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I have lived in an uneasy truce with my teeth and a long succession of dentists for more years than I care to remember. I do recall the unhappy start of my dental saga shortly before taking my ‘O’-level biology examination papers. I developed a raging toothache which was diagnosed as an apical abscess which failed to settle after an emergency root canal clearance. An extraction of the upper right two soon followed. Being of that age and aptitude the provided single tooth plate was soon ignored and consigned to the bin.
Nothing much happened until I went to University. Those were the days when trials of the first electric toothbrushes were all the rage and students were targeted as good prospects for a free kit and toothpaste. As a further inducement, the local dental hospital enrolled us into “teaching programmes” where you got free dental care while acting as a guinea pig. They immediately spied my gap and offered to fill it with a bridge. Unfortunately there had been forward drift of the teeth behind the space and I had to submit to an orthodontic appliance to widen the space to fit the implant. That was 1966 – the pontic bridge (it’s technical name) has survived to this day. They also wanted to straighten a crooked lower canine. I had a lower four extracted ‘for crowding’ but gave up on the lower spring mounted plate.
The same cannot be said for the teeth that were orthodontically repositioned. About ten years ago I started suffering from gum recession (a familial condition). Coupled with this, those three teeth became loose, ached intermittently and despite the best endeavours of my current dentist they have had
to be removed. I also lost the lower right two with repeated infections and loosening. I now have two small plates (an upper half palate plate holding three teeth, and a lower front plate holding two teeth).
PARTIAL DENTURES: THE PROBLEM
Well, problems really. My dental surgeon tells me that a full denture is much easier to tailor to and secure to the average mouth than partial ones. Upper dentures are easier to secure than lower ones. A denture is an unnatural phenomenon and is an irritant in the mouth. If it is loose, then obviously the irritation is even more acute.
Beyond this the plastic of the plate tends to flex with the warmth of the mouth. Teeth can also migrate and gums shrink, which tends to leave an initially well-fitting appliance rocking in the breeze after a few short months. Worse, an ill-fitting plate allows easy access for food debris under it.
Small wonder that many partial denture users soon abandon them and retain a gappy smile.
FIXODENT DENTURE ADHESIVE CREAM
There are a number of plate adhesives on the market – the leaders in the UK are Fixodent from Proctor and Gamble Ltd and Poli-Grip from SmithKeinBeecham.
The cream is promoted to hold dentures in place strongly all day (about 12 hours for the average user). It acts as a cushion under the denture preventing abrasion of the gum margin. It acts as a barrier to food particles getting under the plate. These things together allow the user to ‘laugh, talk and eat with great comfort and confidence’
Fixodent is packaged in 40ml plastic tubes and is available in three flavours (Original – which is flavoured with peppermint oil), Fresh (flavoured with peppermint powder) and Neutral (no flavourings). The active ingredients are co-polymer substances that react with saliva to form a thin membrane that moulds to and cushions the inner surface of the denture. The accompanying leaflet is reassuring that if swallowed these compounds pass through the gut unchanged and are not harmful in any way. The denture will slowly loosen as excess moisture is absorbed by the membrane.
FIXODENT IN USE.
I have tried both the original (pink) and the neutral (white) formula. Taste of either is reasonable. The denture should be clean and dry. Fixodent is applied as a cream in short strips or spots to the denture which is then pressed in place. Initially there is a great temptation to cover the whole surface of the plate with cream – the more you use the better the grip. Not so! Excess paste will ooze out from the free edge of the plate, squeeze between your teeth and spread over your tongue and lips. This sensation is most unpleasant and the raw paste is initially not easy to scrape off. It is worth experimenting with small amounts to get this first step right.
Once in place, its takes three to five minutes for a firm bond to develop. It is recommended that you don’t drink a lot of liquid or eat a meal in this time. After this, hold is firm and the plates stay well in place when biting quite hard food (crusty bread, apples) and chewing. It’s not normal, but it feels far better than a loose sensitive tooth or a loose ill-fitting plate.
How long does the hold last? Well, that is a bit of a disappointment. The best I have achieved has been about four hours. I carry a tube of fixative around with me and will usually have to a repair job before lunch and again before dinner.
For what its worth, if you want to remove the plate before it comes loose, it will usually come away by applying gentle pressure under the free edge with a nail (finger!!!) or rinsing with warm mouthwash. Surplus paste peels of the plate or the gum easily with a toothbrush.
So, overall, this may be an excellent product for the full denture wearer – enabling you to bite into the most rock hard apple while whirling a tango across the dance floor. For the partial plate user it is only a partial solution. My rating is given as a partial user.
FIXODENT is available in 40ml tubes in most pharmacies and supermarkets. It is even possible to order it online (web site: http://www.fixodent.co.uk/buy/buy.htm)
Prices are very variable and are often subject to special offers. Currently: Tesco: £2.22 per tube. Sainsbury £2.99 per tube plus 100 extra reward points.
I would hasten to add that although this review is about the Fixodent product my experiences with Poli-Grip are identical. Poli-Grip is similarly priced. The box suggests that the ingredients are similar.
I am aware that my lower partial denture is an irritation both to me and my wife. As it loosens I do tend to “worry” it (often subconsciously) and let it clatter about in my mouth. We have come to the conclusion for this one at least that a dental fixation cream is not the answer. I am soon to subject myself to further dental surgery and fill the lower right two space with another bridge. If it lasts as long as the first one I won’t be complaining.
Yes I Know, boy, whistle, whistle, I know. Experimenting myself too - will d0oa write up too.
dreamscancometrue 16.12.2005 02:09
Thanks for the review, I will definately be looking into this
CherryBlossom 11.05.2004 00:47
I've got to have a full set of dentures soon and believe me, I'm dreading it! I've had a plate before but didn't really need any fixative as mine stayed in place on its own (could even eat steak without fixative) but I guess full dentures are going to be a whole different story. ~Sharon