10 Questions to help you decide on the type of partial denture:
Now that you’ve read about advantages of flexible and metal partial dentures, it’s now time to decide on one. Here is a list of questions to better help you decide the type of partial dentures that is going to better suit your needs. Please answer each question with either a “yes” or “no“:
- Do you dislike metal in your mouth?
- Are you allergic to metal?
- Have you previously had metal dentures which you were unhappy with?
- Do you want a more natural looking partial?
- Do you want a more natural feeling partial?
- Can you afford flexible dentures upgrade fees?
- Are you going to need a clasp in the front region?
- Are your remaining teeth in good condition?
- Do you have three or more teeth left in each arch?
- Are you accident probe and likely to drop your dentures?
Good candidate for flexible partial dentures
If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then a flexible partial denture is the better option for you.
Questions 1 through 5: Fit and feel
If you’re not a fan of metal in your mouth then metal partial dentures are not for you. Metal can cut and scratch your gums. It also places more pressure on your teeth which can bother some people.
It can be hard to know how comfortable you’re going to be with metal partials if this is your first set. However, if you’ve previously had a pair of metal partials but were unhappy with the metal, then it might not be a bad idea to switch to flexible ones for a change. If on the other hand you were happy with your metal partials then you should think twice about switching to a different type of partial dentures. You might end up regretting it and wanting your metal partial back!
Question 6: Upgrade fees
Flexible partial dentures always cost more than metal ones do. Insurance or no insurance, the difference in cost is almost always a few hundred dollars for upgrading to flexible partials. If you can’t afford the upgrade fees then flexible dentures are not going to be an option.
Keep in mind that most dentists will work with you if you really want to upgrade your partials. They usually allow patients with financial hardship to make a payment plan if they really want flexible partials. Considering that a set of partials typically takes a month or two to make, this typically gives enough time to pay off the upgrade fees.
Question 7: Metal visibility
If you’re only missing back teeth then you won’t be showing as much metal. However when you’re missing front teeth then your dentist may not have any choice but to place clasps in the front region. There are techniques to avoid placing clasps in the front region, but they don’t always work. So if showing metal is a big problem for you then plastic flexible partials are probably the better option to go with.
Question 8: Remaining teeth condition
You need to make sure your remaining teeth are in good condition if your plan is to receive flexible dentures. It’s very difficult to repair plastic dentures and you want to make sure you won’t be losing anymore teeth any time soon. If you prefer to just remove your teeth once they go bad and don’t want to deal with root canals and crowns, then go with metal partials instead. It’s much easier to add new teeth and clasps to metal partials than it is to flexible ones.
Question 9: Number of teeth left
Metal clasps grip your teeth better and engages them more powerfully. As a result metal partials are tighter and more stable than flexible ones. This becomes a bigger issue when you have less teeth left. Metal partials work better when are down to one or two teeth in each arch. Metal clasps grip your last few teeth much better and provide for additional stability.
Question 10: Durability
Flexible partials handle being dropped much better than metal partials do. Metal partials often times break in half if dropped accidentally. Flexible partials on the other hand can handle being dropped quiet well. Due to their flexibility, it’s rare to break flexible partials just by dropping them
Good candidate for metal partial dentures
If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then you should probably go with metal partial dentures instead.
Final thought on type of partial dentures
What we like most about flexible plastic partial dentures is that they place much less stress onto your remaining teeth. Getting to keep your remaining few teeth for several additional years means you shouldn’t need another set of partials for a longer time. This is certainly a worthwhile long-term investment. And of course being more natural looking, feeling more comfortable and not showing metal clasps are also good reasons to choose a flexible plastic denture.
Metal partials on the other hand are a good option if you have less teeth left in your mouth. If you can’t afford the upgrade fees, then metal partials are your only option, and there’s nothing wrong with a well made metal partial. You should definitely pay attention to take out your partials when sleeping. Your teeth need a little break from the partials and wearing them over night damages your remaining teeth. Also make sure to be careful not to drop your metal partials as they may break. The good news is that should you lose any teeth, it’s much easier to add these teeth to metal partials than it is to flexible ones.
Metal and flexible partial dentures are both good options to replace missing teeth if you can’t quite afford dental implants. Both types of partial dentures are a much better option than leaving gaps between your teeth. Without dentures in place, your remaining teeth will shift and move. Wearing partial dentures helps you talk, chew and function better. If also keeps your remaining teeth in place. This makes your remaining teeth less likely to develop cavities. It also preserves spaces to allow you to receive dental implants should you ever choose to do so in the future.