Different Types of Partial Dentures and How to Choose?

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Types of Partial Dentures

There are different types of partial dentures which are a type of non-removable and removable dentures depending on the needs of the individual.  The removable partial denture types are acrylic, cast metal, and flexible partial dentures (Dura-Flex). The non-removable dentures are traditional fixed bridges and implant-supported fixed bridges.

  • These types are the more common types of partial dentures. Each type of denture option will be further discussed in their individual sections listed below.

What are partial dentures?

A partial denture is a type of denture that is made to replace the missing teeth in your dentition. They are essentially replacement teeth and are made to look like your natural teeth.

  • All denture options such as complete dentures and implant-supported dentures are removable dentures to allow for proper care and cleaning of the false teeth.

Types of partial dentures

Removable partial dentures are designed to replace partially missing teeth when the gap is too big to replace with a fixed partial denture (bridge), or the remaining teeth are periodontally compromised with bone loss around the teeth, or when all back teeth are missing.

  • A single tooth or “Flipper” removable denture is another type of denture designed to replace 1-3 teeth on one side. This is a cost-effective way to fill up the gap in your smile.

Acrylic partial dentures

Acrylic partial dentures are made of a pink acrylic base with attached artificial teeth and metal flexible clasps. Acrylic dentures are the cheapest option out of all partial dentures. However, there are some disadvantages associated with a lower price. The acrylic base has a bulky shape, and metal flexible clasps are less effective than cast metal, making this option more temporary than permanent.

Cast metal partial denture

Cast metal dentures are one of the most common options used for dentures. The cast metal partial denture framework is made of metal while the top portion is made of resin and acrylic that match the surrounding natural teeth and gum colour. They are attached to adjacent teeth with metal clasps depending on where they are placed.

The metal used in a cast metal partial denture is typically lightweight making it more comfortable on the gums. The metal framework makes it sturdier making them less likely to bend during chewing. It also allows more teeth to be placed on it.

Cast metal dentures are not recommended if the individual has periodontal disease or recurrent tooth decay.

Flexible partial denture

Flexible dentures are made from a durable plastic that is heat sensitive. This is an option for those who are allergic to certain cast metal or acrylic materials as they tend to be made with hypoallergenic materials.

There are advantages and disadvantages with flexible partials. Flexible partial dentures are made of a lighter.

Other Options to Think About Fixed partial dentures

If only a single tooth in the dentition needs to be replaced, dental implants, bridges or flippers may be a few options presented. An implant is a more permanent solution as the implant sits in the jaw bones. Individuals may opt for flippers due to the removable nature and it is less invasive. Similar to dentures they come in different types such as acrylic resin flippers, flexible resins, and other types.

Bridges replace one or a few missing teeth adjacent to each other on the same side. The bridge consists of pontics (the piece replacing the missing tooth), and crowns which are put on the adjacent teeth to support the pontic. This option tends to be a more long-term solution as it is cemented onto your teeth, they are not removable unlike the removable dentures whether partial or complete.

In conclusion, it is best to discuss with your dentist which of these options fit your needs and budgetary constraints.

Here are some frequently asked questions

Which partial denture is right for me?

The dentist will assess your needs and oral health to help you determine which partial denture suits you best. They will also assess the health of your gum tissue and any bone loss. If the case is more complex then the individual may be referred to denture clinics that specialize in providing these specific dental services.
The dentist will assess your needs. They will check for bone loss, periodontal disease, complexity of the case, and overall oral health. This can help the dentist determine what kind of denture base and type to meet your needs.
To care for your partial denture, similar to a complete denture is to remove them before sleeping and soaking them in denture cleaning solution. The solution helps clean and remove bacteria from the dental appliance.
Partial dentures can last up to 15 years with proper care along with good oral hygiene.
Partial dentures are fabricated to look natural, the base of the denture is made to match the colour of your gums. The artificial teeth are colour matched with the surrounding healthy teeth so that it blends in naturally.
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