Flexible partial dentures are dental prosthesis made of thermoplastic nylon resin called polyamides used in professional dentistry since 1954. Dentists use flexible dentures to replace one or more of your missing teeth either in the upper or lower jaw. The advantages of nylon dentures are unique: ultra-thin, light, very flexible and virtually unbreakable (this means more comfortable for chewing and speaking than other dentures types).
Flexible dentures advantages and benefits.
The nylon dentures have unique advantages and benefits over traditional acrylic prosthesis. Let’s see them in details:
Ultra-light and thin.
The material thickness may vary from 0,6 mm to 1,8 mm so each nylon denture is five times lighter than standard dental prosthesis and even more if compared to metal cast partials. Flexible dentures make you forget about the bulky feeling that made wearing partial appliances so uncomfortable in the past.
The nylon base makes the prosthesis flexible so, it may absorb well an accidental fall to the ground during the home oral hygiene.
Because of its unbreakable feature, some brands such as Valplast offer lifetime warranty that apply to the flexible material only. In other words, prosthetic teeth (made of resin or porcelain) are not covered by the warranty. Please remember to handle the dental appliance with care.
Anallergic and highly biocompatible.
Polyamides (also known as thermoplastic nylon resin) doesn’t contain bisphenol (BPA) therefore it is the most biocompatible material for building dental resins. Polyamides dentures is a valid alternative for patients that suffer from allergies to acrylic or certain metals such as chromium and cobalt used in the framework of traditional partial dentures.
Nylon dentures are considered metal-free dental appliances.
Comfortable and excellent aesthetics.
Flexible partials benefits include comfortable. Infect, they adapt to the constant movement and flexibility in the mouth. Thanks to soft material, they do not cause gingival irritation.
Because there are no metal clasps around your natural teeth, they are virtually invisible.
The color of the base material blends with the natural color of the gums in your mouth. No one will discover you’re wearing a flexible partial denture.
Stain and odor resistant.
Even if flexible partial denture are more resistant to capture odor and to stain (let’s think about the pigmentation due to coffee, tea, cigarettes smoke and wine ) than traditional acrylic dentures they still need to be properly cleaned and maintained as described below
Describing standard partial denture, we said that while you are not wearing it, It is better to put it in a glass of water or in a damp little towel. The reason is simple, If a denture gets dry it tends to change its shape. With flexible dentures this risk doesn’t exist because they always tend to go back to their original shape. Anyway, dentists always advice their patients to keep their flexible partials hydrated using proper liquid.
Additional advantages and benefits:
- Make chewing and speaking easier
- Prevent your teeth from shifting;
- Decrease the risk of periodontal disease;
- Maintain the shape of your face.
When are flexible partials useful ?
Flexible partial dentures are a good choice in the following situations:
- as temporary dental prosthesis while waiting for a definitive appliance;
- as alternative to acrylic dentures that have unaesthetic metal claps;
- as an excellent transitional restoration during the healing period after dental implants have been placed;
- for people who are not candidates for dental implants or fixed dental bridge, or have financial limitations (low-income or retired people as well as seniors).
Although we said that the nylon prosthesis is virtually unbreakable or high impact resistant, the acrylic teeth attached to it are not; so you always need to be very careful when handling.
Problems and disadvantages.
As any other dental device, soft dentures have disadvantages too. First of all the price: flexible dentures cost is a bit more than the amount of money you need for a traditional dental prosthesis. Comfort and aesthetic have their price.
An additional flexible partials problem occurs when your gums change their shape. It is hard to reline or rebase them as the dental technician does with full removable dentures (learn more about denture reline service and procedure).
In case of accident there are a few possibilities to repair them. In most cases the technician has to redo your device from scratch.
Materials and Brands: DuraFlex™, Valplast®, Sunflex® and tcs®.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, metal framework and hard resin of traditional dentures have been replaced by nylon (thermoplastic polyamides resin).
The most popular flexible partials brands are Valplast and Sunflex:
Valplast® flexible partials provide high esthetics result and perfectly blend with the patient’s natural tissue and surrounding dentition.
Flexite® and Ultraflex® are additional brands that uses a vinyl composite instead of nylon. Many dental labs consider vinyl composite dentures much more easier to adjust. These materials are also flexible and can be manufactured with tooth or gum colored clasps
How much do flexible dentures cost ?
The cost of flexible partial dentures may vary a lot depending on many different elements that have to be taken into account. First of all the level of the specialist: Usually prosthodontists charge more than general dentists because the training level Is longer and more expensive. Second, the location of the dental office.US east coast is generally more expensive than the mid-west.
The price also depend on how many teeth you have to replace. Replacement of for front teeth can be less affordable than molars or premolars because the aesthetic result you want to reach.
Generally speaking, we can say that flexible dentures cost can range from $900 to $1500.
Each additional single resin tooth is about 50 or 80 dollars and the technician charge 20 or 30 dollars to attach it to your current dentures.
To reline or rebase a flexible denture may cost $120 to $200.
If you need root teeth extractions or oral surgery to adjust the bony ridge, the final price you will go to pay for increases.
How is getting flexible dentures ?
In order to get your nylon dentures in place and leave the dental office with your new teeth and smile, there are a few simple steps to follow.
First of all your dentist has to be sure your remaining natural teeth are healthy and have no caries. A simple X-rays exam will revel tooth whether or not you have cavities.
Second, if you have damaged root teeth still in place, the dentist has to remove them.
The third step is gum and teeth impression. The dental technician will build your prosthesis upon the plaster cast made from the impression.
The good news is that your natural teeth don’t need to be touched in any way (dental bridge needs teeth reshaping).
Thanks to the light weight and the partials flexibility, the adjustment period is very short: usually no more than 2 or 3 weeks. You will need more time in case of you have never worn a dental appliance before.
Please remember that flexible partial dentures are custom made by dental laboratories according to the specifications of your dentist. They can only be placed by a licensed dentist or prosthodontist. (American Prosthodontic Society).
Caring for your nylon denture.
Even if you have a few teeth in your mouth or just one of them, it doesn’t mean that you are allowed to skip the daily oral hygiene. Here are some simple rules to keep your remaining teeth and gums healthy and to increase the flexible partial lifespan:
- remove the denture from your mouth after each meal and brush teeth;
- use a soft bristle toothbrush in order to avoid to irritate the gum tissue;
- remember not to use the toothbrush to clean the denture because it may remove the polish and roughen the surface over time;
- floss regularly at least once a day before to go to sleep as recommended by dentists;
- use a sonic denture cleaner to remove food particles from your dentures (in alternative put the nylon prosthesis under the running water);
- when you are not wearing the dentures, keep them in a glass of water or denture cleaner to maintain its surface hydrated.
- rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash as those with clorexidina.
If you feel your flexible nylon denture do not fit your gums anymore, visit your dentist as soon as possible.