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Partial Dentures: Everything You Need To Know About Partial Dentures

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Teeth lost to tooth decay and oral trauma can do more than just affect your smile and your self-image. Missing teeth can severely affect your oral function, and your ability to safely chew food.

Partial dentures are one of the best ways to restore the basic form and function of your missing teeth. They can be used to replace one or more teeth on the top or bottom of your mouth. For most people, they’re the best alternative to the invasive surgeries required for multiple dental implants.

What Are Partial Dentures?

Close up photo of an old man (white, gray mustache) introducing in his mouth his partial dentures

Partial dentures are a special type of removal oral device that replicates the look and basic function of multiple missing teeth. Upper partial dentures tend to be more common. Especially if you need to replace missing teeth that appear in your smile. Though there are certainly different types of partial dentures that can be used to replicate just about any missing tooth in your mouth.

A partial dentures costs is often less than permanent dental restorations like dental implants and dental bridges. Yet they still look very much like real teeth, with a base that closely matches your natural gum tissue.

How Do Partial Dentures Work?

Partial dentures are created to replicate the look, shape, and function of your missing teeth. They rely on the surrounding teeth to help anchor them in place. Most people will apply a small bead of denture adhesive to the gumline base to help secure it in place. This also helps block out food particles, which can gradually irritate your natural gum tissue

Why You Need Partial Dentures?

You might need partial dentures to restore the form and function of multiple teeth. Especially if you are dealing with a limited budget, or you simply don’t want to wait for the 6 to 12 months it typically takes to restore multiple missing teeth with dental implants. 

Types of Partial Dentures

There are different types of partial dentures to consider. If you look online at different types of partial denture pictures, you can see some of the more common configurations. Where you are missing the tooth in your mouth, as well as your budget and how prevalent the partial denture will be in your smile might influence the material, you’re your dentist recommends.


Acrylic partial dentures are one of the more cost-effective denture materials. They have an acrylic base plate that conforms directly to the natural structure of your existing gumline. Acrylic partial denture front teeth closely replicate normal teeth. However, they aren’t as durable as a lot of other partial denture materials. This gives them a realistic lifespan of around 5 years. 

Cast metal

As the name implies, this type of partial denture is created from a special type of cast metal, which gives a very durable framework for the artificial teeth that are set in an acrylic resin. This makes cast metal partial dentures stronger, and more durable than their acrylic counterparts. They are very popular for partial dentures for back teeth as they can handle increased bite force, chewing, and grinding. 


Flexible partial dentures tend to be smaller and are meant to only replace one or perhaps two teeth. They often include flaps or other covers that closely replicate natural gum tissue, which also makes them popular partial dentures for front teeth.

three images (left to right): cast metal dentures, acrylic dentures and flexible dentures

The Benefits of Partial Dentures

There are several benefits to investing in a partial denture over other dental restorations. Though they certainly aren’t for everyone and every situation. Before choosing a partial denture to restore the form and function of your missing teeth, you should consider the following pros and cons

  • Fast turnaround time
  • Low cost
  • Looks like natural teeth
  • Easy to use
  • Restores basic oral function
  • Limited lifespan of 5 to 10 years
  • Requires denture adhesive for maximum comfort
  • Allows oral bone structure to change over time
  • Can become lose as oral structure changes
  • Usually only partially covered by dental insurance
  • Not as strong as natural tooth enamel or a dental crown

There are also some partial dentures problems that are common over time. Since there is nothing solidifying the underlying bone structure, the natural surrounding teeth can start to change their alignment in time.

Not only can this cause the partial denture to fit loosely, or uncomfortably. It can also put the surrounding teeth at increased risk of chips and fractures in the tooth enamel as you will no longer have a perfect bite pattern.

What Is a Partial Denture's Typical Cost?

If you’re wondering how much partial dentures cost without insurance the size, type of material, the dentist’s rate, and your insurance coverage will all be critical factors. The average cost of a partial denture usually ranges between $1,400 to $1,800 before insurance coverage is applied

Type of Denture MaterialPrice Range
Metal Partial DentureAround $1,800
Acrylic Partial DentureAround $1,400
Flexible Partial DentureAround $1,700

Flexible partial dentures cost can vary the most as it typically needs the most customization and alterations to ensure it fits seamlessly with your surrounding natural teeth.

If you go to the dentist without insurance for a partial denture, you might have to shoulder the full cost. If you apply for dental insurance with missing teeth, there might be a waiting period that you have to endure before they activate major procedure coverage for things like dental restoration.

Are Partial Dentures Covered by Insurance?

Most dental insurance plans offer 50% coverage for a partial denture. This also includes the cost of visiting the dentist and the diagnostics they might need to perform to assess your tooth loss and is usually considered a major procedure in terms of your responsible out-of-pocket costs.

If you are in desperate need of a partial denture, but your budget is limited, you might want to consider dental tourism. This is an increasingly popular strategy being used by people living near an international border, where dental care is cheaper in a neighboring country.

