A denture is a removable option for replacing missing teeth
. It can be a partial denture
meaning you have some natural teeth remaining or a complete denture
meaning you have no teeth in that jaw i.e. you are edentulous.
Partial dentures is an abbreviation for 'removable partial dentures' or RPD for short, (sometimes called plates instead of dentures). I guess a 'fixed partial denture' would be a dental bridge
, but I can’t say I have ever heard it call that.
I have also heard partial dentures referred to as ‘removable bridges’; perhaps as an attempt to get away from the stigma of wearing a ‘denture’
to replace your missing teeth.
The word ‘denture’ conjures up the thought of your granny and her teeth in a glass of water by the side of the bed. Whilst with complete dentures, this image is not too far from reality, partial dentures are quite different. They can replace just a single tooth or nearly every tooth and every combination in-between. They have many different applications and need to be appreciated for what they are- an economical way to give you back your smile and teeth to eat with.
You would be surprised at the number of people who are walking around with them; including many in their twenties who have suffered tooth loss for one reason or another. Well made partial dentures are very discreet and the non- dentist in a normal social situation would most likely have no clue that they were being worn.