Partial dentures are a type of dental prosthetic that can replace a few missing teeth. The device consists of a plate with one or more false teeth and clips (clasps) to hold the false tooth in place. They can be made from plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. Plastic dentures are less expensive, but they can damage the remaining natural anchor teeth if not cared for properly.
The best candidate for a partial denture has some healthy natural teeth that are in good condition. If the supporting natural teeth are too weak, damaged or decayed to support a partial denture, your dentist may recommend an extraction and full replacement with a denture or dental bridge.
Your dentist will determine the best partial for your situation based on the amount of pressure that needs to be supported, and the position and appearance of the supporting natural teeth. For instance, substituting incisor teeth (front teeth) does not require as much stress as replacing molars.
Typically, a removable partial denture is sufficient, but some patients prefer a fixed partial. Both types can be cleaned and maintained using regular oral hygiene, including brushing two times a day with toothpaste and cleaning solution. You may also want to consider the use of an over-the-counter mouthwash. Some dental insurance plans cover at least a portion of the cost of partial dentures. However, the type of coverage and deductibles vary by plan. For instance, Medicare Advantage plans usually cover partials.