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Dentist explaining to patient

Types of Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are a great solution for anyone missing some teeth but whose remaining teeth are otherwise healthy and sound. These devices are removable and fit over or around your remaining teeth—almost like a retainer or other orthodontic device—except you don't have to take partial dentures out in order to eat (and risk throwing it away like so many kids with retainers have over the decades). Instead, your partial dentures are designed to help you smile, bite and chew as you normally would. You can take them out at the end of the day to scrub and soak them, but otherwise they should become a part of you.

There are a few different types of partial dentures that your dentist will consider with you. The main differences between them are the materials that they're made of. Your partial dentures will be custom fitted to your mouth, so don't be concerned if they don’t end up looking exactly like the examples you've seen online or at the dentist’s. The important thing is that they fit comfortably and securely, so that you can live your life.

Partial Denture Designs & Materials

Partial dentures have plates with one or more false teeth on them. They can be held together with plastic or metal, and they will have a way to attach to your other teeth. One type of attachment is clasps. These connectors are attached to the teeth surrounding the partial denture, and they might be visible when you smile, depending on their placement. Clasps might require the nearby teeth to be crowned too, so that the clasp can be securely embedded in the crown. There are other ways to connect the partial denture to your teeth, including precision attachments, which might be a little less noticeable, but they can also be more expensive.

Partial dentures are typically made either entirely out of plastic, or entirely out of metal. Although plastic partial dentures tend to be less expensive, they can potentially damage your surrounding teeth.

You might think that metal partial dentures will make you look like have a mouth full of metal, but actually they will be tooth and gum colored, like any denture. In fact, this type of partial denture can be lighter weight and stronger than plastic partial dentures. Metal partial dentures are often made of a cobalt and chromium alloy, and they are more expensive but also more durable.

Partial dentures can be a great solution to missing teeth. Your dentist can help you determine which types of partial dentures will work best for your needs. While you're here, take some time to explore other types of dentures and learn about tooth extractions. There's a lot you can learn about dental care that might help it feel less intimidating.

Find out how to clean and care for your partial dentures with our Polident Cleanser products.