The Pros and Cons of Denture Adhesives

By Dr. Damon on March 31, 2014

Fort Worth Denture AdhesivesDentures can be an excellent solution for full tooth replacement, but they are far different from REAL natural teeth. Typically the upper fits well and holds with suction. The lower, is a different story - there is no suction, and in-fact must be controlled by lips and tongue. A good fitting lower denture will most likely be loose.  For most denture patients to achieve the desired level of "Hold" they may require the use of adhesive cream. In many cases, denture adhesive is simply a helpful tool for keeping dentures in place. However, the excessive or improper use of adhesive can lead to problems.

If you currently wear dentures, or are planning on receiving them, it’s worth considering the benefits of denture adhesive vs. dental implants. Take a moment to weigh the pros and cons of denture cream, as provided by our Fort Worth clinic. 

The Benefits of a Good Fit

When dentures no longer conform perfectly to the gums, they can shift out of place and cause a variety of problems. This occurs with in two years of getting a new set of dentures - due to the underlying bone remodeling and resorbing thought a natural process. Denture cream can thus be used to secure dentures until they can be adjusted or replaced by a dentist. Even when dentures do fit well, some patients report they use a small ammount just for extra assurance their denture will stay secured. Others use a small ammount of adhesive to keep any food from getting up underneath dentures. A little adhesive can ensure the strongest hold possible, allowing people to continue eating, talking, and smiling without fear that their teeth may become loose. With a good, reliable fit, patients gain the following benefits:

  • Maximum comfort: Dentures that stay in place can be more easily ignored and treated like real teeth. More importantly, they do not rub against the gums or irritate nearby tissue.
  • Easy speech: Loose dentures may impair certain speech patterns. With secured dentures, speech is not hindered and remains clear.
  • Improved eating habits: When dentures are in less danger of becoming loose, people are free to eat a greater variety of the foods they enjoy.
  • Improved health: When dentures remain in place, they do not irritate the gums or result in complications such as mouth sores and infections.  

Problems Caused by Denture Adhesives

First, patients should realize that dentures must have a daily cleaning and any adhesive must be removed and replaced, rather than piled on top of older layers. When preexisting adhesive is left on dentures, it allows bacteria to grow. These bacteria can result in gum disease and bad breath.

Even more problematic, however, is the presence of zinc found in some denture creams. In low, occasional doses, zinc poses little risk. But when people consistently use adhesive on their dentures, the exposure to zinc may eventually lead to neuropathy - a nerve disorder usually found in the hands or feet. People suffering from neuropathy experience numbness or pain in their extremities, and may eventually lose the ability to move their muscles in the associated area. In severe cases, that can greatly impair one’s ability to walk. This was published in the Journal Neurology in 2008 after a study was completed at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

Zinc Free Adhesives?

The 2008 study has landed Proctor and Gamble, the manufactures of Fixodent in a contended lawsuit. Therefore other companies have started to offer Zinc Free Adhesives. A few zinc free adhesives are below:

  • Super Poly-Grip
  • Sea Bond. - Please note, I do not recommend Sea Bond as this is a wafer and "Lifts" the denture off gums. I feel that the fit is very poor and a number of problems can occur.

Use Denture Adhesive Appropriately

Because the above problems are caused from the misuse or overuse of denture adhesive, patients can easily limit the risk of complication through proper use. Namely, patients are encouraged to clean their dentures as often as they would clean regular teeth, including the removal of old adhesive. You should only be placing a few drops of adhesive on the denture. Any more then this- you need a reline of the denture or alternatively, a permanent soft liner to be made.  Additionally, remember that denture cream is primarily meant for loose dentures, and should not be used too liberally or frequently. If you believe that it is necessary for a better fit, speak with your dentist about the possibility of adjusting your dentures or finding an alternative method of support. 

Alternative Means of Support

Rather than relying on suction and adhesive to keep dentures in place, some patients opt for a more effective and permanent solution. By supporting your dentures with implants, you can gain all the benefits of a good fit without the need for denture cream. Better yet, implants provide the strongest and most reliable hold, even as jaw structure changes over time. To learn more about how implant-supported dentures can help you, schedule an appointment with us. 

Visit Our Denture Clinic

The health and beauty of your smile is our top priority. Come in for an appointment to learn more about your denture options along with the rest of our comprehensive dental services. Contact us today!

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