Types of upper partial dentures

When it comes to replacing one to several missing teeth in the upper jaw, there are various types of partial upper dentures you can opt for.

Partials are removable dental appliances that replace one or more missing teeth, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits.

Here are some denture options for your consideration:

Metal Partials:

Metal partial dentures utilize a metal framework for support and stability. Two common types of metal partials for the upper jaw are titanium and wironium dentures.

1. Titanium Framework Partial Denture

Titanium, a biocompatible metal, offers excellent comfort and durability. These dentures are lightweight and resistant to corrosion. The precise milling process ensures a perfect fit, reducing the need for adjustments.

Titanium is the most biocompatible metal used in dentistry, making it highly suitable for dental applications as virtually no one is allergic to it. Compared to cobalt/chromium alloys, a titanium framework is approximately 400 percent lighter, resulting in significantly improved patient comfort.

The framework of this denture is precision-milled using a CAD/CAM system, ensuring a three-dimensional titanium framework with no voids. This advanced manufacturing process eliminates labor-intensive steps and reduces the chances of errors in the final appliance. Upon delivery, the Titanium framework fits precisely without requiring additional chairside adjustments, saving valuable time.

The Titanium Framework Partial provides an exact fit and exceptional durability. Its resistance to distortion and corrosion makes it highly resilient, allowing it to withstand normal use and occasional abuse effectively.

The cost to patients for a finished partial with a titanium framework ranges from $1,200 to $2,500, depending on case complexity and geographic location.

2. Wironium Framework Partial Denture

Wironium is a nickel-free cobalt-chromium alloy known for its strength and flexibility. Its thin framework provides comfort and durability, in addition to the high resistance to deformation and slight flexibility that is characteristic of other cobalt-chrome alloys used in dentistry. The thin frameworks are also incredibly strong and durable, with clasps that resist fracture better than other products.

The Wironium Framework Partial Denture stands out with its retention system of malleable clasps that conform to the tooth contour. The clasps engage correctly upon delivery, eliminating the need for extensive modification while reducing the risk of metal fatigue.

Minor adjustments to the clasps can be made without the risk of breakage, offering a unique advantage compared to other metal alloy formulations. Discover the difference of Wironium.

Wironium dentures start at $178 for the framework only, with an average cost to patients ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 for setup, special clasps or retention, processing, and finishing.

Metal-Free and Flexible Partials:

For patients seeking alternatives to metal-based dentures, metal-free and flexible partials offer aesthetic advantages and enhanced comfort. Common options include acrylic, Valplast flexible, and acetal resin dentures.

1. Acrylic Removable Partial Dentures

Acrylic dentures are an economical choice for temporary tooth replacement. They consist of acrylic teeth set in an acrylic baseplate, with optional wrought wire clasps for support.

The key benefits of Acrylic Partials include their affordability and ease of future modification. As a temporary and cost-effective solution, these partials are a suitable option for transitional use when the supportive structure may change over time.

Acrylic partials are affordable, ranging from $695 to $1,200. You can get some without clasps for as little as $110, while those with clasps range from $226 to $500 depending on additional options.

2. Valplast Flexible Partial Denture

Valplast partials are made from a thin, lightweight thermoplastic material that provides comfort owing to its enhanced tissue coverage. They do not require wires or metal clasps, which ensures comfort and superior aesthetics.

Valplast is composed of biocompatible nylon and thermoplastic resin that ensures a precise fit by adapting closely to the underlying tissue. The clasps are made from the same tissue-colored material and are positioned near the gingiva.

One of the notable benefits of Valplast Partial Dentures is their natural appearance, as they seamlessly blend with the natural teeth. Additionally, these dentures are hypo-allergenic, making them suitable for patients with allergies to denture monomers or nickel.

The average cost of Valplast partials is $800 to $1,500 per arch depending on the complexity of the case and geographic location.

3. Acetal Resin Semi-Flexible Partial Denture

Acetal resin dentures combine strength and flexibility, offering a comfortable fit and excellent retention. They are virtually invisible when worn and can be a transitional solution.

This partial is made from a hypo-allergenic polyacetal resin that provides a virtually invisible appearance in the patient’s mouth. These dentures have tooth-colored clasps that disappears when the partial is inserted, while offering superior retention.

The Acetal Resin material combines strength with semi-flexibility, resulting in a comfortable fit with excellent retention and minimal adjustments. Its hypo-allergenic base reduces tissue reactions and irritation, while the elastic memory allows the clasps to securely grip the tooth’s undercut.

One of the key benefits of Acetal Resin Partials is their versatility. They offer a reversible procedure, allowing for the possibility of future permanent treatment options like dental implants. Additionally, Acetal Resin serves as an excellent transitional restoration during the healing process for implant cases.

Acetal resin partials range from $1,650 to $3,000 on average.

Fixed Partial dentures

Fixed partial dentures are a semi-permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. Unlike removable dentures, fixed partial dentures are not removed at bedtime. There are two common types of fixed partial dentures:

1. Fixed Bridge

A fixed bridge is suitable for individuals who are missing one or two teeth. This solution involves placing a permanent partial denture that remains in the mouth at all times. However, a significant disadvantage of a fixed bridge is that the adjacent healthy teeth need to be filed down and prepared to support the crowns. This process involves removing a portion of the enamel from the healthy teeth to create a stable foundation for the bridge

2. Implant-Supported Fixed Bridge

For those who want to avoid damaging existing teeth or have multiple missing teeth, an implant-supported fixed bridge is an option. This type of dental implant involves the placement of small biocompatible titanium posts into the jawbone. These posts act as artificial tooth roots and provide a stable foundation for the bridge. Although the initial cost of an implant-supported fixed bridge is higher, it offers long-term benefits as it can last a lifetime and eliminates the durability concerns associated with removable partial dentures.

Hybrid (Metal/Flexible) Partials:

Hybrid partial dentures combine the best attributes of metal and flexible dentures, providing superior aesthetics and comfort. They can include a titanium or wironium framework with acetal resin or Valplast elements. Due to customization, pricing varies, and it’s best to consult with a dental provider.

Which partial is best for me?

Choosing the right type of partial upper denture involves considering factors such as material, comfort, aesthetics, and cost.

Metal-based dentures like titanium and wironium offer durability, while metal-free options like acrylic, Valplast, and acetal resin provide aesthetic advantages and flexibility. Hybrid dentures combine the best of both worlds. Fixed partial dentures on the other hand, provide convenience and durability, but at a higher cost due to additional procedures or implants.

Your dentist can guide you in selecting the most suitable option based on your specific needs and preferences. Remember, a well-fitted and functional partial denture can restore your smile and improve your quality of life. Additionally, regardless of the option you choose, proper care and regular cleaning are essential to maintain the health and longevity of your partial dentures.




  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

  • Lilly

    Lilly, aka, Liza Lee, is a passionate community oral health officer and our lead writer. She's not only well-versed in performing a multitude of dental procedures, including preventive, restorative, and cosmetic, but also an avid writer. Driven by the significant oral health burden all around her, Lilly strives to build capacity and promote oral health. She envisions making a lasting impact by advancing research, prevention, and promotion efforts to alleviate oral health disparities. Please share your views and opinions on my posts.

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