You may have heard the term “partial dentures” before and wondered what they were, and who might need them. You most certainly know about dentures, those things that perhaps your grandparents had and placed in a jar of water at night. Those are complete dentures and they replace the entire set of missing teeth. Partial dentures replace a select number of missing teeth when some are present and some, instead, are absent. There can be many reasons for partial dentures, and an array of different designs depending on which teeth need to be replaced.
A partial denture is needed in a number of different clinical circumstances. One such case is when a person has lost some of his or her teeth and wants them replaced, but cannot afford a dental bridge or dental implants with crowns. Another case is as a temporary measure, such as when waiting for implants to be placed and then afterwards for the subsequent healing to occur before the dental implant crowns are delivered. A partial denture may also be used in the case of congenitally missing teeth, helping with esthetics, function, or both.