Partial Denture for One Missing Tooth


If you are missing a tooth, don’t resign yourself to the situation. There is a solution available in the form of a partial denture. Partial dentures will likely become the standard tooth replacement option in the near future. Though the average dentist does not perform this procedure at a high frequency, it is effective and rapidly growing in popularity. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about partial dentures for a single tooth.

How many visits does it require?

Replacing a single tooth with a partial denture will likely require a minimum of two visits with one or two weeks between each visit. The initial visit is to create the impression. The next visit is for the placement of the partial denture. We will make the partial denture during this period of time. However, certain types of partial dentures, like the Flexite Partial, can be available in a single day.

Will adjacent teeth be ground down?

While with some treatments we may need to grind down teeth, we do not grind down teeth with removable partial dentures.

Will a partial denture affect my speech or eating?

There is a chance that the partial denture will slightly impact speech and eating. However, there is less chance of a partial denture affecting such actions when replacing a single tooth as opposed to multiple teeth.

Will the partial denture alter my face or my smile?

There is a small chance the bone beneath the removable partial denture might deteriorate as time progresses. If such deterioration occurs, the appearance of your face or smile can change slightly. There is also a chance that the partial denture clasp will be visible when you smile.

Is a partial denture expensive?

In relation to other potential solutions, partial dentures are extraordinarily cheap. In fact, they are widely considered the cheapest available treatment option.

What are removable partial dentures made of?

This oral health device consists of a metal framework along with acrylic or plastic. We place the metal framework across the roof of the mouth and have it extend along the lower jaw/back portion of the teeth. The framework then hooks onto the remaining teeth. The hooks clasp to keep the partial denture firmly in place. This is why your dentist places the hooks on stable and healthy teeth. The denture tooth is placed in acrylic to replace the missing tooth.

There is also a newer variety of partial dentures that are more aesthetically pleasing. This option is known as a “flexible” denture. Consisting of thermoplastic, it is completely pink and clear in color. This newer version does not make use of any sort of metal framework. The flexible denture relies on a thin prosthesis that is much lighter than the metal variety. This flexible denture does not break nearly as easily as the conventional variety.

Is any preparatory work necessary?

Yes. The dentist must prepare the remaining teeth with grooves and dimples before the patient receives the partial denture. These grooves and dimples, also known as rest seats, allow the metal framework to slide right into the teeth. This is where the denture rests atop the tooth. So, the dentures do not push down onto the gums.

Are there any negatives to the new “flexible” partial dentures?

While the newer style of partial denture is less likely to break and more visually pleasing, it has the potential to push down into the gums when the patient bites. The metal type is not as likely to impact the gums thanks to the fact that it blocks denture pressure from reaching the gums. If you choose the newer version and find your gums feel a bit sore or irritated, we can remedy the problem with slight adjustments.

Have studies been conducted to confirm the longevity of partial dentures for a single tooth?

Few such studies exist. Plenty of studies have been performed to document the effectiveness of partial dentures yet there is minimal data regarding their use for single-tooth replacement. Studies centered on longevity determined lifespan to range from six years to 20 years. In general, patients who replace a single tooth with a partial denture should expect it to last for about a decade. A young patient who opts for a partial denture for a single tooth will likely receive at least three prostheses during his life.

Is there any risk to successive prostheses for single-tooth replacement?

There is the potential for additional biological complications such as caries, tooth fracture, and periodontal pathology.

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