A dental partial or bridge is a prosthetic that you place in your mouth to replace the function and appearance of a few missing teeth when some natural teeth remain. It is usually made of metal and plastic. It's possible to get removable partial dentures or fixed partial dentures.
The two main types of dental partials are fixed and removable. The health of the remaining teeth has a lot to do with determining which type is a better choice for you. A fixed dental partial attaches artificial teeth to the jaw with a dental crown. It can also be attached under the gum with dental implants. Removable dental partials consist of a metal framework with plastic teeth and gum areas. Metal clasps hold the dentures in place, but they can be removed easily for cleaning.
If you have lost a few teeth, partial dentures make it easier for you to speak and chew. They help maintain the shape of your face and help prevent remaining teeth from shifting. Dental partials prevent problems that are caused by changes in teeth spacing, such as TMJ, headaches and earaches.
Temporary dental partials can be made before the natural teeth are extracted. A flipper denture is made of acrylic and replaces one or more teeth until another form of treatment can be done. When you have teeth extracted, your mouth needs to heal for at least four weeks before you can obtain a permanent denture. The temporary partial allows you to eat and speak without problems while a permanent denture is made.
Fixed dental partials are cemented in place. They look more like natural teeth but cost quite a bit more than removable dental partials. Fixed partials have to be supported by healthy teeth nearby. They can be made of porcelain or of porcelain over a gold framework. Fixed partials are harder to clean than removable partials. Removable partials can be removed and replaced as desired. There are several different styles of removable partials, which differ in the material used to support the false teeth.
False teeth are designed to match the appearance of the rest of the teeth, including shape, size and color. If partial dentures are designed correctly, they will be comfortable to wear and function just like the rest of your teeth.