Among the many breakthroughs in modern dental technology and advancement, flexible partial dentures have emerged as a remarkable solution, providing individuals with a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing option to restore their smiles and oral health in general. They are dental prostheses made from a flexible thermoplastic material called nylon, used to replace missing teeth.
Flexible partial dentures are designed with precision to be lightweight, durable, aesthetically pleasing, and can restore the appearance and functionality of natural teeth. They also offer unique features that rival traditional dentures because they look and function like real, natural teeth and can replace teeth from the same area of the mouth that may have been lost due to an accident, injury, or gum disease.
Choosing the right partial for your patient
Oftentimes, making decisions that will affect an individual’s oral function and appearance for a long time can feel overwhelming, as they want to ensure they are making the right choice. Choosing the right partial depends on several factors, such as the patient’s oral health, anatomy, aesthetic concerns and choices, and personal preferences—overall comfortability both physically and mentally are paramount for the patient.
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a partial denture for your patients:
Oral health assessment
It is essential to evaluate the patient’s overall oral health to assess the presence of decay, periodontal disease, or any other oral health issues that may impact the choice of the partial denture. Also, check out the condition of the remaining teeth, gums, and oral tissues.
Consider the patient’s preferences, comfort level, expectations, and goals. Some patients may have specific preferences regarding materials, ease of maintenance, or removable versus fixed options. Leverage open communication to understand your patient’s concerns and desires better.
Stability and support
Consider the stability and support provided by the remaining natural teeth. A partial denture with clasps or precision attachments may be appropriate if the remaining teeth are healthy and can provide sufficient support. In cases where the remaining teeth are weak or compromised, alternative options may need to be considered.
Some individuals with metal or acrylic allergies may need to wear flexible partial dentures. However, engaging in an open dialogue with your patient will guide the selection of the most appropriate partial denture for their health.
Number and location of missing teeth
Considering the number and location of missing teeth helps determine the design and type of partial denture fit for your patient. Different types of partial dentures are suitable for various tooth loss patterns.
Some patients may prioritize the appearance of their smile, while others may focus more on functionality and comfort. The best way to go about it is by assessing and discussing your patient’s esthetic expectations and concerns to determine the most suitable option that meets both functional and esthetic needs.
Suppose there are concerns about the longevity of the remaining teeth or the potential need for future extractions, evaluating the long-term prognosis of the remaining teeth and oral structures would be handy.
In cases like this, the treatment plan may need to incorporate provisions for future modifications or replacements.
Budget and insurance coverage
Consider your patient’s budget and insurance coverage when discussing treatment options. Different partial dentures have varying costs, and insurance coverage may also impact the final decision.
It’s essential to involve the patient in decision-making and explain the options, advantages, maintenance, and limitations. This allows the patient to make an informed choice based on their specific needs, concerns, expectations, and oral health status. You leverage our online partial dentures lab with a detailed workflow and complete cases to help you give your patients the perfect experience.
Partial denture materials
There are different types of partial dentures available. Here are some common types of partial dentures materials:
They are also known as cast partial dentures or metal framework partial dentures, made from a cast metal alloy, usually cobalt-chromium or nickel-chromium. They have a metal framework that provides strength and stability, while the artificial teeth are attached to the framework. Metal partial dentures are known for their durability, strength, and precise fit. Cast metal partial dentures are attached using metal clasps that use existing natural teeth to secure the partial in place. This type of partial denture can last between 7 and 10 years.
Acrylic partial dentures have a pink acrylic base resembling gum tissue and supporting artificial teeth. The artificial teeth are typically made of acrylic as well. Some may not find its “bulky” shape attractive or comfortable, so this partial is generally considered a temporary solution.
As discussed earlier, flexible partial dentures are made from a flexible thermoplastic material called nylon. They offer a more comfortable and aesthetic option. The material’s flexibility allows the denture to adapt and move with the mouth’s natural movements. They are lightweight, durable, and suitable for individuals with metal allergies or sensitivities. Another benefit is the comfort it offers. It is comfortable, and the gum-colored clasps make it less noticeable.
These are removable partial dentures designed to replace one or a few missing teeth. They are often used as temporary solutions or for esthetic purposes, such as filling gaps during the healing process after tooth extraction. They are typically made of acrylic and have clasps or wires to attach to adjacent teeth for support.
Flexible partial dentures vs metal
As the name implies, metal partial dentures are made from a metal alloy, usually chromium-cobalt or titanium, as stated above. Due to this, they provide a more secure fit and reduce the risk of the denture shifting or moving during function.
However, compared with metal partials, flexible partials provide greater comfort and offer improved esthetics without metal clasps—or any metal at all. Their strength is obtained from precise tissue coverage. The flexibility allows for a more secure fit, eliminating the need for metal clasps or hooks. They not only enhance comfort but also reduce the chances of gum irritation, sore spots, and allergies commonly associated with metal dentures. The materials utilized in flexible partial dentures are hypo-allergenic and suitable for patients with denture monomers or nickel allergies.
Flexible partial dentures vs acrylic
Dentures made of acrylic are hard and have metal clasps that rest on the adjoining teeth to hold the denture in place. They are more customizable in terms of tooth shape and color and can appear more artificial due to their opaque nature.
On the other hand, flexible dentures are made of a different material that grips the gums better and does not require metal clasps. Due to their esthetic advantage, they have the color and translucency of natural gums, making them blend seamlessly with the remaining teeth. They are less breakable compared to acrylic dentures and though cost more than acrylic dentures. Also, since it is a little flexible, it is more comfortable for the patient and allows for a more natural-looking appearance.
The best material for partial dentures is ultimate up to the patient
The choice of material for a partial denture primarily depends on the patient’s specific needs, preferences, and oral health situation. Different materials have their own advantages and considerations, and what may be the best material for one patient may not be the same for another.
The patient’s preferences and the dentist’s expertise and guidance should inform the decision-making process. It is advised to have open communication and collaboration with your patient to determine the best material for the partial denture that meets their specific needs and provides the desired outcome. You can further explain each material’s characteristics and discuss each option’s potential benefits and limitations while evaluating the patient’s oral health, remaining teeth, bite forces, goals, esthetic, and desires.
Digital flexible partial dentures with Dandy
Flexible partial dentures offer a range of benefits, including comfort, aesthetics, and functionality, making them a popular choice among patients and dentists alike. Dandy offers the best partial denture processes that enhance comfort, aesthetics, and functionality.
Explore Dandy partial dentures
As your partial dentures lab, you’ll be able to offer your patients 2-appointment partial dentures.