Dentures can fall out – Have you ever been mid-sentence in a conversation and felt your denture pop loose? Or find yourself worrying about how to hold them in place with your tongue while you are talking to friends? This is one of the most common frustrations with people who wear dentures and the longer you wear them, the poorer the fit!
Fortunately, this is also relatively easy to address and in many cases, resolve completely! The slipping and sliding of dentures can be corrected in a number of ways. Often, all that is needed is to better adapt the pink portion to your gum tissue and mouth and they create the suction that keeps them stable and secure. Sometimes the issue is that it is simply time to replace the dentures. What we see people have the most success with is using dental implants to stabilize the teeth. Implants can be as simple as snaps to hold the denture down or with enough support, allow you to have teeth that feel just like natural teeth and don’t come in and out.
My teeth make me look old – your teeth are an expression of your personality and your smile is a huge part of who you are! Obviously over time, the smile changes just like the rest of your body, however your teeth shouldn’t make you look older than you are! In fact, they should help to protect your youthful spirit and personality and appearance!! There are several steps that should be taken to ensure your new teeth match you.
The design of the teeth in a denture should be custom selected based on your face shape so that the shape of the teeth compliments the shape of your face. There are dozens of variations in teeth and the right one makes all the difference! The next step is to make sure the shade of the teeth is right for your face. It should compliment both your skin tone and the whites of your eyes. Too bright and you look like a skeleton and too dark and it looks like you just smoked a pack of cigarettes! With those two issues settled, the arrangement of the teeth and how they flow with the face and lips makes a huge difference in making them look just like you want. That can be done to make them “perfect” or to make them look perfectly natural and beautiful.
With those essential elements sorted out, the last, and perhaps most important, is to make sure the upper and lower jaws are supported in the right bite for you! Your mouth is the top of your airway and your dentures should support a proper and open protected airway just exactly like natural teeth do. The way your lips and cheeks lay on top of the new teeth is a function of the bite and in many cases; the effect of time on our face is more a factor of the bite being too closed than your face being too sagging or droopy!
Custom designed dentures are built to several key and critical factors to ensure the right fit for your face, and unless you ask for your teeth to make you look older, they should do just the opposite!
I eat better without them – This is one of the most frustrating issues people have with dentures. No question that some of it is the hard work it takes to get used to wearing a prosthesis, but a lot of what frustrates people with dentures is a design issue with the bite and teeth. Natural teeth have some distinct advantages as they are more stable, a harder material, and have cusps and grooves to work with. These features are all major advantages in teeth, but can all be replicated in your dentures.
Using anatomic teeth allows for better chewing efficiency as they teeth actually work like teeth! They are also available in much harder acrylic today allowing for a more tooth-like feel. With a well-adapted denture, the bite force tends to stabilize the dentures and the function of chewing is transferred from the teeth through the gum tissue and to the supporting bone.
In some cases, the amount of missing bone doesn’t allow for the kind of stability that makes the dentures feel comfortable or secure however, dental implants have been a huge adjunct in helping patients to feel more comfortable and secure and they function much like tooth roots and improve the comfort, feel, and function of the dentures.
They make my mouth sore - although incredibly common, this is also very easy to resolve. There are several basic reasons for the soreness that dentures can cause. The most common is the dentures don't fit as well as they should. This can be a fit of the pink acrylic against the tissues, or a fit of the upper and lower teeth. If the teeth don’t mesh as they should, every time you bite together the dentures have to slip a little to allow the teeth to fit. This rubs the tissue under the denture and creates the sore spots that are so common. This can be addressed by using properly shaped and fitting teeth.
The denture may also simply rub or have a sharp place on the inside, and that can be smoothed and polished so that it doesn’t rub the tissues and create the sore areas. This is typically a quick and simple visit.
The way the bite fits and teeth overlap is also often a major factor in ensuring the dentures don’t create sore spots. This should be built with particular attention to comfortable and relaxed muscles and the right proportion and balance in your face.
I can’t talk right – The lips and tongue have very specific patterns of movement and function that are very important to get dialed in so that the function when talking can be quickly and easily adapted to. Far to often people simply live with problems like a sloppy ‘s’ sound when the culprit is pretty simple to resolve.
Being able to talk comfortably and correctly is also a balance of learning and adapting along with having the proper construction in the first place.
If the teeth aren’t in the right place in your face, they don’t function as they should and this can create major frustrations in
Food doesn’t taste good anymore – This is a very common frustration and the good news is often it gets better with time. The bad news is something it doesn’t. There are a few issues that lead to the change in the taste of food, as there are several subtle things that impact our enjoyment of our meals. The texture and temperature and smell are all as much a part of the experience as the actual taste by our taste buds. Dentures dramatically impact the way that food is chewed and insulates the temperature and to a lesser extent, the way we smell it, all resulting in a frequent decrease in the enjoyment of food. This can be alleviated to a large extent by changing to an implant supported solution. In fact, with the proper engineering to support new teeth, you can have implant supported dentures that are shaped very much like natural teeth and don’t cover the inside of your mouth!
My teeth float around – One of the most common complaints about dentures is that they aren’t stable. Although we have made great strides over the years to help make the fit better and more comfortable, the simple fact remains that the longer you wear dentures, the worse they fit. Over time, the bone that was supporting your teeth dissolves away and therefore, the bone supporting your denture also fades away. The poorer the fit and the more movement in the denture, the faster this process occurs. In general, there is bone loss that we can expect in phases losing width first, and then height. Ultimately, there can be so much bone loss that not only is it nearly impossible to build a stable denture, but the jaw itself is very prone to breaking. This happens when we are least able to heal as well, making solutions less and less straightforward. The best way to guard against this problem is to support those teeth with implants, and not only is it more comfortable but the bone stays longer too!
I can’t chew with them – Sometimes this is about how the teeth on the top meet the teeth on the bottom, and that is usually relatively straightforward to correct. Dialing in the bite will help to make sure the dentures can function well enough to eat most foods comfortably. We have a wide variety in chewing surfaces to pick from that range from totally flat to very anatomic with cusps and grooves just like natural teeth. The anatomic teeth do a better job of chewing food, but they are also more likely to cause the dentures to slide around. The flat teeth help keep the dentures more stable, but they don’t chew food very well at all.
The other issue with dentures is that they aren’t attached to the body so you have a period of time where you have to learn to control those two moving parts with your mouth as you chew. It is not a simple process for sure! This is another area where dental implants can make a giant difference!