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Partial Dentures

Reviewed by kdcl0gan | Updated January 22nd, 2023

Woman showing off her smile

If you are missing only a few teeth, a full denture may not be your best option. Partial dentures fill in the gap in your teeth with false teeth. Partial dentures connect to your natural teeth for a natural look that’s more comfortable than a full denture. 

Types of partial dentures

  • Metal removable partial denture
  • Flippers 
  • Metal-free partial denture
  • Fixed bridge
  • Implant supported fixed bridge

Metal removable partial dentures 

The most common partial denture. This type of partial denture is made to fill in gaps in teeth by attaching to existing teeth. It is durable, and less expensive than other options, however it can be less aesthetically pleasing than non-metal partial dentures or bridges.

One advantage to metal removable partial dentures is that if you lose additional teeth, you can sometimes add them to your existing partial denture at significantly less cost than creating a new one.

Flippers (Acrylic removable partial denture)

Another removable partial denture option that is often used as a temporary solution while more permanent options are created. Flippers are the least expensive of the temporary denture options, but are also less durable than other options. The flipper is often visible while talking or smiling, and can seem uncomfortably bulky to the wearer. Despite the drawbacks, they do allow the user to eat and speak fairly normally, and can be worn for years with few issues.

Fixed Bridge

For those who are missing only a few teeth, a fixed bridge may be a great option. Because they do not need to be removed daily, bridges look and feel more natural. They do not require much change in your lifestyle, habits, and diet. They are cleaned by brushing your teeth as normal, however your dentist will give you tools and advice for additional cleaning that will help keep your mouth and gums healthy.

Fixed bridges are made by connecting a series of replacement teeth (called pontics) to specially made crowns on either end of the bridge. The main drawback of a fixed bridge is that your existing healthy teeth may need to be ground down to accommodate crowns that support the bridge. This can increase the risk of decay and damage to healthy teeth.  

Implant supported fixed bridge

An implant supported bridge is a fixed (permanent, non-removable) solution that combines dental implants, crowns, and bridges. While more expensive than removable partial dentures, it does offer a better looking, more functional solution. Offering a better quality of life, and a more comfortable fit in the mouth, this is the optimal solution for those who are good candidates.

This option will not be available for everyone. To be eligible for this treatment, you will need to have gums healthy enough to support a dental implant. Dental implants are one of the most expensive dental treatments available, and can take multiple visits over several weeks or months to place. 

Consult your dentist to determine which option best suits your needs.

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