Application area of flexible dentures.
Flexible dentures , also known as flexible partial dentures or thermoplastic dentures, are a type of dental prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. They are made from flexible and lightweight materials, usually a type of thermoplastic resin, which offers several advantages over traditional rigid dentures.
Application of flexible dentures
Flexible dentures have various applications in dentistry, particularly for patients who require partial tooth replacement. Some of the applications of flexible dentures include:
Partial tooth loss: Flexible dentures are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth when a patient still has some natural teeth remaining. They provide a more aesthetic and comfortable alternative to traditional metal-based partial dentures.
Aesthetic concerns: The flexible material used in these dentures blends more naturally with the surrounding tissues, making them less noticeable and more aesthetically pleasing compared to the metal clasps used in conventional partial dentures.
Comfort and adaptability: The flexibility of the material allows for a better fit, enhancing patient comfort. They are less likely to cause irritation or sore spots on the gums and oral tissues compared to rigid dentures.
Functional capabilities: Flexible dentures can provide sufficient support and stability for biting and chewing, enabling patients to eat a wider variety of foods without discomfort or fear of denture breakage.
Allergic reactions: Some patients may be allergic to certain metals used in traditional dentures. Flexible dentures are metal-free, reducing the risk of allergic reactions.
Temporary replacement: They can serve as temporary solutions while patients are waiting for a more permanent dental restoration, such as dental implants or fixed bridges.
Geriatric patients: Flexible dentures can be particularly useful for elderly patients who may have more fragile oral tissues or difficulty adjusting to traditional dentures.
Patients with oral health issues: Patients with a history of teeth grinding (bruxism) or a strong bite may find flexible dentures more resilient and less prone to fractures.
Types of flexible dentures
There are different types of flexible dentures, each varying in their material composition and manufacturing techniques. The most common types of flexible dentures include:
Valplast dentures: Valplast dentures are made of a nylon-based thermoplastic resin that is used to create flexible partial dentures. They are known for their natural appearance and flexibility, which allows them to adapt well to the shape of the patient’s mouth and gums. The materials used in these dentures are lightweight, biocompatible, and resistant to stains and odors.
FlexiLytes: FlexiLytes is designed to be a cost-effective alternative to traditional metal-based partial dentures. The materials used in FlexiLytes dentures are flexible resins that provide a comfortable fit and reasonable aesthetics. They are metal-free, made of metal, or prefer a more discreet appearance.
Flexites: Flexites are a type of thermoplastic resin that is used to create partial and complete dentures. These are known for their durability, flexibility, and biocompatibility. The material allows for a precise fit, ensuring better comfort for the patient. They are also resistant to stains and odors, maintaining a natural appearance over time.
Sunflex: These are designed to be lightweight and durable, providing good flexibility for a comfortable fit. Sunflex dentures are known for their ease of adjustment and repair, making them a practical choice for patients who may need future modifications. They are metal-free and are favored for their aesthetic advantages.
Advantages and disadvantages of flexible dentures
Advantages of flexible dentures
Here are the advantages of flexible dentures:
Aesthetics: The material used in flexible dentures blends with the natural color of the gums, making the dentures less noticeable and more aesthetically pleasing, especially for partial dentures where metal clasps may be avoided.
Lightweight: Flexible dentures are lighter than traditional dentures, which can improve overall comfort and reduce the feeling of bulkiness in the mouth.
Metal-Free: Flexible dentures do not contain any metal components, eliminating the risk of allergic reactions to metals in some patients.
Easy to Adjust: These dentures are relatively easy for dentists to adjust or modify, allowing for quick and convenient adjustments if needed.
Improved Chewing Efficiency: The flexibility and adaptability of the denture material contribute to better stability and chewing efficiency, allowing patients to enjoy a wider variety of foods.
Disadvantages of flexible dentures
Here are the disadvantages of flexible dentures:
Cost: Flexible dentures can be more expensive than traditional acrylic dentures due to the higher cost of the specialized materials used.
Not Suitable for Extensive Tooth Loss: Flexible dentures are best suited for patients with partial tooth loss. In cases of complete tooth loss, traditional complete dentures or dental implants may be more appropriate.
Limited Availability: Not all dental labs may offer flexible denture fabrication, which can limit access to these prosthetics in some regions.
Difficult to Repair: Although flexible dentures are durable, repairing them can be more challenging than traditional acrylic dentures in cases of damage or fracture.
How much do flexible dentures cost?
The cost of flexible dentures can vary depending on several factors, including the geographic location, the complexity of the case, and the specific type of flexible denture material used. The cost of flexible dentures can range from $800 to $1500 per arch (upper or lower). The total cost can increase if the patient needs a full set of flexible dentures for both the upper and lower arches.
It is essential to note that dental insurance coverage can vary significantly, and not all insurance plans may cover the cost of flexible dentures.