Denture adhesives enhance the retentive interface between the surface of a denture and the underlying tissues upon which false teeth rest.
Optimizing the Interface Space
There is a slight space at the interface between the inside of a denture and the jaw that is usually filled with saliva. As this gap increases, a denture becomes less retentive and stable.
The interface space arises because of material and fabrication limitations used in making a denture. This gap also is contributed to by the constant changing contour and shrinkage of jawbone.
While an interface space exists in all dentures and increases with time, optimum denture function and retention depends upon reducing it. Denture adhesives fill this increasing space, improve suction, and create a sticky contact between a denture and underlying surfaces. This also helps resist foods from collecting under the denture base.
Thin paste adhesives are preferred to powders since they are already fluid and easier to manage and apply. However, some prefer powder types. Whatever works best for an individual should be used.
Pea-sized amounts of the paste may be placed in a few places within a denture where jaw ridges fit and where the roof of the mouth contacts. A thin film of adhesive spreads out as a denture seats in the mouth. Use the least amount to do the "job."
If excess amounts are necessary, then the opinion of a dentist should be sought since denture maintenance may be necessary. A licensed dentist should be routinely seen at six-month intervals for routine oral examinations and bite adjustments.
A person needs to experiment with how often to apply adhesives. Some apply it before meals while others function satisfactorily all day with one application.
A denture and mouth should be cleaned of all adhesives at least once a day, and the denture should be left out of a cleaned and rinsed mouth for at least an hour a day.
It can be difficult removing adhesives. The denture may be cleaned with a brush, soap, and running water, or with a little white distilled vinegar in water.
All adhesives should be removed from the mouth for hygienic purposes. Rinsing with extremely warm water or salt water helps removal. It may be necessary to use a soft toothbrush or wash cloth-like material to assist removal from the mouth tissues.
by Joseph J. Massad, D.D.S.