Tag Archives: Partial dentures

Type of partial dentures: Flexible vs. Metal

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“:

  1. Do you dislike metal in your mouth?
  2. Are you allergic to metal?
  3. Have you previously had metal dentures which you were unhappy with?
  4. Do you want a more natural looking partial?
  5. Do you want a more natural feeling partial?
  6. Can you afford flexible dentures upgrade fees?
  7. Are you going to need a clasp in the front region?
  8. Are your remaining teeth in good condition?
  9. Do you have three or more teeth left in each arch?
  10. 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.

NEXT >> What Type of Partial Dentures to Choose: Flexible Partial Denture

What Type of Partial Dentures to Choose: Metal Partial Denture

What Type of Partial Dentures to Choose: Metal Partial Denture

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.

NEXT >> What Type of Partial Dentures to Choose: How to Decide

What Type of Partial Dentures to Choose: Flexible Partial Denture

Replacing a Missing Tooth: How to Decide

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Are you okay paying extra to receive the best treatment?
  2. Can you afford the dental implants comfortably? Either cash upfront, financed or over several payments.
  3. Are the teeth next to the missing tooth virgin teeth, meaning they don’t have a filling or crown on them? Or maybe a small filling at most.
  4. You don’t need crowns on the teeth next to the missing gap? “no” means you do need crowns on several teeth, including the ones that are adjacent to the missing tooth, which can happen during a bad accident.
  5. You don’t have any medical problems that prohibits you from getting a surgery? Like a recent heart attack or if you are on a blood thinner.
  6. Have you had problems with pain and infection with crowns and bridges in the past? Like ending up with a root canal after a crown or ending up losing a tooth that received a crown or root canal soon after you got the treatment completed.
  7. You are less than 40 years old?

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you probably should favor getting dental implants over bridges.

If you  answered “no” to most of the above questions then maybe a bridge is more suitable for you after all.

Final Thought

The main reason we prefer a dental implant over a bridge is because dental implants do not compromise the health of other teeth. In order to receive a dental bridge there are two teeth, at a minimum, which have to be shaven down to attach the bridge onto. These teeth become susceptible to further problems and may require root canals or even extraction should they fail. You may start off with a dental bridge to replace a single missing tooth but as the supporting teeth are damaged over time you now require a longer span bridge and must extend it. And over the decades you may find yourself losing all of your teeth in that side of the mouth having started off with just a single missing tooth and a dental bridge which failed and lead to the loss of numerous other teeth.

f you are instructed by your physician to avoid surgical procedures then you can not receive a dental implant and a dental bridge might be your only option at this time. Uncontrolled diabetes, radiation therapy to the jaws, heavy smoking, aggressive bone diseases affecting your jaws, or a recent heart attack are just some conditions which may compromise the success rate dental implants. There are also be dental conditions which adversely affect placement of dental implants for instance you may not have enough bone left in place for the placement of the implant. As a result you might not be able to receive dental implants without additional surgeries to establish sufficient bone to the region or your bone may be so weak that your dentist would advise against it altogether. You might just be better off going with the dental bridge in these circumstances or you may need to seek a second opinion to see if there is some way that bone can be restored to the region.

NEXT >> Replacing a Missing Tooth: Dental Bridge

Replacing a Missing Tooth: Dental Implant