What is a removable partial denture?
A partial denture—often simply called a “partial”—is a removable tooth replacement option for patients that are missing some but not all the teeth in an arch. It is typically made of using similar teeth and pink acrylic as dentures.
Partials have features called clasps that hook to a few of the remaining teeth and help the partial stay in place. In addition to the pick gum-colored acrylic and teeth, a partial also has a framework which gives the partial its strength and provides the partial with the attachment clasps. This framework can be made from either metal or clear resin. Most partials are made using a chrome metal framework as these tend to be thinner and stronger, but clear resin frameworks can be used in cases where metal clasps would show when the patient smiles.
What are the benefits of partials?
Benefits of partials as teeth replacement options include:
- Improved smile through the replacement of missing teeth
- Ability to replace multiple teeth with one appliance
- Because they are anchored by the remaining teeth, partials are more stable than complete dentures
- Prevent remaining teeth from shifting or moving
- Ability to modify the partial or add teeth if more teeth are lost in the future
- Relatively inexpensive when compared with other tooth replacement options
How do partials compare to other options for replacing teeth?
A removable partial denture is just one option for replacing missing teeth. Other options include dental implants and bridges, and each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. When compared with these other options, the main advantage of partials is their lesser fee. Furthermore, the fee for partials is the same whether there is one tooth being replaced or many. The disadvantage of partials when compared with these other options is that they are not quite as stable (the other two options are “fixed” where partials are “removable”) and that there is more hardware involved. As discussed above, partials have a framework as the place that teeth attach to. This framework often takes some getting used to, as it is a different sensation than the tongue and lips are used to. Most patients do quite well getting used to the framework over time, however, and this becomes less of a concern. Teeth replaced by dental implants and bridges tend to chew and feel more like natural teeth. A final disadvantage of partials is that because they rely on the remaining teeth to support the partial, if one or more of the supporting teeth fails or needs to be removed the fit and retention of the partial may be lessened. Visit our dental implants and bridge pages to learn more about alternative treatment options.
What is the next step to determine if a denture is right for me?
Dr. Jason Doublestein, Dr. Michael Wierenga, and Dr. Katelyn Trierweiler along with our dedicated staff here at 44 West Dental Professionals have the training and experience to provide the whole range of tooth replacement options for our patients. If you wish to discuss which option may be best for you, give us a call at (616) 530-2200 to set up a consultation today!