All dentures are traditionally made out of a hard plastic material called acrylic but now there are newer materials which do not have the disadvantages of traditional dentures. Flexite and Valplast are two such newer denture types. They are much thinner, can be made smaller and stay in better than traditional dentures.
As already stated, the majority of dentures are made out of a plastic called acrylic. The acrylic comes in two colours to reflect the colour of the teeth that are going to replace your natural teeth and also show the colour of the “gummy” part of the denture. Pink acrylic is used for the gum part and for the teeth, the exact shade of white is matched up to the patient.
A variation of the traditional acrylic denture is a cobalt chrome denture. The Cobalt chrome denture still uses the plastic acrylic and in addition uses a metal called cobalt Chrome. Cobalt Chrome-based dentures are primarily used where strength is required in instances where for example the patient keeps on breaking the plastic dentures and a stronger alternative is required.
Cobalt chrome dentures are also used where additional retention by way of metal clips ( or clasps) is required to hold the dentures in the mouth for talking and eating a bit better.
But acrylic dentures and the metal-based cobalt chrome dentures have disadvantages and therefore the search was on for new materials to address these shortcomings. 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
At the basic level, a denture is a piece of plastic with white plastic teeth which can fit in the mouth and be used for eating and for aesthetics.
But 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 and to make things worse, the mouth is an extremely sensitive part of the body.
The mouth can detect very small changes such as when a tiny portion of your tooth or filling breaks off, the cavity feels absolutely huge. Just think back when you had a filling placed or a crown and how strange it initially felt.
So now you can understand why having an extra piece of plastic in your mouth would be difficult to tolerate. It is a surprise that patients managed to wear, tolerate and eat with dentures with any sort of effectiveness.
Patients, however, do manage, and this is because the mouth is extremely good at adapting, but there is a limit. One major factor which has a large influence on how a patient will adapt to dentures is the age. It is challenging when trying to make a denture for a very elderly patient.
It is not uncommon to see an absolutely perfectly well-made denture which cannot be tolerated by an elderly patient. Of course, age is not the only factor and other parameters are also involved.
Difficulty in keeping them in the mouth
They may slip whilst eating or even during conversations. You may be one of these patients who has difficulty with keeping the dentures in the mouth. There are also some patients where the denture does have adequate retention but there is a perceived fear that the denture will come out or move during talking and eating.
When dentures are loose, denture fixatives are one solution but they are messy and a hassle.
Some patients just can’t accept that they have lost teeth and feel they are now growing old. This is because dentures are associated with getting old and there is a familiar picture of dropping your false teeth in a glass of water before going to bed.
Denture allergies to acrylic
Redness and pain under adventure is usually caused by the denture rubbing excessively on your gum. There is also a condition called denture stomatitis where the area of your mouth in contact with the dentures becomes infected. Most commonly, it is the upper palate area.
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. Similarly, if a denture is too loose, the patient may be less confident with their appearance as a result.
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. Some of these dentures were good, some average and a few awful.
Dentures continually breaking for various reasons. This can be a common problem when dentures suffer from repeated fractures.
Valplast Denture by Dr Muzzafar Zaman
Over the last few years, alternatives to acrylic dentures have come on to the market. Two such alternatives are Valplast dentures and Flexite dentures. This newer type of denture is still plastic, a nylon-based thermoplastic to be exact, but it’s much thinner and actually flexes.
Although it will cost 2-3 times as much like 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. Patients report them as being less intrusive in the mouth for eating and talking.
They can have better retention and hold in, without the need for unsightly metal clips or clasps. There is much less movement when talking and eating with them.
Valplast and Flexi-dentures are very difficult to break due to the thermoplastic nature of the material. Denture accidents do happen and when you drop a traditional plastic denture in the sink whilst cleaning or on the floor, breakages are common. Valplast and Flexi-dentures do not break when dropped.
Products You Can Purchase
Poligrip Flavour Free Denture Fixative Cream, 70 g, Pack of 6
Fixodent Denture Adhesive Cream Best Hold 40g – Pack of 3
Y-Kelin 60 Tablets Denture Cleansing Tablets (30 tablets x 2 packs)
Steradent Active Fresh Denture Daily Cleaner, 30 Tablets (Pack of 3 Tubes)
Uten Ultrasonic Cleaner – Jewellery, Dentures, Glasses Watch, Metal Coins, Cleaner, 600ml
Applied Dental Materials
J ClinDiagn Res. 2013 Oct
Boucher’s Prosthodontic Treatment for Edentulous Patients.Zarb GA, Bolender CL, Carlsson GE.