Partial Denture or a Dental Bridge? 

What is the difference between a partial denture and a dental bridge?


A partial denture is a dental prosthodontic appliance (artificial tooth or teeth) that can be removed from the mouth and cleaned like conventional dentures.  Partial dentures are often referred to as removable partial dentures or RPD’s.  Partial dentures are one option available to replace missing teeth.  Artificial teeth are added to an acrylic base with metal clasps that hook and fit around existing teeth located on either side of the missing teeth. These clasps help to stabilize the partial denture and hold it in place.


A dental bridge, however, is different from a partial denture.  It is another option available to replace missing teeth.  A dental bridge is a dental prosthetic device that is permanently anchored in the mouth and is also referred to as a fixed partial denture.  A dental bridge literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth are missing.  Teeth adjacent to the gap are prepared and capped crowns and then the replacement teeth are attached to those crowns to form a bridge.


While conventional fixed dental bridges are highly effective in restoring oral health to the mouth, they do require the natural teeth surrounding the gap to be trimmed down and capped with crowns that will support the bridge.  Implant-supported bridges are an ideal alternative for some patients who have sufficient jawbone density.  Dental implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, where they integrate into the bone and can be used to support the bridge without the need for alteration of natural, healthy teeth.


Both partial dentures and dental bridges are options for replacing missing teeth.  Every patient is unique.  To learn if you are a good candidate for a partial denture or a dental bridge, with or without dental implants, schedule an initial appointment with Dr. Gulbransen or Dr. Recksiedler, both trained specialists and Prosthodontists.  After evaluating your mouth, Dr. Gulbransen or Dr. Recksiedler will advise you of all the options available to you to restore your beautiful smile.




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