Denture Adhesives (Part II)

In the first part of this blog, I talked about why not to use denture adhesives. Once all the reline procedures have been tried, there are occasional instances where there is still not enough bone to provide enough surface area for adequate retention and stability. In those cases, a patient will usually have to rely on denture adhesives. Also on cases where a patient would be too self-conscious about a denture slipping while out in public, denture adhesives can be helpful. Denture adhesives come in powder, paste, or adhesive pads. Any of the forms work reasonably well, so which variety or brand is totally up to personal preference. There has been a lot of talk lately in the media about zinc in denture adhesives. Too much zinc in the body can cause nerve damage. It turns out that patients who were experiencing symptoms of zinc toxicity were overusing the product. Only the smallest amount of denture adhesive should be used and that should minimize any toxic effects. Lately, many companies have reformulated their products to be zinc-free, so that would alleviate any concerns.

Denture Adhesives

Denture adhesives are used to help retain dentures in the mouth. Before denture adhesives are used, a dentist should be consulted. Ill fitting dentures can cause areas of chronic irritation which can lead to mouth sores and ulcers and eventually could be a source of malignant transformation. Mouth cancer is not something to be taken lightly, so a dental examination is always best to have before considering denture adhesives. Most ill-fitting dentures can be relined with new plastic to have them conform to the gums better. When teeth are removed, the body realizes that there is no need for the bone to hold the teeth in, so it slowly allows the bone to dissolve. Since the denture plastic doesn’t change, gaps begin to form which causes a loss of suction. A reline will fill in the gaps, restoring the suction. There are other times, especially on the lower, where there is not enough bone for adequate retention and stability. In this case, it is best to train the muscles to keep the denture in place while chewing and talking. This will allow the denture to stay in place during function.

Denture Adhesives

A good fitting denture along with an adequate amount of saliva will usually allow a denture to fit well without the use of denture adhesives. However, over time, the gums will naturally shrink and thus the dentures will begin to loosen. The better thing to do is to go to your dentist for a reline. An impression is made of the new gums and new plastic is processed into place giving the denture a fit that is as good as new. In the interim, denture adhesive can be used, but it should not be relied on as ill-fitting dentures can be a source of chronic irritation that could possibly lead to malignancy. Another reason that denture adhesive may be needed is very flat gum ridges. If there is not enough bone present to resist the lateral forces of chewing, the denture could become continually dislodged.

Powder and Paste Adhesives

There are a number of varieties of denture adhesives, mostly pastes, powders, and wafers. All types seem to work reasonably well, although pastes should only be used sparingly because they tend to be very thick in viscosity and could throw off the proper fit of the denture.