Partial Dentures Before And After Results

If you look at pictures of partial dentures front teeth online for pictures of before and after partial dentures, you’ll see just how life-like they look. While also restoring your basic oral function allowing you to bite, chew and grind most foods as if they were real teeth.

A lot of people who have been living for a long time with missing teeth in their smile will often tell you that front teeth partial dentures changed my life! Not just by restoring their oral function, but it helps them to regain the self-image and self-confidence that comes from having an attractive smile.

How Long Does a Partial Denture Last?

Some of the more affordable acrylic partial dentures will only last up to 5 years. Though the more robust cast metal dentures can last for 7 to 10 years before you need to go in for an updated set.

Dental Implant vs Partial Denture

Dental implants are a more permanent and more costly form of dental restoration. Though they typically require multiple dental procedures to restore the oral structure, install a titanium abutment, and finally install a dental crown. This can take as much as six months to a year. Whereas a partial denture might only take a few weeks to be made in a dental lab.

  • As strong as a dental crown
  • Looks more like a natural tooth
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Last for decades or more
  • Costly to restore even one single tooth
  • Not all providers offer multi-tooth dental implant restorations
  • Takes 6 to 12 months to complete
  • Often requires one or more invasive oral surgeries

You’ll also need to shop for the best dental insurance for implants. Not all insurance companies offer the same coverage. So, you’ll have take the time to find the best one for your budget, and consider that many times there is a waiting period before they offer maximum coverage for major dental restorations.

It’s important to note that the crown material used in the final dental implant won’t be as porous as natural tooth enamel. If you drink a lot of dark beverages or smoke, your natural teeth can gradually start to not match with the dental implant. So you might have to weigh the cost of veneers vs implants, if cosmetic appearance is also a factor.

Bridge or Partial Denture: Which One Is Best for You?

A dental bridge is another effective way to restore one or more missing teeth without invasive oral surgery or a dental implant. Yet the restoration has a longer lifespan and slightly higher cost than a partial denture.

A dental bridge essentially has a crown on each end that is anchored to abutments created from the preserved cores of the natural teeth bordering the void in your mouth. These dental crowns on each end are seamlessly secured to one or more artificial teeth.

While dental bridges are more common for restoring a single missing tooth, it is possible for them to restore two or more teeth. However, the larger the dental bridge and the more teeth it needs to replace, the less stable it will be. Because of this most people choose not to have a dental bridge restore more than two or three teeth.


Which partial denture type is the best?

If you need to restore one or two teeth that will appear in your smile, then a flexible partial denture might be best for you. If you need to restore one or more teeth in the back of your mouth, then a cast metal partial denture might be best as it can handle more robust bite force, chewing, and grinding.

How to clean partial dentures?

Cleaning a partial denture typically requires some light brushing to remove plaque and any food particles. Then soak it in a solution overnight or store it in the case provided. Your dentist can help you understand any other special care requirements.

Can you eat with partial dentures?

You can eat most normal foods with a partial denture. However, you might want to be selective about biting off tough pieces of meat, and hard fruits with your natural teeth. Even the most robustly made partial denture still isn’t going to be as strong as natural tooth enamel.

How to make partial dentures fit better?

One of the ways to ensure a partial denture fits firmly for as long as possible is to wear a retainer when you don’t have the partial denture in. There are different types of retainers, and your dentist can help you understand which one is best for your situation.

How much does partial dentures cost?

The average cost of a partial denture ranges from around $1500 to $1,800. Though the more teeth it needs to replace and the more special features that need to be integrated into the partial can also have a dramatic effect on the overall price.

Should I get a partial denture or a dental bridge?

If you need to restore a single missing tooth, then a dental bridge is probably the better option. It will have a longer lifespan and require less care, without the need for any sort of invasive oral surgery. If you need to restore two or more teeth, then a partial denture might be the better option as dental bridges start to decrease in stability when used to restore more than two teeth.

Do partial dentures fall out?

Partial dentures can be prone to falling out as the oral structure in your mouth gradually changes over time. Early on you can compensate for this by using a small bead of denture adhesive to maximize the connection with your natural gum tissues.

Could a partial denture be created in a single day?

Some dental clinics have a dental lab on-site or nearby that might be able to create your partial denture in one day. Though this is not the norm, and most require two weeks or more to have an off-site dental lab create your new partial denture. If you do find a dentist who can create a partial denture in a single day, be prepared to pay a premium price!

Can I sleep with partial dentures?

You can take a short nap with a partial denture in, though it’s best to always take it out before falling asleep. If it comes loose while you’re sleeping, or you grind your teeth the partial denture could be damaged, and you could possibly choke on it.

How long may I wear partial dentures after having a tooth extracted?

The general rule of thumb is to wait a few months before being fitted for dentures after tooth extraction. You want to give your gums time to heal and come into their final shape to ensure the most accurate fit for the base of your new partial denture. Sometimes this can take as much as 6 to 12 months depending on the available amount of oral tissue in that part of your mouth.


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