What is a Temporary Partial Denture?

Medically Reviewed by Robert Brennan on June 30, 2023
3 min read

If you’ve lost your teeth because of trauma or disease, you may find yourself feeling too self-conscious to reveal your smile. Partial dentures are a cosmetic dental option your dentist might recommend for a more appealing smile. They can also fill in spaces left by missing teeth. 

Temporary partial dentures, or immediate dentures, are removable replacement teeth attached to a frame made of metal or plastic. They are used for a short time before permanent partial dentures are made. If you’ve just lost your teeth, you might get immediate dentures first.

Getting a partial denture for your mouth typically includes having to wear a temporary partial denture. It remains in place until your final, permanent partial denture is complete.

The base of a partial denture is often pink or dyed to match your natural gum color. Dentists typically recommend them to patients with one or more natural teeth remaining in their top or bottom jaw. Sometimes the dentist must place crowns on your natural teeth to help with the fit of the partial denture.

Some dentists use precision attachments to provide a better fit to your teeth versus clasps. They tend to look better, though they can be more costly.

You should go over the available options for temporary partial dentures with your dentist to help you decide which design might be work best with your mouth. 

The experience of getting partial dentures starts with getting your mouth ready. This may require your dentist to perform some additional dental work, including:

Once your mouth is ready, your dentist makes a cast, or impression, of your gums and what teeth you have left. They also measure your jaw and make a note of how it relates to your teeth to properly account for spacing issues. 

After these steps are done, your dentist will usually provide you with a temporary partial denture. Many people get these immediate dentures the same day they come in for lost teeth.

Your dentist will let you know how long you should keep in your temporary partial denture and what you should do to take proper care of it. People typically hang on to an immediate denture until their final partial denture is ready. It usually takes around two months to create a permanent partial denture.

Your immediate dentures keep you from having spaces in your mouth left behind by missing teeth. You keep the dentures in your mouth while it heals. Any new hardware in your mouth may feel uncomfortable.

It can take a few weeks to get over the awkward feeling of your partial dentures. It takes time for your tongue and muscles to learn how to hold the new appliance in place. You may feel some soreness and irritation during the adjustment period. That feeling should lessen as you get used to your partial dentures.

There may also be a period of adjustment after you get your permanent partial dentures. It's common for people to visit the dentist for follow-up appointments to adjust the fit of their immediate or permanent partial dentures. Let your dentist know if you have serious discomfort from your new dentures.

You may find your speech affected by having dentures in your mouth. You may also produce more saliva as your mouth learns to adjust to your appliance. 

You should follow your doctor’s recommendations about having temporary and permanent partial dentures. If they tell you to keep the denture in, resist the temptation to take them out because you haven’t gotten used to them.

Many dentists recommend that people with immediate dentures wear them while they sleep. This helps them identify where there might be problems with the permanent partial dentures. Let your dentist know about any issues with your immediate dentures. You shouldn’t continue wearing temporary partial dentures after receiving your permanent partial dentures.

Here are some tips you can follow to help you become more comfortable with your immediate and permanent partial dentures:

  • Practice talking and reading so your tongue gets used to how your dentures feel.
  • Get used to inserting and removing your dentures.
  • Don’t force dentures into your mouth. This can damage the clasps that keep them in place.
  • Ease into eating by starting with soft foods cut into small pieces.
  • Use both sides of your mouth to chew.