You don’t have to sacrifice your smile if you’ve started losing teeth. People often think of dentures as an entire row of replacement teeth for people who have lost all, or most of, their teeth. However, partial dentures allow you to use dentures if you’re only missing back teeth.1
Partial dentures are a cost-effective choice that can help with eating and drinking. While complete dentures cover your entire upper or lower jaw, partial dentures only replace one or a few teeth.1 A removable partial denture typically consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base connected by a metal framework that holds the denture in place.2 Partial dentures for back teeth are used when one or more natural teeth remain, filling in the spaces created by missing teeth and preventing your natural teeth from changing position.2 If you’re only missing back teeth, partial dentures may be the best option for you. Partial dentures can be made for just the back or front teeth, or a combination of both.2
How Do Partial Dentures Work?
If you think you may be a candidate for partial dentures, talk to your dentist. They will be able to begin the process of creating your partial dentures. The denture development process can take up to two months.3 Once your dentist determines what type of dentures are best for you, the process of creating your partial dentures will include:3
- Making impressions of your jaws and taking measurements of the space between them
- Creating models or wax forms in the exact shape the dentures will be made for you to try before the final denture is cast
- Making adjustments as necessary
Once you’ve received your partial dentures for missing teeth, you’ll be able to start wearing them. When putting dentures in, your dentist may recommend using a denture adhesive like an adhesive strip, powder, or cream.3 Try out Polident’s denture adhesive products like Super Poligrip Original Dental Adhesive or Super Poligrip Comfort Seal Strips.
At night, taking a six to eight hour break from wearing your dentures is recommended.3 When you remove your dentures, remember to clean your dentures thoroughly. Polident offers several options to help keep your dentures clean. Use the Polident Overnight Whitening Cleanser after taking your dentures out at night.
What Do Partial Dentures Look Like?
If you’re considering partial dentures for your back teeth, you might be concerned about how they look. Luckily, there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. Dentures, whether partial or full, are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and can improve your smile and fill out your facial appearance.2 The partial dentures themselves will appear differently, depending on the type of denture you choose.
Types of Partial Dentures for Back Teeth
There are several types of partial dentures to choose from. Whether you need partial dentures for your lower or upper back teeth, your dentist will be able to help you decide between these options.3
Acrylic Partial Dentures
Partial dentures for back teeth are typically made from resin plastic that can be dyed to match the color of your gums. Acrylic partial dentures can last between five and eight years. Although acrylic dentures are affordable, they can break more easily than metal partial dentures. You may need to use adhesives for this type of denture.
Flexible Partial Dentures
This type of partial denture doesn’t require adhesives or metal clasps, as they attach to the gums by themselves. The structure of flexible partial dentures is less bulky and rigid than other types. Flexible partial dentures are made from clear plastic, providing a great aesthetic appearance. These dentures are also not as expensive as metal partial dentures and can be used for up to 15 years with proper care. However, if they break, they cannot be fixed, and you will need to have new dentures made.
Metal Partial Denture
Compared to plastic dentures, metal partial dentures for back teeth are more lightweight and durable. They tend to stay in place better and trap less food while eating. Metal partial dentures are unlikely to break and can last up to 10 years. Although this type of denture is more expensive, you may be able to add more teeth to the denture over time.
Alternatives to Partial Dentures
If you’re missing back teeth, partial dentures are not your only option. The most common alternatives to partial dentures are a fixed bridge or a dental implant.4 A dental bridge can be made by putting crowns on the teeth at either side of your missing tooth and then joining these crowns together with a false tooth.4 A dental implant can be a more permanent alternative to partial dentures, but not everyone is a candidate for them and they are more expensive.2 If you’re looking for an alternative to partial dentures for missing back teeth, consult your dentist for advice.
If you’ve lost one or a few back teeth, you may be a candidate for partial dentures. Partial dentures for back teeth can make eating and drinking easier and help to improve your natural smile. Visit the Polident website to learn more about partial dentures.
- Dentures. https://medlineplus.gov/dentures.html. Accessed 9/1/21. Referenced text is indicated in source PDF.
- Dentures. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10900-dentures. Accessed 9/1/21. Referenced text is indicated in source PDF.
- What are dentures? https://www.authoritydental.org/dentures. Accessed 9/1/21. Referenced text is indicated in source PDF.
- Bridges and partial dentures. https://www.dentalhealth.org/bridges-and-partial-dentures. Accessed 9/1/21. Referenced text is indicated in source PDF.