What is a partial maxillary denture

Partial dentures

Partial dentures are removable dentures that are anchored to the remaining teeth. They are used to restore the chewing function, but also phonetics (language) and cosmetics in the dentition. A partial prosthesis consists of plastic teeth, which are attached to a so-called metal prosthesis base surrounded by plastic. In contrast to bridges, partial dentures can usually be expanded or supplemented if teeth are lost again. Here, the dental technician inserts plastic teeth into the old prosthesis after taking an impression and before extracting the tooth or teeth concerned, provided that it is still functional. The extended prosthesis can be used immediately after the diseased tooth has been removed. In contrast to full prostheses, partial prostheses leave the front part of the palate free, which fulfills an important function for the stop of the tongue when speaking and for the sensation of taste.

When a partial denture should be used instead of a fixed bridge restoration in a gap dentition is often difficult to decide and to weigh individually. As a guide, there should be more healthy teeth in a suitable position than missing teeth for a fixed restoration. If the loss of further teeth is foreseeable, the tendency is more towards a prosthesis. Due to the individual situation in the mouth, a large number of variations are possible for planning. In addition, when designing a partial denture, the periodontal condition, the age of the patient and his or her aesthetic and chewing comfort requirements naturally play an important role.


Basically, a distinction must be made between purely removable partial prostheses and combined _ fixed and removable - partial prostheses.

In the case of removable prostheses, the prosthesis holds the remaining teeth solely through brackets. The natural teeth themselves are not changed and may only serve as support. As a temporary replacement, a prosthesis made entirely of plastic with filigree bent brackets made of steel wire can be made.

If, on the other hand, a long-term restoration is desired, a so-called model cast prosthesis made of chrome-cobalt-molybdenum is constructed. This has more stable cast clips for support, stabilization and anchoring, which are connected to the metal prosthesis base at the same time. The plastic teeth are fixed on this in the area of ​​the tooth gaps. Occasionally, ceramic teeth are also used, but due to their higher weight, they have not caught on on the market. A so-called bracket, which runs across the palate or under the tongue, gives the prosthesis overall stability and, above all, distributes the chewing pressure over the entire base of the prosthesis. In the case of partial dentures, in contrast to bridges, the chewing pressure is not transmitted via the teeth, but via the prosthesis saddles to the toothless jaw sections. Accordingly, pressure points can occur under or on the edge of the plastic of the partial prosthesis. The mucous membrane is very thin over the alveolar ridges and initially reacts with the typical signs of inflammation such as reddening, swelling and pain. If the prosthesis is left on for a long time, it can even lead to ulceration, or even to the exposure of the bone surface. Overall, mucosal wounds heal very quickly within a few days if the damaging cause is eliminated. Therefore, disturbing areas should be eliminated as quickly as possible through targeted grinding.

In comparison, the combined fixed, removable prosthesis offers a more appealing aesthetic and, above all, higher quality functionality. Retaining elements in the form of brackets cannot be seen here, as the support is provided by telescopic crowns, attachments, bolts, bars, buttons, etc. built into artificial teeth. The teeth of the remaining dentition are provided with a fixed fit by special crowns or anchoring elements and used as a support. The prosthesis, in turn, engages extremely precisely in the oral cavity, as with a door hinge, via the matching connecting element incorporated into it. The chewing load is thus distributed over the teeth included in the construction and the mucous membrane covered by the base of the prosthesis. Combination work is recommended when teeth have to be crowned on the one hand and there is already considerable tooth loss on the other. With the combination work, there is a large number of possible combinations due to the variable remaining teeth and the choice of connecting element. Intensive individual planning is required, in which the age, the aesthetic demands, the dexterity of the patient as well as other illnesses and the financial situation must not be disregarded.

In terms of the technical process, the combined work is a bit more complex. Overall, however, several visits to the dentist are necessary for both partial dentures before the patient can go home with his new dentures. The cooperation with the dental technician must be precisely coordinated, and an additional dentist appointment may be required. However, a good and precise restoration is undoubtedly worth the extra effort.

It is important to remove and clean the prosthesis when you brush your teeth in the morning and in the evening and, if necessary, after meals. An antibacterial fizzy solution is not absolutely necessary, but can rather be used as an additive twice a month. Intensive cleaning with a little toothpaste and a soft toothbrush is much more effective. After the remaining teeth in the oral cavity have been cleaned according to your requirements, the prosthesis is reinserted. A fixed prosthesis should remain in the oral cavity at night, as long as the dentist has not made other recommendations.


Given the multitude of design options, it is difficult to make predictions. Proactive and solid planning can result in a satisfactory dentition situation over several years. However, it must never be overlooked that dentures are exposed to extreme stresses due to daily use, and consequently constant checks regarding their fit and degree of wear must be observed.