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Types of Dental Partial Plates

author image Frank Whittemore
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.
Types of Dental Partial Plates
Types of Dental Partial Plates Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A dental partial plate, also called a removable partial denture, can help to restore teeth if only a few are lost. The device consists of false teeth, attached to a framework that fits snugly in the mouth. Replacing missing teeth with a removable partial denture can help provide a better bite surface in the mouth, protect true teeth from loss and restore an otherwise imperfect smile. Several types of removable partial plates are available.

Treatment Removable Partial Dentures

This type of partial is commonly referred to in dentistry as a "flipper." Flippers are made of acrylic material and are intended to be temporary, although many patients continue to wear them for years. Flippers can be constructed quickly and can be worn soon after a tooth has been extracted. This type of partial tends to be fragile; the acrylic material used to make it can be rather brittle.

Cast Metal Removable Partial Dentures

Among the oldest forms of dentistry, cast metal removable partial dentures offer significant advantages over flippers. The false teeth and acrylic material that simulates gum tissue are held in place by a metal framework. This framework is molded to the inside of the mouth and is held in place with clasps that attach to existing teeth. Because this type of denture never contacts the gum tissue itself, it prevents sore spots from occurring in the mouth. Cast metal removable partial dentures are very durable and will last a long time.

Flexible Framework Removable Partial Dentures

Recent improvements in materials used in dentistry allow for the development of flexible dental appliances. Plastics are used to replace metal within the partial. These plastics are very durable and can be colored to match the gums. They are also very strong and can be used to construct not only the denture but the clasps as well. At the same time, the material can be formed to be very thin, improving the level of comfort to the wearer.

Cast Metal/Plastic Partial Denture

An alternative to either cast metal or plastic partial dentures is a combination of both materials. Because the metal and plastic work together to form the clasps that hold the denture in place, sore spots are less likely to occur.

Nesbit Denture

The Nesbit removable partial denture is similar to a flipper and replaces teeth in a dental arch. Typical application of a Nesbit denture would be to replace a single molar missing between two other molars. The false tooth is held in place by a plastic framework that snaps around the two real molars.

CuSil Denture

CuSil dentures are near full dentures that have openings through the denture to allow any remaining teeth to fit through the denture. These teeth can help to stabilize the denture, making it more effective and comfortable. The openings in the denture are fitted with an elastic gasket that will fit snugly around the remaining real teeth.

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