In today’s world, missing teeth are no longer talk of misery. Replacement of lost teeth with dentures give you a natural-looking smile and comfort to wear on a daily basis.
Custom made replacements like dentures have always been famous among the older generation. But regular dentures take some time to adjust and you must get used to its proper functioning.
With the advancements in dental materials, we now have a specialized solution which is known as a flexible denture.
Now losing your teeth to disease or injury doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to an attractive smile. Flexible dentures are made of softer material as compared to the regular acrylic dentures.
In this article, we will learn more about flexible dentures, their benefits and drawbacks and how they are better than the regular dentures.
Dentures are a custom-made replacement of missing teeth that are made from combinations of porcelain, acrylic resin, nylon, and chrome cobalt metal.
Earlier, porcelain used to be the preferred material for making denture teeth, but over the years’ resin has taken over as it is much lighter, cheaper and adheres better to the base of the denture.
Usually, a denture base is made of either acrylic resin or chrome cobalt metal. Acrylic resin can be dyed accordingly to match the patient’s gum color.
Metal doesn’t break easily if the dentures drop. But now a third option is a flexible denture base which is made of nylon.
What is a flexible denture?
Flexible dentures are custom made prosthetic device that consists of prosthetic teeth embedded on a soft nylon denture base that can adapt easily to the underlying jaw bone of the patient.
They are comfortable to wear and easy to adapt to the gums as compared to the traditional acrylic dentures which are hard and cannot change shape.
Flexible dentures are proving to be more practical as they offer excellent chewing capability without damaging the surrounding gums. These type of dentures are more discreet, hygienic and faster to make as compared to hard dentures.
- Also read: What is a Flipper Denture or Flipper Tooth?
Problems with regular dentures
Regular dentures have a rigid resin or metal base that takes time to adjust and get used to the oral cavity.
It takes time for the patient as well to learn how to hold the dentures in place with the cheeks and tongue around. New acrylic dentures initially cause soreness and irritation causing great discomfort to the patient.
Patient must learn the proper procedure to clean the dentures carefully to avoid any fracture or breakages. With the continual change in the shape of the jaws, acrylic dentures are not durable enough.
Advantages of flexible dentures
Flexible dentures prove to be an excellent solution for patients who don’t want to use regular dentures.
A recent study was done to compare the satisfactory levels of patients using flexible dentures over the patients using regular dentures at the Prosthetics Clinic, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
The study showed that over 70% of the patients were satisfied with the flexible denture. (1)
Some of the advantages of using a flexible denture –
- Flexible dentures aren’t brittle; they’re less likely to fracture or break when dropped
- They adapt firmly to the gums, and they don’t require denture adhesives or the help of metal clasps to hold them in place
- The material is transparent and allows the natural gum color to show through
- They take lesser time to manufacture as compared to regular dentures
- Comfort is a significant advantage, and patients often find chewing easy
- Some patients are allergic to materials like acrylic resin or nickel that are present in traditional dentures. Flexible denture solves that problem
Disadvantages of flexible denture
- Though Flexible dentures aren’t likely to break when dropped, patients should clean them carefully.
- The flexible nylon base is more prone to bacteria build-up.
- The patient will have to remove the dentures daily, brush them and put them in warm water to keep them clean
What did you learn?
Replacing missing teeth always helps to improve your appearance and smile. When the teeth are not replaced, the facial muscles start to sag, and the jaws begin to change their shape, decreasing the bone height.
Dentures can help you look good, eat and speak more comfortably especially for the older population.
Flexible dentures are one of the options available to replace natural teeth effectively. They are comfortable, durable and easy to use.
Long term success of flexible dentures depends on clinical education, more experience, and more research.
A survey study done in Greece stated that comfortesthetics and cost were the reasons for deciding to use the flexible removable partial dentures. (2)
If you are thinking to get a replacement for your lost teeth, talk to your dentist and list out all the available options that fit right according to your needs.