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Flexible vs. Metal Partial Dentures

Losing teeth is no reason not to smile. With today’s scientific and engineering capabilities, you can fill your smile in with partial dentures that could have you feeling like yourself again. And these days, you have several options to choose from when consulting with your dentist to choose  the best replacement for you, from fit to material to feel. So let’s explore, compare and contrast two of the most popular types of partials that you might want to consult with your dentist about when finding a solution for missing teeth: flexible partial dentures and metal partial dentures.

Both flexible and metal partial dentures have benefits and drawbacks that are worth consulting with your dentist about.1 By understanding the full spectrum of each type, you can make a more informed decision after consulting with your dentist and feel comfortable with your dental investment.

What are flexible partial dentures?

Flexible dentures are typically made of a thin, thermoplastic material, such as nylon.1 Flexible dentures differ from their metal and acrylic counterparts primarily, and most obviously, in the material that they are made of. 1 This softer material allows this type of partial denture to flex and bend to fit the shape of your mouth—hence, its name.

Flexible dentures don’t require metal clasps to stay in place, which can be more comfortable to wear and less likely to show when smiling or speaking than traditional dentures.1 The material also means they’re less brittle and unlikely to break or shatter should they fall or get dropped.1

The pros of flexible partials

  • Flexible partials are thinner and softer, which can make them a more comfortable option.1
  • These partials don’t include metal parts and can look better aesthetically.1,3
  • Irritation is less likely, especially for patients who are allergic to acrylic.1

The cons of flexible partials

  • Flexible partial dentures tend to be a more expensive option than traditional metal partials.2
  • These partials may not last as long as those made with metal materials.1
  • Flexible partials are difficult to adjust and may need to be fully replaced should you need to add additional teeth to the areas that need to be filled in.1

What are metal partial dentures?

Metal partial dentures are a classic option for those looking for a teeth replacement solution. This type of partial denture features a metal base with acrylic teeth attaching to the metal.2 Metal dentures are typically made of cobalt chrome.2 However, the need for clasps or other kinds of attachments means there may be some potential for visible metal.1 Some people who choose metal partial dentures may opt for less visible precision attachments, which can be more aesthetically pleasing.1

Metal partials are more lightweight and less bulky than fully acrylic partial dentures but may still pose an issue for those with a resistance toward acrylic materials.3

The pros of metal partials

  • Metal dentures are longer-lasting and more easily adjusted.1,2
  • These dentures are made to blend in with your gums and teeth, so little metal could actually be visible.2
  • Metal framework partials are easier to adjust or add additional teeth to if you require further tooth extractions.1

The cons of metal partials

  • The metal clasps to hold these partials in place may be visible.1,2
  • The metal and acrylic materials can irritate the mouth of those with allergies and some people may not want metal in their mouth. Your dentist will advise you on the best material to use.1

Taking care of your flexible or metal partial dentures

No matter what you decide—flexible partial dentures vs. metal—it’s critical to take good care of your partials. A high-quality teeth replacement solution is an investment in yourself. You want to ensure your partials last as long as possible by preventing potential damage, while also making sure they don’t cause harm to your dental health and oral hygiene. 

Partial dentures require unique care, so it’s a good idea to use a cleanser specific to them, like Polident ProPartial products. The 3-step range is specially developed to cleanse partial dentures, help strengthen teeth and help protect against odor-causing bacteria. Polident ProPartial toothpaste and mouthwash strengthens your natural teeth’s defense with fluoride and fights plaque caused by bacteria.

Flexible vs. metal partial dentures: you decide

The type and material of your partial dentures is ultimately up to you after consultation with your dentist. It’s important to factor in cost, comfort, convenience and appearance when making your decision. At the end of the day, there’s no wrong choice as long as you feel good about and take care of your partials.

Explore products designed to keep your partials shining and you smiling.

Source Citations:

  1. Flexible Thermoplastic Denture Base. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3843478/. Accessed 12/16/21.
  2. Bridges and partial dentures. https://www.dentalhealth.org/bridges-and-partial-dentures. Accessed 12/16/21.
  3. Partial dentures. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/dentures-partial. Accessed 12/16/21.