All About Adhesives for Partial Dentures

Older couple eats together

If you’re new to getting partial dentures, you may wonder if you need to use an adhesive to keep them in place. Partials, unlike full dentures, are usually locked in place with some sort of clasp system. Because of this, it may be less obvious whether or not you should consider using a denture adhesive with your partials. We’re going to take a closer look at partials and adhesives to help you decide if you want to speak with your dental professional about potentially incorporating them into your denture care routine. 

Types of Partial Dentures

Partial dentures differ from full dentures in that they aren’t replacing all the teeth in your mouth. Rather, the partial can be made so it fits around or attaches to your remaining teeth. There are three different types of partial dentures, and your decision on if you want to use adhesive may be based partially on what type of partial you will be getting. There are many types of partials, but the most common three types are: acrylic (or plastic) partial dentures, metal framework partial dentures, and flexible partial dentures. 

Metal Framework Partial Dentures

Metal framework dentures are the most common kind of partial denture. Some can be constructed from chromium and cobalt, and can have different types of attachments based on your needs and preferences. The framework is covered with a synthetic material to match the color of your gums. Generally, metal framework partials are preferred to acrylic or plastic partials, except for in some cases. They are, however, usually more expensive that acrylic or plastic partial dentures.i

Acrylic or Plastic Partial Dentures

Acrylic or plastic partial dentures consist of a plastic plate with artificial teeth set into the base. They are secured to existing teeth by a series of small metal clasps, also attached to the base. They tend to be a bit bulkier than metal framework partials.ii

Flexible Partial Dentures

People can opt for flexible partial dentures because of an allergy to acrylic or because they experience discomfort with other types of partials. Flexible partials are made from a very thin, flexible plastic. They usually include gum-colored clasps that fit between your existing teeth. They are lightweight, comfortable, and long-lasting. Flexible partials, however, tend to be more expensive than traditional partial dentures.iii

Adhesives for Partials

While most partials have some sort of method to secure them in place to existing teeth, many partial denture owners find that they still benefit from the use of adhesives for a number of reasons. Denture wearers report a number of benefits from using adhesives, such as: ability to eat all types of food, absence of pain from food particles being trapped under their dentures, improved comfort, confidence in public, peace of mind, and ease of use.iv It is strongly recommended to seek advice from your dentist before using a denture adhesive; always consult with them before using an adhesive to make sure that no other issues need to be addressed.

Food Particles and Partials

Just like with full dentures, partial denture owners need to be mindful of the space between their gums and their partial. It is easy for small food particles to get trapped in between the two when you chew and eat your food. Using a denture adhesive with your partial as directed can help seal up the area and keep food particles from accumulating.v

Ultimately, the choice of whether or not to use an adhesive for your partials is a personal one. If you’re considering an adhesive for your partials, speak with your dental care provider soon. They will help you choose if an adhesive is the right way to help keep your partial in place and feeling secure.

SOURCES

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i. Partial Dentures: Your Guide to Cost, and Types like Metal and Acrylic. Dentaly. https://www.dentaly.org/us/dentures-false-teeth/partial-dentures-cost. Accessed 10/26/20. Referenced text is outlined in red on source PDF.

ii. Ibid.

iii. Ibid.

iv. White Paper on Guidelines for the Use of Denture Adhesives and Their Benefits for Oral and General Health. Oral Health Foundation. https://www.dentalhealth.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=aa48e389-9c7f-40b1-9d47-ac1dcb599897. Accessed 10/26/20. Referenced text is outlined in red on source PDF.

v. Ibid.

vi. Ibid.

vii. Ibid.