Many patients are missing just one or two teeth on the sides of their jaws and either are not ready for implant restorations, or do not want them. Fixed bridges are an option that requires irreversibly preparing teeth adjacent to the edentulous space. Nesbit partials can provide an adequate and uncomplicated replacement for missing teeth, either as a temporary or permanent solution.

Traditionally these ‘one tooth partial dentures’ were made of a combination of a chromium cobalt metal framework with two metal clasps and an acrylic portion to replace the missing tooth and gums. Unlike more conventional partials, these do not have a portion that crosses the arch (either a palatal horshoe section for the maxilla or a lingual bar for the mandible) This provides a partial that is small and easy to get used to.

Some time ago dentists started making entirely out of valplast, a vinyl material which is metal free and highly cosmetic. These are quite good as temporary replacements, but they are flexible and are not as functional as the traditional rigid nesbits. Their clasps are made of pink valplast and tend to blend into the gum area. These are now commonly used as interim replacements while patients are waiting for implant restoration. They do require a natural tooth posterior and anterior to the edentulous space and are not appropriate for “free end saddle” situations (patient has no posterior tooth to support the partial denture)