Different Types of Partial Dentures

Partial Dentures are often the best option for many patients that are missing one or more teeth. Dentures have been replacing human teeth for thousands of years and denture fabrication technology has come a long way since the earliest known dentures of 2500BC.

Over time dentures have evolved from using teeth from animals, wood, porcelain and vulcanite to how we know them today: cast metal, acrylic, and polymer resins. With the coming of the 21st century we have seen a significant shift in the way we fabricate dentures and the future of denture technology will have a direct impact on the look, feel, and overall comfort of dentures of the future. Digital dentures and improvements in material technology have revolutionised the fabrication process of partial dentures. Partial dentures are affordable, natural looking, offer stronger teeth, return full functionality to your mouth and best of all you can get your full smile back; But with so many different types of partial dentures on the market the question remains ‘Which type of partial denture will be right for me?’ (You may also be interested in reading our Ultimate Guide to All of Different Types of Dentures).

The Different Types of Partial Dentures

Choosing the right partial denture will often come down to a patient’s individual circumstances. Your dental prosthetist will carefully assess your options and overall health to determine your suitability for different types of partial dentures taking into account several factors including:

  • Appearance
  • Oral Health and teeth structure
  • Feel, Grip and Stability
  • Oral sensitivity and allergic reactions
  • Financial considerations
  • Dexterity and control of patient.
  • Support of remaining teeth

Cast Metal Partial Denture

The cast metal partial denture is one of the more common types of partial denture and provides high-quality replacement teeth on a rigid frame. Fabricated using ultra-thin and light cobalt chromium alloy they offer greater strength and stability and are a good permanent solution that can last many years with proper care.


  • Minimal irritation and discomfort due to the lightweight material used in the fabrication process.
  • The rigid frame covers less soft tissue in your mouth which improves overall dental health, and increases sensation and taste while eating.
  • Increased comfort due to an overall better fit as the dentures can be more accurately contoured to your mouth.
  • A more supportive fit as cast metal dentures often have rest seats or clasps to keep them in place.


  • For patients who struggle with the fine motor skills necessary to insert their partial dentures, the metal clasps on cast metal dentures often making inserting them prohibitively difficult.
  • The alloy used in the fabrication of cast metal dentures is often more expensive than that of an acrylic denture.
  • The fabrication process of cast metal dentures can take longer compared to different types of partial denture
  • The metal frame may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the metal clasps may be visible depending on the partial denture location.
  • Cast metal dentures have the potential to cause allergic reactions in patients with hyposensitivity to the materials used.

Acrylic Partial Denture

Acrylic partial dentures also known as a dental flipper is an all acrylic denture that is often supported by metal clasps. Due to the impact-resistant acrylic that is used in the fabrication process, they can be bulky and uncomfortable for some patients to use long-term. While technological advancements in acrylic plastic dentures have come a long way in making them a potentially viable and permanent solution; They are most often used as an interim or temporary partial denture while waiting on a more permanent solution such as cast metal partial dentures.


  • Cost effective due to the ease of fabrication.
  • Acrylic dentures allow for easier denture relines and denture repairs.
  • Fabrication time of acrylic is faster than that of cast metal or flexible dentures.
  • Are a perfect temporary solution where cast metal dentures are being fabricated or dental implants are being considered.


  • The acrylic base is often weaker and can tend to break which often leads to the acrylic having to be thicker.
  • The thickness of the acrylic dentures can take extra time to get used to.
  • Acrylic partial dentures cover a larger portion of the roof of your mouth which may cause gagging and a weakened sense of taste and feeling.

Flexible Partial Denture

Flexible partial dentures are one of the three different types of partial dentures that are available if you have one or more teeth missing. Often chosen with patients who are allergic to cast metal or acrylic due to their hypoallergenic materials, they can be a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing option. Made from a thin, heat sensitive type of plastic, they are durable enough to wear for many years with proper care and cleaning. However due to their fabrication process, denture relines and denture repairs are much more difficult, and any accidents caused often require the fabrication of new flexible partial dentures.


  • Fabrication time is often faster than that of cast metal dentures and doesn’t often require multiple try-ins.
  • Aesthetically pleasing as the material is clear and your gums are visible through the dentures.
  • Offer improved comfort as they cling to your gums without the use of any dental adhesive or metal clasps.
  • Flexible dentures can be fabricated using hypoallergenic materials if patients have allergic reactions to cast metal or acrylic partial dentures.
  • Flexibility in the denture offers improved strength making them more impact resistant. Caution should always be taken though as the acrylic teeth in the flexible denture are still prone to breaking.
  • Flexible dentures are odor and stain resistant and are the most biocompatible material of the different types of partial denture


  • The flexible base is more prone to bacteria build-up and requires careful cleaning.
  • Denture relines and denture rebases are difficult and, in most cases, your dental prosthetist will have to redo the partial denture from scratch.
  • Flexible dentures often come at a higher cost compared to that of a cast metal or acrylic denture.
  • Limited availability.

Looking for partial dentures Brisbane wide but are still unsure on all the different types of partial dentures?

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of dedicated dental prosthetists who would be happy to walk you through the different options and what might be the best fit for you.

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