wellbeing news

Dentures are no longer a life sentence!

This video is for all of my prosthetic patients or patients who have been told they need a prosthesis. Something that people look at or think of as just a life sentence is when you get a set of dentures. You know, people think they're going to go through life fighting or not chewing, or afraid to smile, or you know, "This thing will move constantly when I talk?" And the answer to many of these things historically is yes. Dentures can be very, very difficult to live with. But the good news is that we have improved a lot. We have many things to offer in a large, wide variety of ways to improve everything that happens with your current prosthesis.

To put it in perspective, when you have one smooth healthy teeth and are able to chew 100%, this is great. But if we pull out all those teeth and make you the best set of dentures in the world, the hardest thing to chew is about 25% of what you could when you had natural teeth. This is because you bite with plastic prostheses, squat on the gums that squat on the bones. Everything in there is soft and pumpkin and has some contribution to it and in fact nothing is as attached to your jaw as your teeth once were. So you can't apply that much force, which makes it pretty frustrating or difficult to handle.

You know, there is a nice big hard bone plate on the roof of your mouth that allows a good suction with the upper denture. We can make them predictable and make them look good and feel quite comfortable, that's great. But the dentures below are a completely different story. We have a lot of muscular attachments here, the tongue is always moving around trying to tear it down. There is no large flat bone plate that is in the roof of your mouth to give you such a good suction. And the lower denture can be a real struggle. And even if you are an excellent dentist and have a patient who has an excellent jaw to work with, if you will, it can still be very, very challenging, it can be very frustrating for the patient and the dentist.

Now, most patients do not have a large jaw to work on their lower jaw because as you lose your teeth, the bone that uses those teeth leaves. It shrinks down and now we are working with and much closer to a flat surface there, which makes it extra hard.

So how do we fix this? How to improve it? The way we want to improve it is what is called over-prosthetics. An over prosthesis is a prosthesis that attaches to dental implants in one form or another. One of our preferred methods is what is called over-prosthesis locator. This part is not really important, but be aware that it is a denture with a click. So what we do is put a few implants in at least two, ideally more than that.

But the reason I get 100% chewing with all my teeth, 25% chewing with a whole new set of dentures is because when you add two implants right where your lower dogs used to be, you immediately jump up to about 60% of the chewing ability. This is huge when it comes to life experience and quality of life, when you are trying to chew, when you are worried about whether your prosthesis will move while talking to someone. With each additional implant, this percentage goes up and up, as long as we can give you a damn near 100% chewing, depending on how many implants we put.

So, what is it, are we upgrading the prosthesis, which means that if you have an existing prosthesis that you like, many times we can use it and just upgrade it. Sometimes we will make a new one from scratch, but we will put dental implants in your jaw and attach a locator as I mentioned or snap. It looks like a little meat flick sticking out through the gums. And inside the prosthesis, there are corresponding patches. You put it on and it snaps into place. And once that happens, it's very firm. And when you bite down, now instead of an acrylic stick on the gums that squatted bone, acrylic is attached to an implant that is in your bone. And that means that forces are transmitted to your jaw as you chew. You get a lot more perception of how you chew, you can eat much, much more.

And what's great is all of the above, which I already mentioned that the force that goes down in your jaw actually stimulates the bone to maintain itself. As I mentioned, when you remove your teeth, you start to lose that bone. This process will continue throughout your life. So, if you lose all your teeth early in life, you will end up really struggling as it goes on because you get to a little bone and this is a very difficult way to go through life.

So with these implants …