If you’re facing an extraction or are getting around to finding a prosthesis to replace missing teeth, you’re likely considering a partial denture. A proven, reliable therapy, partials are much more affordable than implants, though you and your dentist will need to determine which type of partial denture is right for you.
The type of your partial denture you need depends upon your mouth and your needs, so you’ll need to speak with your dentist to determine what’s right for your case. In many instances, your dentist will recommend a partial to you, but knowing the basics of each type can help speed your decision.
Flexible Partial Denture: Harnessing the flexibility of modern plastics, flexible partials fit better, and flex with the natural forces in your mouth when you speak or chew. Because they’re soft, many patients find them more comfortable than a rigid denture, and they don’t transfer bite forces to your teeth or gums, lessening irritation on your gums. Because they’re crafted to match your gum tissue, they’re typically the most esthetically pleasing prosthetic available.
While they’re comfortable and esthetic, flexible partials don’t function as well as rigid options. They’ll diminish your bite’s strength. In addition to their comfort, they’re difficult to repair should they break.
Cast Partial Dentures: Built with an alloy framework, cast partial dentures may or may not be combined with acrylic to match your gum tissue. Because they securely attach to your existing teeth with metal clips, they mimic the function of natural teeth better, and don’t reduce bite force like flexible partials will. Because they’re metal, they’re fixable if they should break.
They’re not without their down sides. Cast partial dentures transmit temperatures to nearby tissue, so can cause discomfort when drinking hot or cold liquids. Their metal clasps are often visible, so they offer a less esthetic option.
Regardless of which type of partial denture you and your dentist decide on, they are typically the least ideal solution for missing teeth. Less affordable options include dental bridges and implants. Talk with your dentist to determine which prosthesis is ideal for your case and your budget.