Partials are divided into primarily 3 types:
Flexible partials: As technology improves so does dentistry. We are now able to offer flexible repairable partials with precision milled or 3D printed esthetic clasps that are actually hard to see when the partial is in the patients mouth. This is not your parents partial, it is a very exciting improvement on what has always been a weak point in removable dentistry. This type of partial has no metal in it, yet is extremely durable.
Cast Metal partials: This is the traditional partial that most people have seen with a metal framework and metal clasps, although now esthetic non-metal clasps can be added. This partial is precision cast, strong, lasts for years and replaces any missing teeth on a dental arch that has enough natural teeth to support the partial.
Acrylic partial: An acrylic partial is actually meant to be a temporary partial. The entire device is make from acrylic except for the clasps which are made from bent wire. The upside of this partial is that it is fast to make so the patient can get something very quickly and it is inexpensive. The downside is that it rest directly on the gum tissue, the fit is not as good as the other two types of partials and they are much more easily broken.