology to create metal-free partials.

Huda Aljonaidy, DDS, initially treated Emma while working with a different practice, but Emma returned to her after learning the dentist had opened Blossom Dental and Facial Aesthetics in Ormond Beach.

“Once we reconnected, Emma told me she was unhappy with her old partials, particularly the one on her upper left side,” Dr. Aljonaidy says. “When Emma smiled, the metal frame of that partial was visible. It was also uncomfortable for her and not very retentive. She wanted a new partial to replace it.

“Dental technology has improved dramatically since Emma received her original partials, and my office has remained up-to-date on those advances. Today, we offer better materials that are more comfortable and more aesthetic. We recommended new partials for Emma using those materials.”

Restoration Revolution

The technological improvements that are allowing patients such as Emma to be fit with better-fitting and more aesthetically pleasing partials began in 1985, when computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) were first applied to dentistry.

CAD/CAM technology revolutionized the industry because it uses an optical camera to take virtual impressions of patients’ teeth. From those images, dental restorations, including crowns, dentures and partials, are designed and fabricated.

“For almost 100 years, there were few changes in the way partials were made,” Dr. Aljonaidy reports. “Then CAD/CAM technology became available and the process advanced rapidly.

“At that point, dentists’ main concern became finding a material to integrate with the technology to create partials that could survive the heat and mechanics of the mouth. We wanted to create partials that were aesthetically pleasing as well.

“Initially, we relied on partials with metal frames, which are strong and durable, but not particularly aesthetic. Metal-frame partials do not look natural. The colors of the mouth are predominantly pink and white. Metal partials have a silver tone. Dentists have to work hard to hide the metal in the mouth and achieve an aesthetic result.”

Several years ago, a more natural-looking material was developed, but it lacked strength and durability, so it was only used for temporary restorations. A natural evolution was to combine this natural-looking material with metal frames.

“We call those partials hybrids, but dentists have to work twice as hard to integrate the two materials mechanically,” Dr. Aljonaidy informs. “I finally decided that I was going to create partials in a smarter way using my CAD/CAM technology.

“That was made easier when Solvay Dental 360 introduced a new material called Ultaire AKP. It is a high-performance polymer that is tooth-colored, flexes like bone and is highly resilient. Ultaire AKP is 60 percent lighter than metal, more comfortable and more biocompatible than previous materials used for making partials.”

Photo couresy of Ultaire™ AKP.

Ultaire™ AKP

What first attracted Dr. Aljonaidy to Solvay partials was their aesthetics and natural feel and the fact they are as strong and durable as metal partials. When Dr. Aljonaidy learned that four out of five patients favored them over metal partials, she worked to become a certified provider of Solvay Ultaire AKP partials.

“Not all dentists can offer Solvay partials to their patients,” Dr. Aljonaidy observes. “Their practices must first become certified by the company. To achieve certification, I submitted designs I created using my computer and CAD/CAM technology, which were then audited and approved by Solvay. Besides Blossom Dental and Facial Aesthetics, there are few, if any, dentists in the area with Solvay certification.”

“The Best Dentist”

Dr. Aljonaidy used the unique combination of CAD/CAM technology and the Ultaire AKP polymer to create new partials for Emma, who is very happy with her overall results. She is especially pleased with her new upper partial.

“I dearly love the new partials compared to my old ones,” Emma raves. “There isn’t any metal on them at all, and they fit much tighter. I could move the old partials with my tongue, but I can’t move or pop these at all.

“I’m pleased with the appearance of my new partials as well. They look pretty much like my other teeth. They’re a little lighter, but I’m a smoker, so that’s to be expected. Still, you can’t tell the difference because my natural teeth are in the front and the partials are on the sides.

“One of the best things is that with the upper partial, there’s no metal across the roof of my mouth. That partial sits right behind my teeth, hugging them. It’s tight up against my tongue, so I can’t tell where my teeth end and the partial begins.

“I recommend Solvay partials to anybody and everybody because they don’t feel like you’ve got something foreign in your mouth. I also recommend Dr. Aljonaidy and Blossom Dental and Facial Aesthetics. Dr. Aljonaidy is the best dentist I’ve ever had in my life.”

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