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Denture Adhesives

Denture adhesives are a paste, powder, gel, or adhesive pad that helps dentures adhere to the supporting tissues instead of relying on suction or clasps. Sometimes the adhesive is called denture cream. A small amount of denture adhesive is applied evenly to the clean surface of a denture to enhance stability and help them stay in place.

Why is a denture adhesive used?

For many, properly fitted full dentures or partial dentures do not require the use of denture adhesive. But for some, there may be shrinkage of the supporting bone structure and can cause the denture or partial to have a loose fit.

Are denture adhesives safe to use?

These products are safe on a limited basis or as prescribed by your oral health professional.
Be aware of products that contain zinc. Zinc is a mineral found in protein rich foods as well as in some dietary supplements. Excess zinc in the body, which may result from overuse of denture adhesive material and taking a zinc dietary supplement, may lead to health problems and cause nerve damage.
Be sure to completely remove adhesive material at the end of each day so the denture can be cleaned thoroughly of germs.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consumers of denture adhesive products:

  • Follow the instructions provided with the denture adhesive. If the product does not come with instructions or the instructions are unclear, consult a dental professional.
  • Do not use more adhesive than recommended.
  • Understand that some denture adhesives contain zinc, although they are safe to use in small amounts as directed. If overused, they could become harmful.
  • Know all products may not list their ingredients.
  • Know there are zinc-free denture adhesive products.
  • Stop using the denture adhesive and consult your physician if you experience symptoms, such as numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities.
  • Start with a small amount of adhesive. If the adhesive oozes off the denture into your mouth, you are likely using too much.
  • Know that a 2.4-ounce tube of denture adhesive used by a consumer with upper and lower dentures should last seven to eight weeks.
  • Track how much denture adhesive you use by marking on a calendar when you started a new tube and when the tube is empty.
  • Consider speaking to your dentist to check that your dentures are fitting properly.
  • Dentures can become ill-fitting as a person's gums change over time.

Should I still get dental checkups?

Yes, it is important to have regular dental exams, even when there are no natural teeth present. The dentist can check for sores caused by an ill-fitting denture and adjust it.
At your dental exam, the dentist will examine existing teeth and all soft tissues. Your dentist will also evaluate for denture sores and if a reline is needed to improve the fit and function of the device.
A head and neck exam and oral cancer screening should also be done at a dental checkup.