A flexible partial is a removable dental prosthesis that restores 2 or more missing natural teeth. It usually consists of replacement teeth set in pink flexible material. There are no wire clasps placed around the natural teeth as in the conventional partials. Instead, the flexible material is molded around the natural teeth to assist in retention of the partial. The rest stops are usually placed on the natural teeth to prevent the partial from putting too much pressure on the gums during chewing. It is worth all efforts to save lower teeth, so they can be used to support the partial denture.
As the flexible partial denture provides the most comfort to the patient, its longevity is in some degree limited. Today’s technology offers few different materials to choose from for the flexible partial denture (some are even repairable) but, it’s only fair to inform the patient that flexible partial dentures do not last as long as the conventional ones; on average, it is about 3 years. They are a great option for some patients though. I would recommend them to the patients with severe bone loss in the lower jaw and having the gum ridge very sensitive to the touch (due to the nerves being exposed after the loss of bone). Still, in most cases a conventional denture with a permanent soft liner may work better and be more economical for the patient. There are no perfect solutions for restoring missing teeth; the job of a provider is to present all options to his or her patients and let them make the decisions they feel most comfortable with.
A flexible partial denture will:
· Replace missing natural teeth to restore your smile.
· Prevent “drifting” of teeth (if the missing teeth are not restored after extractions, the remaining natural teeth will move or “drift” creating spaces between them).
· Improve your bite and speech.
· Make chewing easier and more comfortable.
Advantages of the flexible partial denture:
· Usually there is no need for the teeth preps as needed for the metal frame rest stops.
Disadvantage of the flexible partial:
· Lower durability than the metal frame partial.
· Possible discoloration of the flexible material.