How to insert and remove a partial denture

Removing a partial denture

You have just had your new partial denture fitted and it looks great! Understandably, despite the careful instructions your dental prosthetist has given, you may still be a bit vague on how to correctly insert and remove it. Maybe you were a little distracted by your dazzling smile when they handed you the mirror. And even though you may have successfully taken the new partial denture in and out in the surgery under the prosthetist’s instructions, the fact that you’re here and reading this article means a refresher on how to manage this wonderful little smile fixer could be useful. We have asked our dental prosthetists to share some tips on how to insert or remove your partial denture and the pitfalls to avoid. But first …

Why do I need to remove my partial denture?

Perhaps you have wondered if your new denture fits so snugly, why would you bother removing it?

While your partial denture provides an effective substitute for your natural teeth, it is not quite the same as having natural teeth. You must follow certain protocols in order to maintain your new partial denture and your overall oral health.

Removing your denture allows for thorough cleaning and hygienic maintenance of your mouth and remaining natural teeth. Once your denture is removed, you can more readily access the space the denture usually occupies and clean the adjacent teeth. Cleaning your new denture is also easier when you have it in your hand. You can see and therefore thoroughly clean its crevices and surfaces.

Removing your denture at night gives your mouth tissues a rest and avoids the possibility of choking during sleep, especially if you suffer with sleep apnoea or other medical conditions.

How to insert and remove your denture

Knowing the correct way to insert and remove your partial denture can alleviate some of the anxiety patients often feel about adjusting to their new partial denture.

The approach you take depends on the design of your denture and the materials from which it is made.

Your dental prosthetist will guide you in the correct procedure when you have your new denture fitted. However, because everyone absorbs instructions in different ways, you may find the following advice from our dental prosthetists useful.

The insertion and removal of your partial denture is done along what dental prosthetists refer to as the ‘path of insertion’. This simply means the most efficient direction to properly place the denture into the optimal position. The reverse direction is taken when removing the denture.

The step by step procedure


Using your fingers and thumbs, position your denture into your mouth evenly. The false teeth are placed above the gap they are designed to fill. The clasps rest on the natural or abutting teeth they are designed to clasp to.

Press the denture in evenly with your fingers until the clasps slide over the abutting teeth and the denture clicks into place on each side.

This will ‘seat’ the denture firmly in position. The clicking noise or sensation occurs as the clasp goes up and over the undercut and into position.

At this point the denture should feel snug and stable. Never force a partial denture into place. If it is inserted correctly, you will not need to force your denture into position.


To remove an upper partial denture, hook your thumbnail or fingernail at the gum line between the denture and your cheek, pulling down gently and evenly to release the clasps. Follow the path of insertion in reverse to remove the denture from your mouth.
To remove a lower partial denture, hook your thumbnails or fingernails either side of the denture edge where it meets your gums, use a gentle wiggle or upward see-sawing motion to release it. Once the clasps have disengaged from your natural teeth, follow the reverse path of insertion to take the denture from your mouth.

Important Note: Avoid biting together until your new denture is completely seated. Doing so before your denture is properly in place may compromise its structural integrity. Further, biting the denture into place means you could be forcing it contrary to the designated path of insertion. The result of forced or incorrect insertion could be a loosening fit, possible clasp breakage, or even a fractured denture.

What happens if my denture is too difficult to remove?

Above all, be patient with yourself. New partial dentures or newly adjusted partials may take a bit of getting used to but will loosen up with wear. You will also become more adept at insertion and removal as you grow accustomed to managing your new partial denture. Those patients without fingernails or those with arthritic fingers may take longer to master the insertion and removal of their partial dentures. Practise and perseverance deliver the desired results.

Depending on the denture design, pressing down on both sides equally, then wiggling your denture is often the best way to remove it. Yanking it from one side is less likely to be effective and may damage the denture or injure sensitive mouth tissues.

If you are struggling to remove a new partial denture or one that has been recently adjusted, this may be because the clasps are a little tight and need readjusting by your prosthetist.

Remember, your dental prosthetist is only too happy to assist with any issues you are having.

What happens if my partial denture is stuck and I can’t remove it?

Occasionally dentures get stuck because of food is wedged beneath them.

If this happens, carefully try to dislodge the offending piece of food. If this proves unsuccessful, see your dental prosthetist.

Don’t be tempted to use any kind of implement to dislodge your denture. Damage to delicate mouth tissues or your denture can result in pain or need for repairs.

Where is the best place to remove or insert my denture?

In front of your bathroom mirror is the best place to remove or insert your denture so you can see what you are doing. Dentures become slippery with saliva and wet hands and are easily dropped. Placing a hand towel or something soft into the hand basin avoids disasters.

What about inserting or removing my partial denture if I’ve just had extractions?

Aftercare is crucial to your oral health and the long-term success of your denture. So, if you get an immediate partial denture it is important to ask your dentist for instructions on how to insert and remove the denture, especially during the healing phase. Remember your mouth tissue has been traumatised by the extraction procedure, so be gentle and follow post extraction advice carefully. Some degree of tenderness is to be expected when inserting or removing your partial denture after extractions. However, this will diminish as your mouth heals.

A final word

The benefits of having a partial denture to replace missing teeth far outweigh any inconvenience of adjusting to something new. You will be reminded of this every time you look in the mirror or enjoy your favourite foods. Be patient with yourself during the period of adjustment. Draw on support from other partial denture wearers.

Remember, your dental prosthetist is here to help with any questions or issues you may have. Don’t hesitate to call.

Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is located in the heart of Tweed Heads, southern Gold Coast. Finally have the smile you deserve with handcrafted, quality dentures.

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