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The difference in acrylic (plastic) vs. metal (Cobalt Chrome) dentures in Sutton

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Many people come to our dental practice in Sutton and ask me about metal dentures vs plastic dentures, so we thought we would write an article to explain the main differences! If you have no teeth left, then plastic dentures are generally the best, however, if you have some remaining teeth, it’s definitely worth considering a metal denture, as they have so many advantages:

  1. Clasps

Image of Clasps
If you have remaining teeth present, we can use these teeth to help keep the denture in place, improve stability, and improve support. We can place clasps, which are the metal wires that clip around your teeth, and they help to keep the denture in as well as help stop it from rotating.

You can actually use clasps on plastic dentures, but they don’t work nearly as well as the proper cobalt chrome ones that are placed in metal dentures. This is due to many reasons, the main one being the type of metal.

In metal dentures, the clasps are made from cobalt chrome, and are cast as part of the actual metal framework. The properties of cobalt chrome are the perfect balance between deformation, stiffness, and elasticity, meaning that it will perform well for many years.

With the plastic dentures, we can only really ‘glue in’ stainless steel clasps, which are not very stiff and tend to deform very quickly. As they are not very stiff, it means that the denture doesn’t stay in well.

  1. Support


Metal dentures also have rest seats placed in them for better support.

Dentures can either be tooth supported (best), gum supported (worst), or a tooth and gum supported (second best).

Support is the element that stops the denture from sinking into the mouth and moving around when you bite down. All metal dentures will have some element of tooth support and the more support you have, the better.

Plastic dentures have the worst kind of support (gum supported) and when you bite down, all the pressure will go onto your denture and then onto your gums.

Your gums are not very good at withstanding this pressure, as they are much softer than your teeth and plastic dentures are often referred to as ‘gum strippers’ by dentists for this reason.

Plastic dentures can cause a great deal of damage to the gums surrounding your teeth and that’s why teeth with well-made and well-engineered metal dentures last a lot longer.

Think of the difference between building a house on concrete as oppose to sand!

  1. Bulkiness

 
As metal is much stronger than plastic, we can make it a lot thinner and smaller, meaning that your dentures won’t feel as bulky as the plastic ones. The difference between metal and plastic is that the plastic ones will be loose and bulky, and the metal ones will be better fitting, stay in well and be less bulky.

They will also build up less plaque as they will be smaller, meaning your teeth last longer.

  1. Better Fit

Image of a BetterFit
Metal dentures have a great fit compared to acrylic dentures due to the way the metal is cast, meaning that they are more comfortable.

 

 

 

  1. Leave your palate uncovered

 
As we can place clasps for better retention, meaning that the dentures stay in really well – we don’t need to cover your palate. This has the following advantages:

  • Taste of food is better compared to an acrylic (plastic) denture,which covers the roof of the mouth
  • More comfort during eating, as you can feel the texture / temperature of food on your palate
  • More comfort whilst wearing the denture
  • Zero gagging as the denture doesn’t go far back in your mouth

As you can see, there are many advantages of the metal dentures when compared to the plastic ones and it is surprising how many dentists still make plastic dentures when there are better alternatives. If your considering getting a denture or would like to upgrade your current denture to a one that performs a lot better, then give us a call and we would be happy to help. Our dedicated clinic is based in Carshalton, Sutton.

Updated Notes:

 
As mentioned previously, Cobalt-Chrome dentures are generally much better than acrylic denture, however there are some disadvantages. For the purposes of providing a well-balanced article, here they are:

  1. Cost – Cobalt Chrome is a lot more expensive. This is because the raw material is more expensive, it takes longer to make and takes a lot more skill by the dentist and technician to make a good set. In my opinion there are very few good technicians remaining and it’s an essential part of the process. This means you must pay more for quality!
  2. Aesthetics – Metal dentures obviously don’t look great because of the colour. The only part of the metal you may possibly see is the clasps. We always try and hide the clasps where possible, but sometimes if you want to use them, they will be on show. If this is the case a discussion is required on the pros and cons and the patients will decide what’s best for them.
  3. Time – It takes longer to make a cobalt chrome denture as opposed to an acrylic denture.

