Removable Partial Dentures
Usually called partials, these restorations are used for multiple missing teeth in the same arch. Partials range from a “flipper” (a one-tooth plastic partial) to an acrylic partial denture, to a chrome-cobalt metal frame and acrylic base partial for teeth replacements. The simple flipper is held in place by suction against the gums or surrounding teeth. The metal/acrylic partial is designed and fabricated with stops and spring-loaded arms to hold it in place for talking and chewing. Flippers can be made within 1-2 days, while the more precision metal frame partials may take several weeks to complete.
As the name implies, these dental appliances replace all of the teeth on one arch, top or bottom. The upper denture covers the gums and the roof of the mouth to gain suction to keep it in place. The lower denture covers the gums only, since the tongue is in the middle of the lower jaw and must be kept free to move for eating and talking. This results in more of a retention issue for the lower denture, but there are several options to help keep it in place: tooth roots left in place with snap anchors, special softliners to increase suction against the gums, and even implants to hold the denture securely in place. After an initial adjustment to dentures, much of your normal functionality and appearance can return.