Straight Teeth Talk: Zinc poisoning caused by overuse of denture cream
Feb. 8, 2010 at 2:08 a.m.
Updated Feb. 9, 2010 at 2:09 a.m.
There was a recent article in the Victoria Advocate titled "Overuse of Denture Cream Sparks Lawsuits."
The lawsuits began following a 2008 study performed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center that described four patients who all used excessive amount of denture cream and had various nerve-related disorders.
An Internet search for "Denture Cream Lawyers" will quickly show how many law firms are interested in the new find.
The American Dental Association and the companies that make the product say they are safe but are being overused.
According to some, the amount of zinc found in the recommended application of denture cream is similar to the amount found in a 6-ounce hamburger, and the overwhelming majority of users have no problems. The zinc improves adhesive power.
It appears it's the overuse of the product that is causing the problem. A tube is supposed to last three to 10 weeks, with directions calling for only small dabs of the adhesive to keep dentures in place.
The sick patients in the Texas study were using two or three tubes of the product per week.
Why would someone use so much denture cream? It's simple - their dentures do not fit and will not stay in their mouth.
There are many reasons dentures don't stay in:
Some people simply don't have the needed bone structure that will keep a denture stable.
Not all dentures are made correctly and don't fit from the beginning.
Bone and gum tissue can shrink over the years creating a void under the denture.
Today, implants can stabilize dentures to an incredible degree. The plates actually snap into place in most instances. There are two different kinds of popular implants used in retaining dentures.
The root-formed implants are the same size as a regular tooth. They are the most stable and the most proven to work over a long period of time. The implant literally snaps into the housing.
Mini implants are somewhat new. They are easier to implant and normally cost less. Because they are smaller, more implants need to be in place to give the same retention as the root formed implants.
Denture creams still have value for millions of denture wearers, especially when only a slight amount of retention is needed.
When excessive cream is needed to keep dentures in place, something is wrong and the patient needs to see a dentist to find out what their options are.
Mac Lee is a dentist in practice in Edna. He is the co-founder of Dentists Who Care, a national movement to educate the public on modern dentistry. If you have dental questions you can call him at 361-782-7191 or visit him at www.drmaclee.com.