What is a Partial Denture?
A partial denture is a removable oral device that is designed to replace one or more missing teeth. A partial denture differs from a full denture in that a partial denture does not replace all of a patient’s teeth. Instead, they work with the patient’s existing natural teeth in each arch. Partial dentures are generally made of a metal framework that contains rests and clasps to attach to the patient’s remaining natural teeth. The replacement teeth are then attached to the metal framework in a way that allows proper function and cosmetics. Partial dentures can also be made completely out of acrylic for a metal free option.
What are the Advantages of Partial Dentures?
Partial dentures can significantly improve a patient’s ability to chew by replacing molars that may have been lost previously. Partial dentures can also improve a patient’s cosmetics and speech by replacing missing front teeth. Partial dentures can also maintain the overall health of the dental arch by maintaining the position of the patient’s existing natural teeth. Patients who are missing teeth are at an increased risk of losing more teeth because the remaining natural teeth are typically used more during function and thus accumulate more wear and tear. For that reason, partial dentures can also help prolong the life of a patient’s remaining natural teeth.
What are the Steps Needed To Make a Partial Denture?
The first appointment will mainly be a diagnostic appointment to plan the design of the partial denture and to make sure the patient is a suitable candidate. After the design is determined by Dr. Tatarin, he may need to adjust some teeth so the remaining natural teeth can work with a removable appliance. These adjustments generally include making small “dimples” in certain teeth so the partial denture can be held securely. These dimples are called rest preparations and only extend a few millimeters in to the teeth and don’t require numbing. In this same appointment, an impression is taken so the metal framework can be manufactured custom to the patient. During the next appointment, the metal framework is tried in and adjusted if needed. We will also capture the patient’s bite at this time, as well as make any necessary cosmetic documentations. The third appointment is the delivery appointment, where the final partial denture is tried in and adjusted for patient usage.