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Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are one way to replace teeth that are missing.  Partial dentures usually refer to the type that can be removed (as opposed to fixed partial dentures, usually called bridges).

Before a partial denture is fitted, any other work that is needed in the mouth is usually carried out first.  This will include any fillings and gum work that is needed.  Sometimes the teeth that hold the partial denture in place will need adjusted, built out or even crowned to help secure the denture better.

The base of the denture is made from either metal or plastic (acrylic), and the teeth are usually acrylic (although porcelain teeth are sometimes used).

The base can include metal clasps and attachments to help keep the denture secure.


Acrylic (‘plastic’) partial denture with clear clasps

“Which material is best?”

The different types of partial denture material have different benefits and drawbacks.

  • Metal partial dentures have superior strength and can be made smaller and thinner than plastic ones.  They are generally more hygienic and more tolerable as they do not need to cover as much of the mouth.  However they are much more expensive to make than plastic dentures.
  • Plastic dentures are cheaper and easier to make.  They may damage the gums around natural teeth if not designed and then cleaned properly. They are often the ideal choice as immediate dentures, i.e. an immediate replacement for teeth that need to be extracted.
  • An advance in plastic dentures is a new type of flexible denture which may suit some mouths very well.

The choice between the two will be made with your dentist although metal dentures are usually the best in the long-term, so long as they can be afforded.