Partial Dentures Explained

Partial Dentures are used to fill in gaps where one or more teeth are missing from the upper or lower part of your mouth. They solve both the functional (chewing and biting) as well as cosmetic issues associated with missing teeth. They help you speak more clearly and smile with confidence, without fear of the embarrassment a gapped smile can cause. Like any dental appliance partials can take some time to get accustomed to, but millions of denture wearers have persevered and found that the advantages outweigh the initial discomfort.

Many people who have lost teeth are reluctant to use partials because they worry about how others will perceive their appearance. However, advances in denture technology mean that there are now a wide range of designs that can improve your appearance as much as or more than a complete set of natural teeth. They are made from materials that look just like your own natural teeth and can be matched in colour to match the rest of your gum line.

Most partials are a combination of acrylic and metal. This makes them very strong and durable. However, there are also some partials which are purely acrylic in construction and do not offer the same strength or durability. In either case it is important that your dentist is able to assess the suitability of any particular design for you.

There are different types of Partial Dentures, including those which are fixed in place by precision attachments or clasps. These attach to existing natural teeth or dental implants and are often the preferred type of partial for both aesthetics and comfort. However, for some patients they are a problem as the clasps can trap food and lead to irritation of the gums and teeth.

Some people choose flexible partial dentures, which are thin and lightweight thermoplastics with no visible clips. They are very comfortable, but they can break easily, so are generally considered a temporary solution. In addition, they can cause abrasion of the remaining natural teeth, so are best worn as a supplement to regular visits to your dentist.

Another type of permanent partial denture is the bridge-supported denture. This is supported by a series of bridges that span from one or more natural teeth to the adjacent partial, making it a stronger and more stable solution than the fixed crown-supported partial. However, the cost is usually higher than that of a conventional complete denture and the treatment can be lengthy and complicated. Many dental insurance plans have a yearly limit on the amount they will cover for tooth replacement and therefore it is advisable to check with your insurance provider before opting for this solution.