Flexible partial dentures are made of nylon and are very thin, almost unbreakable, and resist odors and stains well. They have been in existence since the 1950s and were a great alternative to bulky traditional dentures that caused aesthetic problems for patients. This allowed for the use of removable dentures as opposed to more permanent implants.
A short overview of flexible partial dentures
These types of dentures are generally used for patients who cannot afford traditional partial dentures or other alternatives, such as implants, crowns or bridges. Patients who are not candidates for fixed bridgework or implants also typically use flexible partial dentures as a fix for their dental issues. Because of their flexibility, this type of denture can adjust to a person’s movements much more so than other types of dentures. Flexible partial dentures tend to blend in with a patient’s tissue, making them less visible than traditional dentures. No metal clasps are present to cover the patient’s teeth. A dentist will perform all routine check-ups, ask about the patient’s medical history, take X-rays and then decide on the best course of action. Some patients may require the extraction of decayed teeth before getting fitted for flexible partial dentures.
The nylon in flexible partial dentures is suitable for people who are allergic to acrylic. These dentures are more comfortable for patients because of the flexible clasp, as opposed to a traditional metal clasp. They also cover gums that have receded and create a more pleasing look as soon as the patient puts on the denture. Flexible dentures are light and resist breaking quite well. They are also less likely to stain, but still require consistent care.
The function of a flexible partial denture is to prevent teeth from moving into areas where there are now gaps because of missing teeth. They are often a temporary solution to dental issues and are used while patients wait for implants, crowns or other procedures that are more permanent. There are also flippers—flexible partial dentures that can be flipped by using the tongue. These have metal clasps that are looser, more unsightly and obvious for the patient. They can also be easily flipped with the tongue at inopportune moments, but they are still a good temporary solution that is cost-effective while a patient waits for other procedures.
Flexible partial dentures are difficult to realign should there be problems with them. If they are ever broken the entire denture must be replaced, which can add costs. They must be thoroughly cleaned because they can trap bacteria near the gum line and the other teeth. Small projections are what hold flexible dentures securely in the mouth, and this allows for more bacteria to accumulate in these areas. Patients who use these dentures must exercise good and consistent hygiene habits in order to prevent gingivitis or other dental issues from occurring. Patients must never wear their flexible dentures at night or while sleeping because it could create or exacerbate dry mouth and worsen bacterial accumulation.