Flexible Partial Dentures
What are flexible partial dentures?
Traditionally, when multiple teeth are lost, they are replaced with an all-acrylic, rigid, removable partial denture with metal clasps and bars for strength and stability. However, traditional partial dentures made with rigid materials can cause patient discomfort and are not very esthetically pleasing. In fact, an ill-fitting partial denture will cause a patient to just stop wearing it due to mouth sores and overall discomfort. Many people stop wearing their dentures to eat, which reduces the quality and variety of the foods they eat.
Modern flexible thermoplastic denture base materials replace the metal and pink acrylic partial denture framework. Thermoplastics are used to make partial dentures flexible and eliminate metal clasps. The natural gum color shows through the material, and tooth-colored clasps make the partial almost invisible when in the mouth. Thermoplastics are more biocompatible, do not contain BPA, and resist stains and odors.
The advantages of flexible partial dentures
The key advantages are better aesthetics, comfort and durability. They are more pleasing because the teeth look more like natural teeth. They are more comfortable because they are thinner, lightweight and flexible which makes them fit better on the remaining natural teeth. Because it can flex, the partial denture can continuously adapt to movement which improves the patient’s speech, chewing, patient satisfaction and overall quality of life. Additionally, with the development of these new materials these dentures can be fabricated with CAD/CAM, computer aided design, and manufactured using 3D printing. The result is a precision fit in fewer and shorter appointments!
What are the disadvantages?
- Flexible partials cost slightly more, however you get a more superior partial denture
- Because the material is softer, they do not last as long
- If you lose another tooth, you are unable to to add a new tooth to a flexible partial denture
- Not everyone is a good candidate for a flexible partial denture
Flexible partial dentures improve fit, function and aesthetics. They are flexible, stronger, lighter, thinner and look and feel more natural than traditional partial dentures.
At Marana Dental Care in Marana Arizona, we can answer your questions so that you can make an informed choice about your dental care and tooth replacement. Contact us to schedule a consultation and discover all your treatment options.
- Akinyamoju CA, Dosumu OO, Taiwo JO, Ogunrinde TJ, Akinyamoju AO. Oral health-related quality of life:
- acrylic versus flexible partial dentures. Ghana Med J. 2019 Jun;53(2):163-169. doi: 10.4314/gmj.v53i2.12. PMID: 31481813; PMCID: PMC6697771.
- Polyzois, Gregory et al. “Flexible Removable Partial Denture Prosthesis: A Survey of Dentists’ Attitudes and Knowledge in Greece and Croatia.” Acta stomatologica Croatica vol. 49,4 (2015): 316-24. doi:10.15644/asc49/4/7
- Gerritsen AE, Allen PF, Witter DJ, Bronkhorst EM, Creugers NHJ. Tooth loss and oral health related quality of life: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Qual Life Outcomes [Internet] 2010;8(1):126
- Muniz PM, Kukucka ED. Incorporating Digital Dentures into Clinical Practice: Flexible Workflows and Improved Clinical Outcomes. J Prosthodont. 2020 Oct 31. doi: 10.1111/jopr.13277. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33128422.