Removable Partial Dentures
To restore a smile when teeth are missing, one possible option is a removable partial denture, often simply called a “partial”. A partial can replace one tooth or many teeth, depending on the needs of the patient. Partials are made primarily of acrylic that is colored to match a patient’s gums, with teeth that match the color and shape of a patient’s remaining teeth. A partial may have a metal substructure for strength, and it will usually have clasps that grip on to the edges of remaining teeth to secure it in place. Partials can be designed to be temporary, worn until implants or extractions have healed, or they can be more permanent, worn every day to replace teeth, and taken out at night to be cleaned and to allow the tissue underneath some rest. When worn, a partial will look much like natural teeth. A permanent partial can be worn when eating and will greatly help a patient with several missing teeth to chew better. Wearing a partial will also help to protect the remaining teeth because without anything to replace missing teeth, the remaining teeth have to do a lot more work than they were designed to do, and they often suffer, getting looser as they are overused. The teeth in a partial function like natural teeth for chewing and biting, and look like natural teeth for smiling!
A complete denture is an option for patients who are missing, or need to have extracted, all of the teeth in their maxilla, or mandible. A complete denture is custom made to fit each patient. They are usually made of acrylic and are specifically designed to match the color of the patient’s gums. The dentist and patient work together to choose the size, color, and shape of teeth to give the patient the smile that they desire. A custom designed denture can be both beautiful and natural looking!