Metal Partial vs. Metal Free Partial Dentures: What You Need to Know

For individuals who are missing one or more teeth, partial dentures are an affordable, comfortable, and aesthetically appealing tooth replacement option. Partial dentures are designed to fill the gaps in your smile and help you regain confidence by prioritizing your oral health. Dentures not only address aesthetic issues from missing teeth, they stabilize remaining teeth, prevent gums from becoming infected, and prevent bone loss.

In most cases, there are two primary types of partial dentures to choose from: metal partial dentures and flexible partial dentures. Depending on factors like comfort, budget, and maintenance requirements, you may prefer one variety of denture over the other.

Here’s our guide on how to choose the right dentures for your lifestyle.

What are Metal Partial Dentures?

Metal partial dentures are sturdy, reliable tooth replacement options that many individuals choose for their durability.

Cast Metal Dentures: Cast metal dentures are made by attaching acrylic or porcelain teeth replacements to a cast metal base. The metal base is designed to be highly durable, and is either made with a natural metallic finish or covered in gum-colored acrylic to blend in with the natural gumline.

Acrylic Partial Dentures with Metal Clasps: Acrylic partial dentures are formed with rigid acrylic plastic. Unlike cast metal dentures, the base of acrylic partial dentures is not made of metal and is instead fabricated from gum-colored acrylic. The metal elements on acrylic partial dentures are the clasps used to secure the appliances to existing teeth.

Pros and Cons of Metal Dentures

Metal dentures might be a fantastic option for patients seeking budget-friendly prices or sturdier appliances. Here are a few of the pros and cons these dentures have to offer.

Pros:

  • Durability – Metal partial dentures are built to last. Since the base is fabricated from metal instead of a thinner nylon resin or acrylic material, these dentures will remain sturdy and functional for years. Their durability makes them an excellent long-term solution for missing teeth.

  • Cost ­– Acrylic partial dentures with metal clasps are typically the most affordable option. If you’re hoping to save money on dental appliances, this may be the choice for you.

  • Customization and Repair – The acrylic material used for the teeth and gum-colored bases on metal dentures is easy to customize to precisely match your natural gums and teeth. These dentures are also easier to repair since the acrylic components are attached to a metal base and can be reattached or adjusted if need be.

Cons:

  • Comfort – Metal partial dentures are often bulkier than flexible dentures, making them less comfortable to wear. Since the metal base is rigid, it may put undue pressure on neighboring teeth and gums. Although metal dentures can be adjusted, this process entails further trips to the dentist to fix the appliance.

  • Breakability – While metal partial dentures are durable in some ways, they are brittle and are therefore more prone to breakage if dropped.

  • Appearance – Although most acrylic dentures don’t have metal components that are visible, in some cases metal clasps may be visible while talking, eating, or smiling. For those who want their dentures to seamlessly blend-in with natural teeth, this is a major drawback.

What are Metal Free Partial Dentures?

Metal free partial dentures, frequently referred to as flexible partial dentures, are fabricated entirely from nylon thermoplastic, making them flexible and light. Metal free partials are made by taking an impression of your existing teeth, and molding the appliance to fit seamlessly into your mouth. As the name suggests, metal free partial dentures don’t include any metal components and hook around teeth using gum-colored clasps.

Pros and Cons of Flexible Partial Dentures

Generally thought of as more comfortable and lightweight, there are many reasons to love flexible partial dentures.

Pros:

  • Comfort – Flexible partial dentures are made for long-term wearability. The flexible thermoplastic is light on the gums, and maintains a degree of flexibility while chewing and talking.

  • Appearance – There’s no doubt that flexible partial dentures are the most discreet option when it comes to outward appearance. With gum-colored fasteners, they blend seamlessly into your smile.

  • Hypoallergenic Material – Nylon thermoplastic dentures are made from a 100% hypoallergenic material. Many individuals are allergic to the metals or acrylic plastics used in other dentures, so nylon options offer a hypoallergenic solution for tooth replacement.

  • Secure Fit – Because flexible dentures are highly customizable and lightweight, they typically fit snugly and don’t need many adjustments. Their snug fit also makes these dentures more comfortable to wear while eating or talking, since they are less likely to become dislodged.

Cons:

  • Reparability – Flexible partial dentures can last for years if cared for properly. However, due to the way they are fabricated, if they are broken, stained, or cracked, flexible partial dentures are very difficult to repair. In these cases you’ll most likely need to buy another set of dentures, which is often costly.

  • Cost – Due to the high-quality materials used in manufacturing, flexible partial dentures are often slightly more expensive than acrylic dentures.

How to Take Care of Your Partial Dentures

The key to having long-lasting dentures is consistent at-home care and maintenance. Caring for dentures, whether flexible partials or metal partials, is simple and only requires a few extra supplies.

Brush Daily – Just like regular teeth, dentures need to be brushed to remove bacteria. Instead of using a regular toothbrush, which can scratch dentures, use a denture-specific toothbrush for your daily cleaning. Additionally, we recommend opting for denture-specific toothpaste, which is less abrasive than regular toothpaste.

Soak in Denture Solution – Soaking dentures overnight in a special denture solution helps eliminate bacterial buildup, and also maintains their pliability and comfort during wear. Remember to rinse dentures thoroughly in cool water before putting them back in your mouth.

Maintain Regular Oral Care – It goes without saying that maintaining your normal oral care routine is just as important when you wear dentures. Flossing and brushing daily are essential, since dentures can trap bacteria around natural teeth or at the gumline. Thorough brushing prevents unwanted gum disease or cavities from cropping up.

Finding the Perfect Fit at Dental Lab Direct

Wondering where to get high-quality partial dentures? At Dental Lab Direct we manufacture quality dental appliances customized to fit your unique needs. Dental Lab Direct offers partial dentures, retainers, and nightguards all at prices up to 70% less than what you’d pay at the dentist’s office. All our products are made using the highest quality FDA approved materials, so you can rest easy and never need to worry about safety while wearing your new appliance.

Ready to get started? Receiving your appliance starts with completing our simple, 3-step ordering process. Step 1: head to our website and request a dental impression kit to be sent to you in the mail. Step 2: once your kit arrives, make impressions of your teeth following the user-friendly instructions. This should only take about 12 minutes! Step 3: mail the impression kit back to us and your custom dental appliance will arrive at your door in 2-3 weeks.

Didn’t get the right fit? If you’re not satisfied with your new appliance, Dental Lab Direct offers a 60 day satisfaction guarantee. We want your new appliance to feel comfortable, and we’re committed to finding the right fit!

Contact us today to get started.