Flexible Denture

Introduction

Flexible denture is a denture made from a flexible, plastic material (nylon), which fits neatly into the mouth and is virtually invisible. This is a new type of denture and have recently found some popularity for the fabrication of partial dentures.

Advantages

This type of denture is very light, strong and durable. The overall size is thinner and more flexible than the traditional metal/acrylic dentures.

This allows the denture to feel more natural and less bulky in the mouth and appear to be readily accepted by patients. The materials have similar colour to the gingiva and blend in with the natural tones of the tissues of your mouth.

Flexible dentures are fabricated without the use of a metal frame or any metal clasps to keep the denture in place. The flexible nature of the material allows provision of clasps that are a similar colour to the gingiva as opposed to metal clasps, which can often be visible in traditional dentures. The clasps snaps in securely into place around the existing teeth. Unlike acrylic dentures which easily break when they fall, the flexible dentures rarely break.

It does not contain the chemicals found in normal plastic dentures and is hypo-allergenic, giving options to those who cannot expose their mouths to metal.

Disadvantages

Flexible partial dentures are entirely mucosal-borne. This introduces the risk of gingival recession and clinical attachment loss – ‘gum stripping’.

Another disadvantage of  a flexible denture is its inability to be relined. Instead, the entire fixture needs to be redone, which takes more money, as well as more time to be completed.

Indication

The manufacturers of modern dental nylon system, such as Valplast (Valplast International Corporation, USA), recommend their use for the fabrication of partial dentures.

Full dentures do require some degree of rigidity in order to stay in place in the mouth and the flexibility of a flexible denture may not be suitable for the application of a full denture. However, there are some situations where a flexible denture may be well suited to a full denture application, including patients whom are allergic to denture acrylics, patients that are prone to breaking their acrylic dentures and patients whom can not wear a rigid full denture due to the shape of their mouth.

It will also be useful in the management of patients who suffer from severely limited mouth opening due to conditions such as microstomia,  scleroderma and subsequent to reconstruction following ablative surgery in oncology cases.

Contraindication

Flexible denture is not suitable for immediate denture case, because after tooth extraction there will be resorption of the bone and gum at a fast rate. As flexible denture cannot be relined, a normal acrylic denture will be more suitable for an immediate denture case.

The flexible denture procedure   The procedure can often be completed in two dental visits. In the first visit, the dentist will first discuss the treatment plan with the patient and take the impression of  the mouth. A model will be poured from this impression and send to the laboratory for fabrication of the flexible denture.

In the next visit the denture will be issued to the patient, the dentist might have to do some adjustments to fit in the denture in the mouth.

Flexible Denture

 

A flexible denture replacing a missing upper tooth.
 

An intra-oral view of a patient with a missing upper premolar tooth.

The same patient after wearing upper flexible denture

A flexible denture to replace two missing teeth on the upper arch.
 

An intra-oral view of a patient with missing upper premolar and molar teeth

The same patient after wearing upper flexible denture.

References     

  1. J. P. Singh, R. K. Dhiman, R. P. S. Bedi, S. H. Girish. Flexible denture base material: A viable alternative to conventional acrylic denture base material. Contemp Clin Dent. 2011 Oct-Dec; 2(4): 313–317
  2. LJ Rickman, P Padipatvuthikul, JD Satterthwaite. Contemporary Denture Base Resins: Part 2. Dent Update 2012; 39: 25-30
  3. Sandeep C, Hima Bindu OS, Sreedevi B, Prasad KS. Prosthodontic management of a completely edentulous microstomia patient. J Orofac Sci 2014;6:65-8
Last Reviewed : 19 June 2015
Writer : Dr. Fauziah bt. Ahmad
Accreditor : Dr. Sabarina bt. Bujang
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