A One-Tooth Removable Partial Denture
If someone is missing just one tooth, how can you replace it?
Immediately after an extraction a dentist will not be recommending a one-tooth-removable-partial. The solution after extraction is a temporary “flipper”. A flipper covers up the space with a denture tooth and stays in by resting on the gums. Sometimes it has a metal clasp which wraps around one or more teeth to help keep the tooth in. Flippers are typically intended to be a temporary solution, since they can be challenging to keep in.
Implant or Fixed Dental Bridge
Traditionally, the dentist will recommend an implant or a fixed dental bridge (where crowns are drilled on the teeth on either side of the space and a missing tooth is attached to the adjacent teeth holding the missing tooth).
Although the above final options do work, some patients have difficulties. Finances play a significant role and can influence a patient’s choice. Also, the bone support, anchoring the teeth on either side of the missing tooth, may be inadequate to support a bridge. A “Nesbit” or spider partial is an appliance that can work in the case of inadequate bone support. This appliance has just the one tooth and clasps on the teeth on either side of the space.
Years ago there was a problem with these because patients could accidentally swallow the metal clasps. This unfortunate situation could cause a medical problem when trying to retrieve them. Other than that, patients tended to be happy with this arrangement. Now there are flexible clasps which are not metal and much more comfortable for patients to wear. They are removable. Patients can usually eat quite well with them. They simply remove the partial when they go to sleep, remembering to clean the partial with a brush (a partial will accumulate plaque and tartar just like a tooth when in the mouth) and store the partial as one would with any dental appliance (in a case).
Part of the protocol of care of this partial is to keep them away from pets – they love to chew them!