Flexible dentures created a great deal of excitement when they were first launched. No more ugly metal wires. No more broken dentures. What's more, the denture can be bent or even twisted. It springs right back into its original shape. But the flexible denture fever quickly turned cold. Patients complained of dentures that didn't function (no chewing power) and caused pain whenever they tried to eat anything harder than boiled potatoes. Dentists complained of a material that curls up when trimmed and pressure spots that remain after trimming.
A few years ago, I had a debate with a manufacturer of a system of flexible denture material. I argued that basic prosthodontic principles dictate that major connectors of any removable denture cannot be flexible. For a long while, I have been making hybrid acrylic dentures with flexible clasps and rigid plates to take advantage of both systems. However, these dentures were breakable like acrylic dentures and the bond between the two materials was never perfect. I didn't believe that a fully flexible denture will work. True enough, many patients who have done their long-span flexible dentures have a lot of complaints.
Finally, one manufacturer recognised the problem and introduced a new partially flexible material. Flexite Plus is now our material of choice for all removable partial dentures. Unlike their predecessors which were flexible throughout and create problems when they are long-span, the new material is selectively flexible and shows rigidity when due.
The biggest advantage of this sort of dentures is that unlike the hybrid dentures I used to do, they are unbreakable like the former fully flexible denture systems. Like their fully flexible predecessors, they also do not have the unsightly clasps seens in chrome dentures. Flexite Plus clasps are still pink in colour. Unlike their predecessors, however, Flexite Plus plates are not flexible. This makes them capable of supporting chewing forces in long-span dentures.