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Denture Adhesives & How It Work

Denture adhesive is generally defined as a commercially available, non-toxic, soluble or insoluble material that is placed on the tissue surface to amplify the retention, stability and performance of the denture. This also gives the patient an increased sense of security while wearing the prosthesis. Denture adhesives are sometimes called fixatives or adherents and have been recorded in dental literature as non-medical products since 1935.

In recent years, studies have shown about thirty percent of the population have tried using a denture adhesive product, although less have continued to use it on a regular basis. Patients who regularly use denture adhesives report satisfaction and improvement of retention, masticatory ability and an increased confidence provided by using such product. Dental education professionals can be reluctant to advising patients of the use adhesive products due to dependency and the impression it may appear to compensate for a poorly fabricated prosthesis. There are, however, circumstances in which the use of adhesive is of prime benefit in which the professional will then advise according and educate the patient in correct use and safety measures.

How Denture Adhesives Work

In order to understand how adhesives enhance retention, one must first understand how saliva is a key to denture retention. Normally, dentures do not rest directly on the oral mucosa, there is a film of saliva between the tissue surface and the mucosal surface. This salivary film provides retention through the interfacial physical forces of adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension.

- Adhesion is defined as the attraction of molecules to each other. Saliva adheres to the surface of the denture and to the mucosal surface.

-Cohesion is defined as the attraction of molecules to each other and this is observed within the film of saliva. The salivary film on the denture and the salivary film on the oral mucosa cohere to each other.

-Surface tension is seen as the resistance to separation of the salivary film between the well adapted surfaces of the denture and mucosa. Displacement forces placed on the denture are resisted by surface tension forces working within the saliva.

The adhesive product essentially enhances the same mechanism by which saliva contributes to denture retention through these Interfacial forces.

Denture adhesives enhance interfacial forces through a hydrated material formed when the denture adhesive is mixed with saliva or water. There is an increase in adhesion and cohesion as the formed hydrated material adheres readily to both the tissue surface of the prosthesis and the mucosal surface. This hydrated material also possesses intrinsic cohesion properties that have a higher resistance to pull forces than the same

cohesion properties of saliva. Furthermore, the formed hydrated material increase saliva viscosity, possess the ability to swell when in contact with saliva or water, and flow readily under pressure. This causes an elimination of voids between the tissue surface of the prosthetic and the oral mucosa upon which it sit.

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