How to Adjust a Partial Denture

This article outlines some best practices for adjusting partial dentures based on their material type

Carbide burs are recommended for all material adjustments. We do suggest using an adjustment set along with carbide burs for flexible partials, similar to this photo shown.


Metal / Acrylic / Flexible 

    • Use pliers to adjust the clasp at the terminal third (last 1/3 of the clasp).
    • Bend the clasp outward for more relief.
    • Gently bend the clasp inward for retention and outward for relief.
    • Use bur at high speed with the water on and apply low pressure to:
      • Provide relief on guide planes and intaglio 
      • Trim down flange


  • Soak the partial in hot water for 2–3 minutes.
  • Once the partial is heated, it will become more flexible. Hold the clasps in the ideal position for 1-2 minutes as they cool.
  • Use a bur with low pressure to adjust the remaining tight areas.

Denture Teeth

A bur is best used for occlusal adjustment. A rubber wheel is best used for facial adjustment and polishing.

  • If the teeth are too long:
    • Using carbon articulation paper, adjust the pontic teeth that are hitting high
    • Use bur at high speed with the water on and apply low pressure to shave down teeth to the proper length 
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