Soft dentures are a flexible alternative to more common hard dentures crafted out of acrylic. These dentures don't require adhesives and adjust to the shape of the gums for greater comfort. Soft dentures are only called that because the inner lining is soft. They're otherwise similar to ordinary dentures, which can be altered to have flexible linings.
Soft denture liners are usually crafted from soft rubber or specialised medical silicon compounds. Hard dentures have to be altered significantly to accept a soft lining. Usually, a few inches of material must be removed to create space for them. In some cases, metal reinforcements must be applied to the interior of the denture to make up for the decrease in structural integrity from the alteration.
Many denture users with sensitive gums often feel significant discomfort from standard dentures. Soft denture linings diffuse the pressure that would otherwise be bearing down on gum tissue. The flexible liner also adjusts to changes in the jaw, making it so that adjustments to the denture don't need to be made as often.
Soft denture linings are more vulnerable to the build-up of potentially dangerous bacteria and can be difficult to clean effectively. Some lining materials, however, are nonporous and less prone to contamination. The reduction in pain from using soft dentures can make it more difficult for the user to detect irregularities in their bite, which can cause problems over the long term.
Maintenance and Replacement
Soft dentures require higher levels of maintenance than conventional dentures. The soft lining gradually hardens with use over a period of one to two years and must be replaced. It also can deform over that period and must be adjusted by a dentist. Repair of the denture in case of damage or deterioration is more complicated and expensive than for hard dentures.
Cleaning soft dentures is important to maintain oral hygiene. Use denture cleaner at least twice a day, preferably after meals. Soak the dentures in tap water every night. Don't use cleaners that aren't specifically for dentures, as they can damage the lining or teeth. Some cleaners don't work well with soft linings. Consult a dentist to ensure that the soft dentures are being taken care of properly.