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What are Partial Dentures?

3 minutes to read

Posted: Mar 14, 2021

Dentures work either as a removable replacement or a fixed bridge for missing teeth and the surrounding tissues. So, what is a partial removable denture? The clue is in the name for partial dentures: these dentures only occupy a part of your mouth. Unlike complete dentures which take up the entire mouth, partial dentures fill a gap created by missing teeth, so you can feel more confident about smiling, eating and speaking. Partial dentures are supported by remaining teeth, so they don’t change position. Still have questions about partial dentures? Read on to learn all about their advantages, their parts, and how to keep your natural teeth healthy.

Why Should I Replace Missing Teeth

One of the main reasons you may want to replace missing teeth with a partial denture is for appearance. However, missing teeth are more than a cosmetic issue—a gap left by a missing tooth can put strain on the remaining teeth on either side.

Also, with a gap left behind by missing teeth, the way you bite and chew will also change, as the surrounding teeth next to the gap will lean in and change the way your upper and lower teeth bite together.

This can cause problems like food getting stuck or packed, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Getting a partial denture—even if it’s a partial denture for one tooth—can help you avoid any future dental issues caused by the gap between your teeth.

Advantages of Partial Removable Dentures

Partial dentures offer several benefits. They  

  • make it easier to talk and chew  

  • fill the gap created by missing teeth so you can smile confidently  

  • maintain the shape of your face.  

Parts of Partial Removable Dentures

So what makes up a removable partial denture? Partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth that are attached to a metal or a gum-colored plastic base connected with a metal framework. Partials can be used to replace the front, back, upper, and lower teeth. An upper partial denture will go on the top part of your jaw and a lower partial denture on the bottom, but structurally they are similar, except designed to fit in different parts of your mouth. So let’s get to know the basic components of a partial denture in more detail.  

  • Major connector. This framework unites all the components of a partial denture and keeps it rigid. The design of the major connector will change depending on your mouth, like where the denture will go and how many natural teeth you have left.  

  • Minor connector. This connects all the components to the major connector.  

  • Rest. The rest is a component on a removable partial denture, which rests on a prepared tooth surface. The function of the rest is to distribute the force along the tooth so the denture stays fixed in place.  

  • Clasps. These metal components allow the denture to resist dislodging forces in your mouth in the vertical direction. Clasps come out of the denture and encircle the neighboring teeth.  

  • Denture base. The base covers the ridge of your mouth where there is a gap between the teeth. It functions as a base that supports denture teeth. For acrylic partial dentures, the base is usually made out of acrylic resin (which has a pink color), but some partials can be made out of metal (chrome cobalt).   

  • Denture teeth. These acrylic or porcelain teeth serve to replace the teeth that are missing in the mouth.  

An infographic showing the Parts of partial removable dentures: denture teeth, major connector, denture base, minor connector, rests, clasp.

Keep Partials Clean and Your Natural Teeth Healthy

Just like you’d look after your natural teeth, you should keep your partials clean. A lack of partial denture care can cause several problems, like gum problems of your natural teeth. Keep your remaining teeth healthy by looking after your partial with the following steps:  

  • Clean dentures over a bowl of water or a towel, in case you drop them (dentures can break if you drop them). 

  • Use a special brush designed for cleaning dentures to brush the partial. 

  • Soak your partial in denture cleanser after wearing them following the instructions and then in water. Please make sure to use denture cleansers designed for partial dentures. 

Caring for your remaining teeth and gums should also be a priority to keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay. Cleaning your partial dentures is just one part of the routine, but make sure you also:  

  • Brush your gums, tongue, natural teeth, and roof of your mouth with a soft-bristled brush in the morning and evening.  

  • See a dental hygienist to clean your gums and teeth regularly.  

For partial dentures that are removable, you may want to use a denture adhesive to help dentures stay more secure, stable, and to relieve any irritation they can have on the gums. Fixodent has got you covered, so there’s no excuse not to dive into life with partial dentures.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Partial Dentures

What do partial dentures look like?

A partial denture looks like a part of a full denture with a pink, gum-coloured plastic base and false teeth on the top. It sometimes contains clasps or a metal framework that helps hold the denture in place in the mouth.

How do partial dentures stay in place?

Most partials have metal clasps that help keep it in place. These clip onto the teeth on either side of the gap. Sometimes, a dentist may recommend a precision attachment, where a connector fits into a slot prepared in a crowned, supporting tooth. For extra assurance, you can also use Fixodent’s Microseal for Partials to make sure the partial stays fixed in place.

Do partials damage teeth?

It is possible for plaque to build up around the partial and surrounding teeth which can cause tooth decay. Pressure from the moving partial can also cause trauma to the surrounding teeth. Talk to your dentist if you have any concerns to find out about your specific situation and whether a partial is right for you

Are partials uncomfortable?

Like anything new, you may find partial dentures uncomfortable at first. But as you get used to them, you’ll find they are more comfortable.

Partial dentures can be a great solution if you have any gaps in your teeth. They don’t just look better, but also help protect the remaining teeth and gums from any damage experienced due to bite issues. Talk to your dentist about partial dentures and see what type of partial denture would be best for you.