If you have multiple missing teeth, your doctor may recommend a partial denture. Partial dentures have clasps that hook around the surrounding natural teeth.

There are different types of partial dentures that the doctor can choose from and they will advise you on what type will work best for you. Partials with a metal structure are the most common type of partial. These are the most precise, stable, and thin type of partial available.

This style of partial takes approximately 3 visits to fabricate (turnaround time for all 3 steps is about 8 weeks). At the first visit, the doctor will place dimples on specific teeth to increase stability on the partial (no numbing required) and then take an “impression” (mold) of your teeth and bite for the lab. At the 2nd visit, the doctor will confirm that the partial fits well and that you like the esthetics. At the 3rd visit, you will be able to take the partial home.

An acrylic partial denture is generally fabricated as a temporary and less expensive option. It is typically made while you heal after teeth have been extracted or while you transition to full dentures (when we plan to hang on to some teeth for as long as possible). These partials can be considered as training wheels to prepare you for a metal partial.

Some may find the acrylic partial to be bulky. A flexible or “valplast” partial has improved esthetics due to the gum colored clasps, however due to the flexibility of the partial, there is less stability and rigidity and can be uncomfortable.

The acrylic and flexible partials are fabricated in 2 visits as no “try-in” visit is needed. At the first visit, the doctor will take impressions of your mouth to send to the lab. At the second visit, you will be able to take the partial home (turnaround time for this type of partial is 2-3 weeks). Any removable appliance will collect food underneath, this is why we recommend removing them after every meal and to sleep so they can be cleaned.

Sometimes denture adhesive is needed to give them more stability if desired. Since they sit and rub on the gums, adjustments are necessary after taking them home and trying them out. Remember, there is no dental appliance that will ever feel and work just like our natural teeth.