Partial dentures, also called partials, are artificial replacement teeth that restore a few missing teeth in a patient’s mouth. The surrounding tissues in the oral cavity support dentures.
Partials replace a few missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw. Full dentures, on the other hand, replace an entire set of teeth.
Partial dentures are often necessary if you’ve lost some teeth due to:
Partial dentures are typically removable. Removable partial dentures consist of false teeth, a gum-colored base, and metal or plastic clasps. However, these dentures can also be fixed into the mouth, which means they are permanent. Fixed partial dentures are also referred to as dental bridges.
Partial dentures replace a few missing teeth. They come in removable and fixed forms.
Partial dentures replace a few missing teeth in your upper or lower jaw. If you still have some natural teeth remaining, removable partial dentures are an excellent option.
Complete dentures, also called full dentures or conventional dentures, are removable prosthetic teeth that replace your entire set of teeth. Full dentures are used when a patient has no teeth remaining in their upper and/or lower jaws.
Partial dentures come in both fixed and removable forms. The type of denture you need depends on your oral health standing, how many teeth are missing, and your budget:
Removable partial dentures are removable dental prostheses. If you still have some natural teeth in your mouth, your dentist will likely recommend removable partial dentures.
There are three types of removable partials, including:
A cast metal framework partial is the most common type of removable partial denture. Cast metal partial dentures consist of a gum-colored, acrylic base, and false teeth. The denture base is held in place by two or more clasps. The clasps can be made of either clear plastic, pink plastic, or metal (WIRONIUM®). Dentures with precision attachments (clear or pink clasps) cost more than metal clasps but are more aesthetically pleasing.
A cast metal partial denture base is made of a mixture of several metals. This denture is lightweight, has a high degree of stability, and is resistant to plaque build-up (with proper care). Cast metal partials are an ideal choice for patients seeking a long-term solution.
Flexible partial dentures are made of a flexible plastic material. These dentures produce high aesthetic results and blend in with your natural teeth and gum tissue color. Flexible partials are an excellent choice for patients who are allergic to acrylic. Valplast is a well-known brand that creates flexible partial dentures.
Flexible partial dentures cannot be repaired if they develop a crack or break. You must replace the entire denture. Because of this, flexible partials are typically only used as a temporary solution for missing teeth.
An acrylic partial denture is often a temporary option that consists of a removable acrylic base, a plastic replacement tooth or teeth, and optional metal clasps. This type of denture is less effective and comfortable than a cast metal partial denture. Acrylic partials are the least expensive type of removable denture and are not meant to last a long time.
Fixed partial dentures are also called fixed bridges. They are non-removable dental prostheses that are surgically inserted into the jawbone. Common types of fixed partial dentures include:
There are three types of removable partial dentures, including cast metal framework partials, flexible partials, and acrylic partials (flippers). Fixed partial denture options include dental bridges (traditional, cantilever, Maryland, and implant-supported).
Removable partial dentures cost anywhere between $650 and $2,500 (upper or lower, not both). The price of flexible partial dentures ranges from $900 to $2,000. Flipper teeth cost between $300 and $500.
A fixed denture (dental bridge) is the most expensive. Depending on the type, a bridge can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $6,500.
It depends on your insurance plan and coverage. Many full dental insurance plans cover up to 50 percent of the cost of dentures.
Partial dentures cost between $300 and $6,500 (depending on the type). Most insurance plans partially cover these dentures.
A cast metal removable partial denture can last up to 50 years with proper care. Fixed dentures (bridges) can last between five and 15 years.
No. Partial dentures attach the fake tooth or teeth to adjacent teeth, so there is no natural appearance of the tooth emerging from the gums. Since metal cast partial dentures consist of a metal framework, they do not look as natural as fixed partial dentures. Dentures with precision attachments (clear or pink clasps) cost more than metal clasps but are more natural-looking.
It is safe to eat with partial dentures in your mouth. When you first get your dentures, start by eating soft foods and cut them into small pieces. Do not eat sticky or hard foods for a few days after getting your new partial denture. You should also try to chew on both sides of your mouth to level out the pressure.
It is essential to soak your removable partial dentures in a denture cleaner every night to remove food particles and bacteria.
Metal dentures are more expensive than partial plastic dentures. However, metal dentures are more stable, fit better, and are less bulky. Plastic dentures tend to feel looser in the mouth and are bulky. They may also take more time to get used to.
Fixed dentures, also referred to as dental bridges, are not removable. They are also more expensive than removable partial dentures. However, removable partials do not require an invasive procedure, are easy to clean, and can be removed at any time.
Your dentures may feel bulky and uncomfortable at first. This is normal and will get better over time as you adjust to the new restoration. Many patients also experience speaking, chewing, and eating difficulties during the first few weeks. Extra saliva flow is also common.
Partial dentures have arms (or clasps) that wrap around teeth to keep the restoration in place.
After you adjust to your new dentures, you'll need to visit your dentist at least twice a year for routine check-ups. This is the same for patients who don't have dentures.
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