 
As there are pros and cons of all treatments, a discussion should take place prior to having dentures made, so that clear treatment goals are met. If you would like more information, please come and visit us for a complimentary examination.

Written by Dr Suril Amin

 

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61 thoughts on “The difference in acrylic (plastic) vs. metal (Cobalt Chrome) dentures in Sutton”

    1. i have a full top metal denture with three of my own teeth…Is it possible to replace the teeth but still keep the metal plate as it is a fantastic fit and don’t want the expense of a full metal plate again and it might not fit perfectly…Thankyou

        1. I have a metal denture with some of my own teeth. I have since lost another tooth and the gum at the front upper has receded causing a large space between the teeth. Could this be corrected?
          Thanks
          Ramdai

    1. Depends on the reasons. Possible reasons and solutions:

      1,. Clasps have deformed – tighten claps
      2. Bone has shrunk – reline dentures
      3. Supporting tooth has been lost – We can improve the outcome but the denture may never be as good as it was. Add a tooth/reline the are may help

  1. Your Post was very helpful. I have a new upper partial with the metal plat and it’s very uncomfortable and cuts into my gums when I eat “anything”. Thank you for confirming that the metal denture can be replaced with a non-metalic denture. I’m seeing my dentist soon and will ask about having it done.

  2. Spent a lot on my dentures only to find out I am allergic to the metal. My mouth began to burn, my tongue did the same thing …then I developed some type of fungus in my mouth…why? It seems I. am allergic to the metal. ughhhh.

    1. Oh dear! I hope it’s all resolved now. If you have an allergy it’s important to find out exactly what you’re allergic to so you can avoid future problems. Sometimes the same metals are used in dental crowns as well as jewelry.

  3. What stops the clips from becoming loose as you put the denture in and out to clean after meals/at the end of the day etc?

    1. Every material has an elastic limit – if you exceed it, it will deform. The clasps should not be placed in undercuts where this elastic limit will exceeded otherwise the denture will become loose.

      That’s why, at The Denture & Implant Clinic, we will always take a primary impression and then study/survey it so that we can plan your dentures accordingly.

  4. Please can you tell me if it is pissibke to have a full chrome denture? I have had a chrome dentures for 50 years, the reason was a very hard bite that kept chopping off the front teeth!! My second plate has been altered over the years (not brilliantly). Due to extractions leaving 3 top righthand teeth and just one left eye tooth. My dentist insists plastic dentures wil be ok but though cost may be an issue I am reluctant. The 5 remaining teeth cause discomfort and swelling gums. Please can you advise me. I woukd be so grateful.

    1. Yes you can have a full Chrome denture with plastic acrylic teeth.

      Advantages:

      1. Thinner palate
      2. Heat transfer from hot foods onto palate so you feel the ‘warmth’ of food better
      3. Chrome is very strong

      Disadvantages

      1. Difficult to adjust chrome once made
      2. The teeth can debond as you can only get a mechanical bond between acrylic and chrome
      3. Metallic taste (sometimes)
      4. Can be heavier
      5. When processing the two different materials you can get inaccuracies

      Generally I prefer full acrylic dentures, however there are times when I make a full chrome denture – just depends on the case. If a patient comes to me with a full chrome denture and says they love it – I’ll try and copy the design.

  5. Really good explanations. When you are dealing with dentures the adjustment required for eating with new partials doesn’t happen immediately. At first, foods may not taste the same as they once did, and there are many other consequences. Thanks. After reading this, one can decide what kind of dentures should be selected.
    Bridges Manteca

  6. What are the pros and cons with regard to implants verse dentures, I have 8 to 10 teeth that need implant or bridge ie 5 top and 5 bottom

    1. Hi Tony – it really depends on the situation, but here’s some generic advice.

      Implant Pro’s

      Fixed so you don’t have to remove your teeth
      Fixed do you don’t get any movement out of it when eating
      As it doesn’t rely on adjacent teeth for support/retention is better for the rest of your teeth
      Maintains bone around site so your jawbone doesn’t shrink
      You can eat a better diet
      Better longevity

