“Our results indicate that purported allergens exist in the resin base and can be eluted into the oral cavity, even in patients using an old denture for a period of nearly 30 years . ”
Dentures are strong and relatively durable, which may lead people to assume that dentures are also biologically inert. For a denture to be completely inert, and fully biocompatible, it would have to maintain its integrity by not releasing substances and not absorbing substances. However, conventional resin-based dentures can absorb substances  and numerous studies indicate that they can also leach the substances they contain [2-18].
At issue is the biocompatibility of the pink base that forms the gums of the denture. The most common type of denture—which we refer to as a conventional denture—is a full or partial denture whose base is formed from the acrylic resin methyl methacrylate (MMA). Depending on how the denture was made, substances can leach out of the denture base. Because dentures are worn in the mouth, and because of the warm and aqueous nature of the oral environment, substances released from dentures may leach into the mouth while the denture is worn. Of those substances, some are toxic or allergenic to the oral environment .
Dentures that have been relined may contain additional toxic and allergenic substances, as reline materials contain additional substances . It is common for many denture wearers to have their denture relined at some point, which introduces additional substances that may leach into the mouth. Furthermore, new studies indicate that some denture cleaners may have a corrosive effect on reline material, and may accelerate the loss of toxic and allergenic substances, including phthalates .
The substances contained in a particular denture, and the degree to which it leaches, depend on the materials and methods used in its fabrication. However, the methods by which dentures are crafted vary widely. There are no quality control standards that are enforced across the industry. In the US, some dental laboratories may have their dentures manufactured abroad. This means that the quality of the denture that a patient receives, and its degree of safety, is largely left to chance.
“Acrylic resins are widely used in the fabrication of denture bases and have been shown to be cytotoxic as a result of substances that leach from the resin .”
Acrylic resin remains the material of choice for denture fabrication because of its superior aesthetic and mechanical properties ; so, too, remain concerns regarding its biocompatibility.
Which substances have been found to leach from conventional resin-based dentures? View the list »
methyl methacrylate (MMA) [2-9]
2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) 
dibutyl phthalate 
phenyl benzoate 
dicyclohexyl phthalate 
phenyl 2-hydroxybenzoate (phenyl salicylate) 
hydroquinone (HQ) 
benzoyl peroxide (BPO)  dibenzoyl peroxide (DBP)
methyl benzoate (MB) 
ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate (DME) 
benzoic acid (BA) 
2-methylpropenoic acid (methacrylic acid or MAA) 
It may be disconcerting to learn that conventional resin-based dentures have been found to leach substances, particularly if you or someone you know wears dentures. Concern arises when considering the possible implications this may have for a denture wearer’s health. Here we’ll look at what studies have to say about the health implications of wearing dentures that leach.
“Wearing dental acrylic prosthesis causes adverse reactions to oral tissues due to bioactive leachables from resins. . .  ”
A range of effects may result from wearing dentures that leach. Reported effects include irritation , sensitization , inflammation , allergic reactions , stomatitis , burning mouth syndrome , cell death in the oral cavity , and potentially more serious adverse health effects.More »
The primary substance that leaches from denture base resins is residual methyl methacrylate monomer . What exactly is it?
Residual monomer is the leftover methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomer material that did not react during the chemical change a denture undergoes. Dentures are made while the material is soft, and then must undergo a polymerization process to make them hard enough to wear. The less thorough this process, the more material will remain unreacted, and it is this “residual” monomer material is the primary substance that leaches out of conventional dentures. Additionally, some acrylics are more prone to leaching residual monomer.
“Methyl methacrylate (MMA), a monomer of acrylic resin, has a wide variety of dental, medical and industrial applications. Concerns have been raised regarding its potential toxicity in dental use, both for the patient and also in the workplace. Dental patients are also exposed to MMA leached from some dental appliances and the effects, at least in vitro, appear toxic to cells and may cause local mucosal irritation or even an allergic reaction.” .
How might residual monomer affect a denture wearer’s health?
“Residual methyl methacrylate (MMA) may leach from the acrylic resin denture bases and have adverse effects on the oral mucosa  ”
Residual monomer has been the subject of a number of studies that substantiate its deleterious effects. There are a number of possible health effects caused by wearing a denture that leaches residual monomer. “Numerous reports suggest that residual monomer may be responsible for mucosal irritation and sensitization of tissues” . In the study, “Leaching and cytotoxicity of formaldehyde and methyl methacrylate from acrylic resin denture base materials,” the authors stated, “Acrylic resin dentures have the potential to elicit irritation, inflammation, and an allergic response of the oral mucosa” . Due to these health effects, it is “imperative to adopt every possible means to minimize residual monomer content in heat cured resins” and it has been recommended that “techniques should be employed to reduce patients’ exposure to MMA during dental procedures in order to reduce the risks of possible complications”.
is the ability of a polymer material or device to remain inert during use. Dentures are polymer devices, most commonly made from acrylic resin. Full biocompatibility for a denture would mean that no substances leach out, and nothing seeps in.
Dentures are typically thought to be completely inert, but scientific literature indicates otherwise. Studies have shown that conventional resin-based dentures can leach substances, and unfortunately those substances are in many instances toxic or allergenic. While the substances that leach are small in amount, it can be discomforting to know that a device worn intimately in the mouth is able to release chemical components.
View all citations on this page »
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