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Br Dent J. 2000 Sep 9;189(5):248-52.

The physical mechanisms of complete denture retention.

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Dental Materials Science, University of Hong Kong, The Prince Philip Dental Hospital, Hong Kong.


The purpose of this article is to assist the practitioner to understand which factors are relevant to complete denture retention in the light of the current understanding of physics and materials science and thus to guide design. Atmospheric pressure, vacuum, adhesion, cohesion, surface tension, viscosity, base adaption, border seal, seating force and muscular control have all been cited at one time or another as major or contributory factors, but usually as an opinion without proper reference to fundamental principles. Although there has been a detailed analysis published, it seems appropriate that a restatement of the points in a collated form be made. In fact, denture retention is a dynamic issue dependent on the control of the flow of interposed fluid and thus its viscosity and film thickness, while the timescale of displacement loading affects the assessment. Surface tension forces at the periphery contribute to retention, but the most important concerns are good base adaptation and border seal. These must be achieved if full advantage is to be taken of the saliva flow-related effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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