All dentures are traditionally made out of a hard plastic material called Acrylic. Sometimes a metal called Cobalt Chrome is also used where strength is needed or where clasps ( hooks) are needed. Although millions and millions of patients wear acrylic dentures, they are still far from ideal and many hate wearing them. There are many reasons why patients cannot get on with dentures. Here are the common ones:
- Difficulty in tolerating dentures. The mouth was not made for holding a large lump of plastic to eat with so dentures are not natural and it’s no wonder why patients struggle.
- Difficulty in keeping them in the mouth. They may slip whilst eating or even during talking. Denture fixatives are one solution but they are messy and a hassle.
- Psychological factors. Some patients just can’t accept that they have lost teeth and feel they are now growing old.
- Denture allergies to acrylic can occur but real allergies are not common at all.
- Problems with appearance. If a denture has a metal clip to hold it in place, the clip can show when smiling or talking and patients become conscious of this.
- Pain and soreness under dentures. I see patients where a sore spot is eased by adjusting the denture but then the soreness appears somewhere else. Eventually no matter what you do, the denture is never right. Once I saw a patient who had had no less than 23 dentures made by 9 different dentists.
- Dentures continually breaking for various reasons.
Over the last few years, alternatives to acrylic have come on to the market. Two such alternatives are Valplast dentures and Flexite dentures. This newer type of denture is still a plastic, a thermoplastic to be exact, but it’s much thinner and actually flexes.
Although it will cost 2-3 times as much as a traditional denture, it does also have other disadvantages such as:
Should you lose a further tooth or teeth, You cannot add further teeth on to it and a completely new denture has to be made from scratch again. With traditional acrylic dentures, teeth can be added.
Valplast dentures do stain much more and can look quite stained in as little as 6 months.
If they rub causing sore areas, these dentures are much more difficult to adjust.
Having said the above, Valplast and Flexite dentures are still very useful in certain circumstances.
So here are the reasons why I recommend this type of denture:
They can be more comfortable to wear as they are thinner.
They can have better retention and hold in, without the need for unsightly metal clips or clasps.
Valplast and Flexi-dentures are very difficult to break due to the thermoplastic nature of the material.
Applied Dental Materials
J Clin Diagn Res. 2013 Oct
Flexible Thermoplastic Denture Base Materials for Aesthetical Removable Partial Denture Framework
J Prosthodont Res. 2014 Jan;58(1):3-10