Ask the Denturist: What is the Best Material Choice for Partial Dentures?

MichaelStreileinAsk the Denturist, Partial Dentures

Metal Partial Dentures

This is a good question and one that we get asked a lot! Your dentures are one of the only medical appliances that you will have to live with every day, so it’s important that you choose the type of denture that is the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

Partial dentures have a couple of choices in terms of material options. Each material has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important that you ensure you choose the material best suited for you. We can assist in this conversation and help you pick the material best for you.

Different types of dentures have different options available in terms of material and hardware choices. We’ll discuss the two most popular – metal and acrylic – and outline their strengths and weaknesses.

Metal Partial Dentures

Partial dentures that use a metal base are generally smaller (in length, height, and thickness) than plastic or acrylic ones. This helps them be easier to adapt to (they are more tolerable to the patient due to their smaller size). However, they are also considerably more expensive than other materials.


Partial metal dentures use high quality resin or composite teeth, which can be colour matched to other remaining natural teeth- because of their discreet profile, these dentures look great.


  • They cost more to customize and change; if a new tooth is required, it’s more labour intensive to add.
  • Manufacturing metal dentures is more intricate and labour intensive compared to molding acrylic dentures. They can cost between 25% and 75% more than acrylic dentures.

Acrylic/Plastic Partial Dentures

Acrylic (plastic) dentures, while being more affordable compared to metal dentures, have additional hygiene and maintenance requirements. If their adaptation is off, or if they aren’t cleaned regularly enough, they may cause gum damage- particularly around teeth.

A big benefit of acrylic denture bases is that it is easier to add a new denture base or add new teeth to an existing denture. This saves on time, adaptation, and cost whenever future changes are needed.


Acrylic dentures look quite natural, and so long as they are properly maintained, can maintain these good looks for years.


  • Bulkier, more prone to breakage/damage
  • While modern materials are more comfortable than materials used in the past, acrylic dentures are still not quite as comfortable as metal dentures.
  • Because of the type of material they are, they require more cleaning and hygiene considerations than metal dentures.

So Which Denture Material is Best for Me?

To assess this, you need to keep a few points in mind:

  • Affordability – It’s important that your dentures meet your need and are not overbearing financially.
  • Your Lifestyle – Metal dentures are considered a more permanent and long-term solution and are ideal for people living more active lives.
  • Need for Expansion – If it is likely that you may lose additional natural teeth, acrylic dentures are an easier choice due to the ease of adding new false teeth to them.

Ultimately, this is probably a conversation best had between you and your denturist. Contact us and schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient Calgary locations.