Making A Partial--Why Are There So Many Steps?

A removable partial denture (partial) is used to replace missing teeth. Each partial is custom-made to fit the mouth it is made for. We use a dental laboratory to help us accomplish this. 

To accomplish that, we take impressions of your mouth. (Note: even if you are only getting one partial, we need to know what the teeth on the opposite arch look like.) From these impressions, we pour models.

We also need to record how your teeth come together. Sometimes we can do this at the same appointment that we take your impressions by means of a bite registration. Other times, we have to wait for wax rims to be made to fill in the spaces where you don't have teeth. 

The next step is the Try In. This allows us to check the fit of any framework components, check how the color of the teeth chosen matches your teeth, and check how your teeth come together with the partial in place. The teeth are set in wax to allow for them to be moved or changed if needed. In most cases the try in appointments take 1-2 visits but it is not uncommon to have 3 or more visits before you and we are satisfied. This is very important because once the partial is finished or processed, some changes become much more difficult to accomplish. Once you've signed the okay to process/finish the dental laboratory finalizes the appliance and sends it back for us to give to you to take home.

Often some slight adjustments are necessary before you take it home:

  • clasps may need to be tightened or loosened
  • slight adjustments to the teeth or acrylic may be needed so your teeth fit together well
  • sharp points or rough areas may need to be smoothed
  • areas that are too long may need to be reduced (it's much easier to take away than to add, so if the laboratory has any question, they'll often leave it a bit long knowing we can reduce it.)

After you wear it and use it, you may find additional areas that need to be adjusted. Often these can be done at our office so you bring your partial in and then leave with it again at the end of the appointment.