Generally speaking, there are two types of removable denture prostheses:
- removable partial dentures for people who are missing some of their teeth
- complete dentures for people who are missing all of their teeth.
This page covers removable partial dentures (RPDs); you can learn more about complete dentures on our complete dentures page.
*Note that patients who are considering removable or complete dentures should also consider dental implants in their decision-making process. Dental implants are fantastic for replacing a small number of missing teeth, while implant dentures can be a life-changing solution for patients with loose or ill-fitting dentures (especially lower dentures).
What is a Removable Partial Denture?
A removable partial denture (RPD) is a dental prosthesis that is used to replace multiple missing teeth. If a patient is not a candidate for a fixed dental bridge, or a dental implant, then an RPD is an option. Generally, you will wear an RPD during the day in order to be able to eat comfortably and to be able to smile esthetically. At night, you remove the RPD to clean it and to give the tissues in the mouth a break from wearing the prosthesis.
How are RPD’s made?
An RPD can generally be made in three ways:
- The first has a metal base, with pink acrylic and denture teeth, and metal clasps to hold the denture in. These are the strongest, last the longest, are easy to adjust, and are best for chewing. Additional teeth can be added pretty easily down the road, too. They’re also the most expensive.
- The second is made out of rigid pink acrylic and denture teeth. It usually has 1-3 metal wire clasps to hold it in place. Acrylic-only partial dentures are lighter, can also have teeth added later, and are less expensive. However, they also break more easily and don’t stay in as well. The wire clasps just aren’t as strong as on the cast metal base. That means they don’t work as well for chewing, but they’re still pretty good.
- The 3rd type is made of nearly see-through and flexible pink acrylic, with the usual denture teeth. There’s no metal involved anywhere. These are very light and comfortable, but because they bend, they don’t work well for chewing. They’re good for appearance, not much more. Oh, and you can’t add teeth to them later, so what you get is it.
Is an RPD a Bridge?
No. Many people call removable partial dentures “bridges.” In dentistry, we use the word “bridge” to refer to a fixed bridge in your mouth. You can see pictures of some of our dental bridge patients at that link.
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Request an Appointment Online or call us at 704-364-7069.
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