When we are children, losing a tooth means a visit from the tooth fairy and a chance to improve our smile by filling the gap. As adults, however, missing teeth can cause a host of other issues, such as reducing our ability to chew and speak normally, creating an unattractive smile and affecting the stability of neighbouring natural teeth. If you are missing some or all of your teeth, a partial denture is a great solution to regain a fully functional and healthy smile.

Partial dentures are a removable appliance that fills in the gaps left by missing teeth. They are designed to match the shape and color of your natural teeth so that they blend in seamlessly with the rest of your gumline when you open and smile. They also provide a stable grip to help prevent other teeth from shifting in position. Unlike dental bridges, which are fixed appliances, partial dentures can be removed at home for cleaning and maintenance.

There are several types of partial denture available depending on your clinical needs and budget. These include the acrylic and cast metal varieties, which are held in place by clasps or precision attachments respectively. Another option is the flexible plastic variety, which uses thermoplastic clips that are hidden inside the gum line and therefore do not show when you smile. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of denture, and your dentist or prosthetist will discuss these with you during your consultation.

Your new partial will take some getting used to, and this is no different to adjusting to any other foreign item in your mouth. Some people may experience a temporary feeling of bulkiness in the mouth or sore spots while they are adjusting, but these effects should subside as you become accustomed to your new partial.

You will need to care for your partial carefully, as it is subject to the same stresses and wear as your natural teeth. You should brush your partial daily with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste or special denture cleaning tablets. You should also floss around the abutment teeth to remove plaque and promote good oral health. It is important to store your partial in clean water at night to prevent bacteria build-up and to protect it from breakage.

A well-made and fitted partial should fit comfortably in your mouth without causing any discomfort or soreness. You should not bite down on your partial, as this can put unnecessary stress on the abutment teeth and could lead to fractures. It is important to practice biting into a towel until you are confident that your partial will not slip when you are eating and speaking.

You should avoid sticky foods or sweets as these can increase your risk of food stuck under the partial and causing infection. You should also attend regular dental appointments to keep your gums and natural teeth healthy. Your dentist or prosthetist will give you advice on the best way to maintain your partial and how to care for it at home.