All acrylics used in dentures contain monomer, it is just part of their chemical composition. Newer processes allow mixtures to contain less but there is always some. Even in expensive injected denture bases. The latest computer assisted manufactured dentures that are carved from an industrially produced acrylic puck are not immune either, but the levels are much lower.

Recently I have had two clients who are sensitive to the acrylic in dentures. One was sensitive to BPA. BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. The acrylic in dentures releases BPA as it breaks down. It mimics estrogen and some people are more sensitive to it. My client described the symptoms “like going through menopause all over again”.

The other client had an allergic reaction to the remaining residue of liquid monomer found in denture bases. Why is there excess monomer? Why not just reduce the amount used? Well there is a certain amount of monomer used in the chemical reaction,not very much really. The rest is there to make the plastic mass more fluid so it can be formed into things like dentures, plastic bottles, golf balls, toys and lots of other stuff. That added monomer liquid remains unreacted and suspended within the dentures. Some people are sensitive to that liquid, most are not. The symptoms are; itchy gums, tingling, blanched (white) areas in contact with the denture, red spots under the denture.

So what can be done? The first solution is to evaporate off more of the monomer during processing by heating (curring) the dentures longer. Back in the “old days” we just cooked the dentures an hour longer which drove off most of the excess monomer because monomer boils a few degrees lower than water. Another solution is to use a different material which uses different chemicals. Nylon is the usual choice. There is no monomer or BPA in dental nylon. There are a few drawbacks that need to be addressed but it has been used for over 20 years successfully. Still another solution is to detoxify your dentures with a special solution available online. Google “ detoxify dentures” and you will find these products. I don’t endorse any of them, they are very new to the market so information is limited.

If you suspect that you are sensitive to plastics consult your doctor and ask her/him to test you for monomer sensitivity. You can become less sensitive or more sensitive at any time so if you are sensitive get checked by your doctor regularly.