Metal vs. flexible partial dentures
Metal partial dentures have a metal framework which sits on top of your teeth and gums. The metal framework provides for a tight and precise fit. The other popular type of partial dentures is flexible partials made from plastic. Flexible partial dentures don’t contain any metal and rely on plastic clasps to hold them in place.
Advantages of metal partial dentures
Metal partial dentures are still very popular for many reasons. Here are some of the benefits of metal partial dentures over flexible, plastic ones:
Metal partial dentures cost less than flexible ones
Metal partials dentures are typically considered the base option so they cost less. These are the type of partials that insurance companies cover. If you want a plastic partial you should expect to pay a substantial upgrade fee. Dentists have no choice but to charge upgrades fee for flexible dentures since these type of dentures cost them more to make.
Metal partial dentures typically fit tighter
Metal partials are still the more stable denture option. While flexible dentures can also fit very tight, they are not as stable as metal ones are. Of course this difference varies greatly based upon how many teeth you have left. If you have multiple teeth left, the difference in stability is negligible. However, when you’re down to just a few remaining teeth, metal partials fit much tighter than plastic ones do.
Repairing metal partial dentures is much easier
Repairing partial dentures is a an important factor, which is often times overlooked. Partial dentures can break or you may lose teeth which need to be added to the partial denture. Metal partial dentures can easily have a tooth or clasp added to them. Repairs are relatively easy and inexpensive.
On the hand, repairing flexible partial dentures is very difficult. Adding teeth to plastic dentures is very challenging and adding clasps is even harder. In fact, it’s next to impossible to do any major repairs to flexible dentures once they are processed and delivered. Losing a critical tooth, one which holds your partials in place, can be devastating with flexible partials. Often times losing as little as just one tooth may force you to have to get a new set of false teeth.
The need to repair your partial dentures in the near future should be an important factor in making your decision on which type of denture to go with. If your remaining teeth are loose with advanced bone loss then avoid flexible dentures. If you have compromised teeth which could break and require root canals and crowns and your plan is to remove these teeth once they go bad, then avoid flexible partials as well.