Partial Denture Questions: What Are Precision Attachments?

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While partial dentures often use metal clasps to anchor the denture on to adjacent teeth, you may have other attachment options. For example, your dentist may mention that you could have a denture made with precision attachments.

How do these attachments work and what are their benefits over traditional clasps? 

What Are Precision Attachments?

Traditional partial dentures use clasps to fit them in place. These clasps hook over the teeth at either side of the denture and help it stay put. Precision attachments work slightly differently. Rather than using clasps, these dentures use clips. One of these clips is typically placed on a crowned tooth or implant next to the gap; the other goes on the denture itself. When you put the denture in, its clip slots into the one on the tooth. This system can be used for semi-permanent or removable dentures.

What Are the Benefits of Precision Attachments?

The clasps on regular partial dentures do give the teeth some support; however, you may find that the denture still moves around a little. The clasps themselves may move on their holding teeth, making the denture feel unstable. So, you may find that it isn't all that easy to eat on your denture, especially if you eat harder foods. Food may also get stuck under the denture more easily if it does move about when you eat. Partial dentures that have precision attachments are usually held in place more securely. The clip system gives the denture more stability so it should feel more fixed in place. So, you may feel more confident wearing it even when you're eating.

Dentures with precision attachments also have some cosmetic benefits. If a denture has clasps that fit over other teeth, then these clasps may be visible on the front of a tooth. While this may not be an issue with back teeth, it can be a problem if your denture replaces some of your front teeth. The clips on precision attachments are hidden on the back of a tooth. They also aren't visible on the denture itself. So, once your denture is in, you can't see the clips at all.

Depending on the type of precision attachments you want to use, you may need extra work done on your teeth before you can wear this kind of partial denture. For example, you may need a crown or implant clip added. Your dentist can fill you in on how this might work for you.