Removable partial dentures, often called removable bridges by patients, are appliances worn by the patient that replace one or more missing teeth. Partial dentures are made to fit either the upper or lower jaw and the partial is designed to replace any and all missing teeth in the affected jaw. The partial denture is typically made of metal and acrylic and uses small clasps to attach to some of the remaining teeth. Wearing a partial denture requires an adjustment period to become accustomed to the feel of the partial, just like it takes some time to get used to a new pair of glasses or a new pair of shoes.
The partial denture must be removed from the mouth before the partial or the natural teeth are cleaned. It is very important to keep the partial and the supporting natural teeth very clean to prevent tooth decay and gum problems from occurring beneath the partial denture. Partial dentures typically have a very long service life, often decades, if they are taken care of properly.