Partial dentures are used to restore missing teeth when some natural teeth still remain. They are removable and are especially effective for replacing multiple missing teeth spaced over many differing parts of the mouth. Rather than resting entirely on the gum ridge like complete dentures, removable partial dentures possess clasps that “clip” onto the remaining teeth, making the partial denture more stable and retentive. In some instances, partial dentures can be esthetically superior to bridge and cap work because of the loss of gum tissues.
There is a common misconception that partial dentures will destroy your remaining teeth, which may be true if they are improperly made, but well made partial dentures last for many years and provide an excellent economical solution to many otherwise difficult situations.
Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to your natural teeth or dental implants with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more esthetically pleasing than metal clasps and they are nearly invisible. Crowns on your natural teeth may improve the fit of a removable partial denture and they are usually required with attachments. Dentures with precision attachments generally cost more than those with metal clasps. Consult with your dentist to find out which type is right for you.
With a partial denture, the more teeth supporting the denture, the easier it will be to adapt to. Partial dentures that are partly supported by the gums usually require the longest period of adjustment.