      Implant con’s

      Cost
      Takes longer to do the treatment
      soreness after surgery

      Denture Pro’s

      quicker
      cheaper
      no surgery so if you are nervous this is a plus

      Denture Con’s

      You should remove at night time
      food gets stuck underneath sometimes
      cannot eat everything
      can decrease longevity of adjacent teeth, particularly if not designed well
      you can get movement when eating

  7. Can metal dentures be used as a temporary tooth after extraction while waiting for implant site to heal that needs a bone graft (1 front tooth only)

    1. Depends on the design of the denture. The problem with metal denture is that they cannot be adjusted easily and if you are putting pressure onto the graft area or onto the implant site then it can cause failures. If it’s free of these areas then it’s ok

  8. My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  9. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  10. I have a plastic plate with just one tooth on it,which I can not get on with.i was told I could have a metal plate and hopefully no clips as he would make it the same as the plastic one which’s fits nicely.i really would not want the clips,

  11. I have a full metal upper plate and hate my upper palate being covered so is it possible to have the middle part cut out to expose the roof of my mouth. Thank you for all your advice on this site

    1. If you have a full upper denture, you often need to cover the palate to aid retention and support. If you have really good bone on the upper ridge, you can sometimes have a horseshoe design (leaving the palate uncovered) and it will still work. However for most people, covering the palate is needed to keep the denture in.

  12. I am a singer..of a certain age! and need a partial denture cobalt chrome upper as I have been advised this is lighter and better fit and of course much cheaper than implants. Would this effect my voice in any way? it would be two fake teeth attached to one crown and one tooth. thanks

    1. We have a visit called a try-in where the dentures are almost finishing (but not processed) so we can check the fit/bite/cosmetics. At this stage you could take the denture home and sing with it to check its doesnt have a detrimental effect on your voice. If all good then have it processed. If no good, then adjust the teeth until it’s good!

  13. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    1. Having a full metal plate has certain advantages – its thinner and you can feel the warmth of the food you eat. However, its harder to process which means you can pick up inaccuracies, it may be heavier, you can’t adjust it easily and the acrylic can fractured off it.

      Overally – it’s better to have a full acrylic plate.

  14. I have a chrome plate (lower teeth). I note you say they should be removed at night? I clean mine before going to bed and then put in back in, so sleep with it in. Is this not advisable? If so, why not please?

    1. 1. Any hard tissue in your mouth will attract plaque (harmful bacteria), including your dentures and studies show that the plaque levels go up by more than 200% when wearing dentures even if you are cleaning them really well. Having that bacteria near your teeth is not good. Whatsmore is that as the salivary rates reduce significantly when you sleep, the bacteria can multiple and do not get washed away.

      2. Your saliva plays a vital role in cleaning the mouth. When wearing a denture this blocks the saliva from flowing around the gums which means your more likely to get fungal infections.

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  16. Hi,

    Question for you can a metal denture be used for someone who is completely edentulous?

    I am looking for a stronger denture while dealing with clenching during the daytime.

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  19. Your article is very informative. It’s a welcome change from other supposed informational content. Your points are unique and original in my opinion. I agree with many of your points.

  20. Is it normal for an upper partial cobalt chrome denture with an Kennedy class IV anterior saddle ( canine to canine missing) to have slight movement when pushed towards or pulled away from the soft tissue ? ( despite the cobalt chrome framework itself having good stability and retention)

    1. I would have to see it to diagnose the issue however here’s a response from the limited information I have:

      Yes, dentures always have slight movement as they are the removable option. If you want it completely secure then implants or a bridge is the way to go.

  21. Please help ! One of the clasps has broken off my Chrome partial plate which is now very loose. Can I use a denture addisve as a temporary measure as I am on holiday and not able to see my dentist until I return on the 8th July?

  22. Dear sir I have 3 teeth on upper left hand side and 1 tooth on the upper right hand side which means I have 4 teeth missing at the front – the same applies to the lower set – I’m going to my dentist tomorrow to decide whether to have cobalt or normal dentures – but I’m debating the plastic o.es will make me gag at the upper pallet- what is your solution. Thanks Andy 56 years old

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