Dental terms thrown at you right after you’ve been told that you’ll need to extract teeth can be quite scary and confusing for that matter. Let’s pretend that you’re sitting in a dental chair and your dentist comes out and tells you that your #8, upper front tooth, is badly deteriorated, you’ll need to see a periodontist, and you will have to wear an interim partial denture, such as a flipper tooth or nesbit partial while your gums are healing.  After you’ve been slapped with those words, all types of emotions and questions will come to play.  What is a flipper or a nesbit partial anyway? Will my fake teeth look well…umm…fake? These questions are normal, and here at Direct2Lab, we’ll do our best to help clear some of that confusion.

What are Dentures?

A denture is a removable device that is made to cover or replace missing teeth. A denture not only covers gaps between teeth, dentures, such as partial dentures, also prevent existing teeth (if any) to shift — similar to retainers or braces.  

What Types of Dentures are There?

There are two main types of dentures: “full dentures” (missing all teeth in a single arch) and “partial dentures” (missing one tooth or more, but not all in a single arch).  Since dentures are named per arch, it is important to name the arch you are referring to, such as: upper partial denture, lower partial denture, upper full denture, and lower full denture.

What Types of Dentures Are There and What Are Dentures Made of?

Dentures, both full dentures and partial dentures, have two main parts: denture teeth and denture base.  

Denture teeth are the teeth that are shaped like your natural teeth. These false teeth are pre-formed and are made from either plastic or porcelain. Plastic denture teeth are the most commonly used teeth when making dentures because they are economical, lighter, and are easier to repair.  On the other hand, porcelain denture teeth are typically more aesthetic, durable, and reusable.

Denture bases are what the body of the denture is made of. Traditional dentures are made of either gum shaded acrylic resin, or metal, like chrome cobalt. Luckily for us, nowadays, acrylic dentures and metal are not our only options.  

Full denture base options: Acrylic resin, thermoplastic, metal

Full acrylic dentures are your traditional dentures. An acrylic base is easy to repair and reline, so it’s a great option for a transitional or an immediate denture. It takes 4-6 months for your gums to fully heal or shrink back to normal after an extraction(s). If you had a denture made prior to complete healing, you can easily have your acrylic denture relined or tightened by filling in the extra space with more acrylic.

Full flexible dentures are also known as our Ultra-Thin Full Dentures. These are full dentures with a thermoplastic denture base. Don’t let the name fool you though; full flexible dentures are NOT flexible.  If it’s not flexible, then why have a full denture with a flexible denture base?  Good question.  Processing a full denture with a thermoplastic denture base allows the denture to be BPA and monomer free, stain resistant, thinner, lighter, and more durable than a full denture with a traditional acrylic base. 

Full metal dentures are full dentures with a full metal palate and acrylic base. Although it is possible to make a full denture with a full metal palate, it’s not common.  People may consider this option if they prefer a thin and durable denture base that can be relined in the future.

Partial denture base options: acrylic, thermoplastic, metal.

Flipper teeth, stayplates, and temporary partial dentures are partial dentures with an acrylic base.  The only difference between flippers and stayplates are the number of teeth in the partial denture. Dental flippers tend to have only 1 to 2 adjacent teeth, whereas stayplates have 3 or more teeth on the denture. This type of denture may or may not have metal clasps to hold on to teeth for retention.

Flexible dentures are partial dentures made from flexible, thermoplastic material, such as TCS and Valplast. Single tooth flexible dentures are called nesbit dentures.

Flexible partial dentures are more aesthetic since they do not have metal holding on to teeth and are thinner than traditional acrylic dentures.

Cast metal partial dentures are partial dentures with a full metal body and acrylic to hold the teeth.  Metal partial dentures are traditional partial dentures. They are thin, durable, repairable, and can be relined since they have acrylic. 

At Direct2Lab, we only manufacture our items with quality, FDA approved products, so you can expect great dental appliances without burning a hole through your wallet.  

Still have questions? Call or send us a message on our Contact Page and one of our happy and knowledgeable Customer Service Reps will gladly assist you. 


PO Box 731085, San Jose CA 95173

Office Hours

MON - FRI 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

SAT - SUN 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Email: [email protected]

Phone: (408) 634-8199

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