A “partial” is a form of dental prosthetic that allows for the placement of a series of artificial teeth in an area where healthy teeth used to exist. They can be made from a variety of materials, and can contain as many teeth as are missing in either jaw. However, once all teeth are lost in either the mandibular (lower) or maxillary (upper) jaws, a complete (or, full) denture would be necessary. As such, partials are often referred to as “partial dentures.” This dental procedure code refers to a partial utilized in the “mandibular” jaw.
When a person experiences the loss of several teeth in either jaw, outside of dental implants, or a bridge, the only real solution is a partial denture. This prosthetic allows for a fairly aesthetic look, and reasonable level of comfort due to the anchoring effect provided by the mouth's remaining healthy teeth. A partial is designed to be affixed to these teeth, which not only act as a strong stabilizer for the prosthetic, but can enhance the appearance of your smile by making the partial seem all the more “real”.
The partial described in this code is constructed of a cast metal base, with the remaining body comprised of acrylic resin. This type of denture provides excellent strength and reasonable cosmetic appeal, but wearers may find them somewhat uncomfortable given the metal framework. Modern materials science is providing more choice in this arena, and comfortable forms of dentures do exist, as is the case with flexible denture base resin.
The procedure for making a partial is akin to that of making a bridge, albeit with a few more steps. In fact, the cast metal, resin base partial described in this dental code can take up to five visits until the final fitting. Fabrication of such a partial starts with an impression mold, as well as palate, tooth, and bite measurements, and a recording of tooth color and shade. These details are then forwarded to a dental lab that will fabricate the metal framework, which when complete will be forwarded back to the dental office. If the fit is a match, the next step would be to create a wax mold of the partial, which again would be returned to the dental office for a fitting. If it too is correct and to the liking of the dentist and the wearer, then finally the custom partial would be created for a final fitting.