What is a “Partial Denture”?

A partial denture is a partial prosthetic replacement of one, but usually many, of the jaw's teeth.

It is fabricated with a cast metal substructure, and sometimes a thermoplastic substructure, depending on the individual case. I t can be used for replacement of upper and/or lower teeth. Most patients who elect partial denture(s) are missing more than a-tooth-or-two, as there is a considerable amount of metal necessary in the mouth to properly support the partial(s). Usually, there are other options with partial denture(s), like bridge(s) and/or implant(s). Partial dentures are removable, and are to be removed and cleaned after each meal and before bedtime. Partial dentures are not to be worn while sleeping, as this habit will most probably lead to a fungal infection of the mouth.

Properly fitting partial dentures require multiple visits.

The first visit it to gather accurate "impressions" and a bite registration of your mouth. These impressions are used to create an thermoplastic or metal base that is custom made to your current oral anatomy. Those will come back to the dental lab with wax on them. That "wax try-in" will be the second visit. Here Dr. Hoffman will address your basic speech and verify a proper Vertical Dimension of Occlusion (VDO), together with proper bite relationship. The patient and dental assistant will also choose the proper shade, and shape of the denture teeth that will be used to make your final partial denture. On the third visit, the teeth you selected will have been placed into the wax, creating an exact wax model of your proposed partial denture(s). This is called the "wax-tooth try-in". This will be tried in to your mouth for proper fit and speech requirements, as well as patient visual satisfaction. How do they feel, work and look? If Dr. Hoffman and you are both happy with all aspects at this stage, they will sent back to the lab to be finalized. Your fourth, and final visit, will be the "delivery" of your new partial denture(s). Again, if there are any minor adjustments, they are made at this time.

Partial dentures are usually not a patient's first choice for a final treatment option. Many times there are financial reasons this option is chosen. There are other options, and if you already have an upper partial, or lower partial denture, there are ways to make that existing partial denture fit more reliably and remain more stable when talking and chewing. Please discuss this issue with Dr. Hoffman and his staff, if you are interested in options to help in this regard.

Partial dentures do not need paste or wafers for them to fit, as they use natural teeth as retention in the mouth. Often, over time, partial dentures will become loose; this may, or may not be correctable. If it is correctable, many times it can be corrected in the same visit it is evaluated, sometimes it does require a trip to the dental laboratory for clasp replacement or adjustment.