Partials are completely different from bridges. A partial is a device that can be removed and it replaces all the teeth that are missing in either the upper or lower jaw. The dental term for a partial is removable partial denture. When dentists talk to each other, they use the term partials. A partial is commonly recommended when there are not enough teeth available for a bridge. The bridge is more natural since it does not have to be removed. A bridge is much like having natural teeth.
There are two types of partials. One type is made of all plastic with wire clasps. Denture teeth are used to replace missing teeth and the acrylic rests on the gums to support the denture teeth. The other type of partial uses a metal framework as the main foundation for the removable appliance. Use of metal allows the partial to be thin in the areas that the partial has to rest on to get support from the tissue, making the partial more comfortable. Partials need support from just resting on the gum tissue where teeth are missing, but they also engage certain teeth to stabilize the partial. Thin wires called clasps are usually used to provide stability for the partials.
Partials are worn successfully by many patients and they are very often the best treatment for multiple missing teeth.