True allergies to denture acrylics are a rare occurrence. Still, if you are one of the unlucky people who are sensitized to denture materials or are experiencing an allergic reaction, your discomfort is 100% real. Fortunately, there are newer alternative resins that offer greater biocompatibility compared to the two-part acrylics that dentures are traditionally made from.
What is Dental Acrylic?
Traditional denture acrylic is formed by combining two components, typically a catalyst powder with a liquid monomer. The combination causes a chemical polymerization reaction to take place that allows the mixture to be poured into a prepared mold. The acrylic slurry sets up into a rigid state that duplicates the exact image of the mold.
In the case of dentures, pre-formed denture teeth are set within the mold as liquid acrylic is introduced. The entire mold assembly is then subjected to heat and pressure over a specific period of time in order to form the artificial gum tissue that makes up the denture base acrylic resins. This heat-cured acrylic resin takes on the classic pink appearance that dental patients are so familiar with.
Prior to the advent of acrylic, other alternative materials such as carved wood, gold, and Vulcanite (a hardened rubber) served to form the base for dentures. The advantage of acrylic is that it is strong, durable, comfortable, lightweight, cost-effective, and easily modified to create a great fit with minimal adjustments. Acrylic may also be tinted to closely resemble the color of gum tissue, making the denture less noticeable and more aesthetically pleasing.
Dental Acrylic Allergy Symptoms
One of the biggest downsides of acrylic dentures is their ability to elicit an allergic tissue response in some patients. These allergic reactions generally happen as a byproduct of inadequate or incomplete processing in which unreacted heated or self-cured acrylic resins are released from the denture base in the days and months that follow denture delivery.
Although symptoms are rarely life-threatening and will usually go away with time, any acrylate allergy must be taken seriously. Common dental acrylic allergy symptoms include tissue irritation, redness, a burning sensation, itching, and hives. In most cases, the symptoms are localized to the area of tissue in direct contact with the dental appliance.
Determining Symptom Source
Some patients may not even recognize dental acrylic allergy symptoms because they present as a slight irritation that may be easily attributed to the normal soreness and issues associated with getting new dentures. Allergies to dental materials and dental acrylic allergy symptoms are not always easily identified, even by experienced practitioners.
That’s because mild allergic symptoms can look like other issues that cause tissue trauma during the denture-making process, including excessive stretching of the tissue in order to take impressions, the ingredients in the impression materials, and debris and materials used during the denture adjustment process.
Managing Dental Acrylic Allergic Reaction
The first thing to understand is the odds of being allergic to your dentures are very small. Review what has changed since the reaction first began. Does the problem go away when you remove your dentures for several hours or overnight? There are a number of common conditions that produce dental acrylic allergy-like symptoms, including pain, irritation, itching, burning, or swollen tissue. These include:
- Poor fit – Dentures that don’t intimately contact the contour of your gums uniformly will cause rubbing, blisters, rashes, inflammation, and other allergy-like symptoms. An adjustment or reline may be necessary to improve the fit of your dentures.
- Rough dentures – If your gum tissue is sensitive, minor roughness can cause painful chafing that can mimic dental acrylic allergy symptoms. Usually, professional denture polishing will address this issue.
- Bacteria – Poor oral hygiene can result in bacterial and fungal infections that can develop on the gums or lips if the dentures are not thoroughly clean and free from debris. Thoroughly brushing your dentures, tongue, and the inside of your mouth daily is the best method to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and fungi.
- Allergies to cleaning solutions – It is possible to develop an allergic reaction to the products that you use to soak or clean your dentures. Try switching brands and do a more thorough job of rinsing your dentures before placing them in your mouth.
If you’ve eliminated all of these possibilities and you are still experiencing symptoms, consult your dental care professional, who will check your dental fillings, dentures, and your mouth. If your dentures are new, it is possible to reprocess them in order to remove any excess unreacted monomer that could be contributing to your tissue reaction.
You may be referred to an allergist, who can perform tests to confirm whether you are allergic to any of the ingredients used to make your dentures.
Dental Acrylic Alternatives
While denture acrylics are the traditional materials used to make complete dentures, they are not the only name in town. There are various dental materials and formulations that provide many of the benefits of acrylic without the side effects associated with the release of free monomers.
Many people mistakenly believe that porcelain dentures do not contain acrylic. The truth is dentures with porcelain teeth are usually set in the same type of denture base materials as dentures made completely from acrylic.
Therefore, if you are concerned about exposure to acrylic monomer or have experienced dental acrylic allergy symptoms in the past, what you are looking for is a resin denture base material that does not involve a chemical reaction with liquid acrylic monomer.
Valplast is a flexible nylon-based thermoplastic material that does not depend on a polymerization with acrylic monomer for manufacture. Rather than a chemical reaction like heat polymerized resin, the material is pressure injected or 3D-printed into the desired shape. It is extremely comfortable and requires no metal substructure for stability.
Security is obtained because it snaps into place using the undercuts present in the patient’s natural teeth. Although using Valplast material as a substitute for acrylic in complete dentures is not possible, Valplast is a great acrylic alternative for patients who require a partial denture.
Digital dentures is a collective name for dentures produced by computer-aided design and manufacturing technology. There are actually two types of digital dentures available: milled dentures and 3D-printed dentures. Because these new technologies yield precisely-fitting dentures at delivery, traditional acrylic dentures are gradually being phased out by digital dentures.
With milled dentures, denture teeth are precisely cut from a pre-processed resin block of tooth-colored material. A similar process happens with the denture base. The baseplate is manufactured to precise specifications from pre-processed cured pink resin to accept the denture teeth. The two components are joined together, and the dentures are completed without using chemicals that have allergy-inducing side effects.
3D Printed Dentures
Similar to milled dentures, the teeth and baseplate of printed dentures are manufactured separately and joined to form the completed denture in the post-manufacturing phase. The difference in processing is that printed dentures are created from liquid resin that is light-cured incrementally as the denture components take shape, eliminating the release of chemicals that can harm sensitive mouth tissues.
Contact European Denture Center for Allergy Support
Do you believe your dentures are causing an allergic reaction? European Denture Center uses the latest technology to offer partial and complete denture solutions that are biocompatible and free from monomers known to elicit allergic responses. With our offerings that include milled and printed dentures as well as Valplast partial dentures, we have tooth replacement solutions to address your dental acrylic allergy symptoms and concerns.
Relief is a call or click away. Schedule your in-person appointment or remote video consultation today!