What are flexible dentures

Flexible dentures are a type of removable prosthesis (can be put on and taken off) indicated when several teeth are missing and are very comfortable to wear, while being very resistant to shocks. We can say that flexible dentures are an alternative to rigid dentures that can cause discomfort, especially in the gums.

Flexible prostheses help prevent many of the problems caused by rigid prostheses in patients. Getting used to a prosthesis with a rigid resin or metal base may take some time. You not only have to get used to the sensation of wearing the prosthesis, but also learn how to hold them in place with your cheeks and tongue. New prostheses often cause irritation and pain in the first few days, and patients must learn to clean them carefully and avoid breakage.

Flexible dentures, on the other hand, adapt to the shape of the gums, even when they change over time due to age and other factors. They are very durable and are much more discreet and hygienic than rigid prostheses.

For all these reasons, they have become a very comfortable and esthetic dental accessory. Although it is a slightly more expensive treatment than rigid prostheses, it is still less expensive than dental implants.

See Types of dental implants.. Everything you need to know

They are usually made of a material called nylon. A material, similar to silicone, belonging to the family of polyamides, semi-flexible and of very good quality. Nylon is an almost transparent material that can be made in colors very similar to the color of the gums and is very comfortable, flexible and shock resistant.

Flexible prostheses can be complete or partial. If only a few teeth need to be replaced, partial dentures will be used, while if all or almost all of them are needed, full dentures will be used.

Initially, flexible prostheses were manufactured in nylon. Currently, composites such as Flexite or Valplast are also used, which are highly adaptable to the gingiva, are resistant and allow a very esthetic result to be achieved.

Advantages of flexible dentures

The advantages of wearing flexible prostheses are several, among which we can highlight:

  • They are flexible and adjust to the required degree of stiffness, depending on the thickness, while offering a high degree of comfort.
  • They are very comfortable to wear thanks to their flexibility.
  • They do not generate any allergic reaction. Unlike acrylic (rigid) prostheses, they are made of a hypoallergenic material,
  • They are very static. They are made of a translucent material that perfectly matches the color of the gums and teeth for a very natural look.
  • They are shock and drop resistant. They are made of a quality material that offers a good level of support, retention and stability.
  • They are removable and flexible, allowing them to be better cleaned
  • Its fabrication time is shorter compared to other types of dental prostheses.

Disadvantages of flexible dental prostheses

Although this type of removable dental prosthesis offers an indisputable series of advantages, it can also present small disadvantages.

  • Due to their composition, it is not possible to repair them, but they must be completely replaced.
  • The flexible base is more prone to bacterial accumulation than rigid bases.
  • In patients with a high masticatory force, a small displacement of the teeth in the prosthesis can be generated, due to the fact that the material is quite elastic and flexible.
  • Nylon, with the passage of time, may present stains or pigmentations due to the microporosity of the material. Smoking, consumption of red wine, coffee or other products can eventually soil the prosthesis.
  • It is a treatment with a high economic cost, due to its high quality materials and its manufacturing technique.

A pesar de estas desventajas, podemos decir que, dependiendo de las características y de la situación de cada paciente, se trata de un tratamiento dental muy exitoso en la mayoría de personas.

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How flexible prostheses are attached

Initially, a flexible prosthesis is held in place by metal clasps called retainers that are anchored to the prosthesis and to the patient’s teeth.

In cases where esthetics is important, such as having to place the retainers in the anterior teeth, one can resort to flexible claspless prostheses, which use retainers made of the same resin as the prosthesis and which are barely noticeable.

Thanks to the technological advances that have taken place in the world of dentistry, today there are better materials for the creation of dental prostheses and make them last longer and are more comfortable, so that the gums do not suffer.

Maintenance of flexible prostheses

Flexible dentures should last between five and ten years, although over time the denture may need to be realigned or readjusted for a better fit.

There are several things you can do to maintain your dentures and take good care of your entire mouth during this time:

  • Clean your denture every day to remove plaque and trapped food to ensure your mouth feels fresh. A combination of soaking, brushing and rinsing is usually the best way to clean dentures.
  • Remove your dentures before going to bed so that your mouth can rest. When you remove your denture, you can be sure that it will keep its shape if you leave it completely submerged in water so that it does not deform or break.
  • Be careful when handling the prosthesis. To avoid breakage, clean y