6116 Merced Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611
Dunlap, Craig A D.D.S.
1491 Cedarwood Ln # B
Pleasanton, CA, 94566-6126
2710 Camino Capistrano
San Clemente, CA, 92672-4802
Silberman, Adrian E D.D.S.
25460 Medical Center Dr # 200
Murrieta, CA, 92562-5985
Beatrice Haddad D.D.S.
704 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA, 91101-2102
Are you a denture wearer who's afraid to be seen in public because your dentures are unattractive? Do you find yourself eating alone because you can't eat foods your friends eat? Do you carry your false teeth in your pocket? Denture wearers, without knowing it, can become dental "shut-ins." They begin, subtly, to reorient their lifestyles around ill-fitting or loose dentures. When dentures don't look or function properly, some people withdraw from their social lives and suffer depression and diminished self-esteem. Some even become recluses.
One denturist had a patient, a truck driver, who couldn't eat properly with his cheap dentures. At truck stops, he would take his food back to his truck and eat alone. He gave up his only social activity on the road, swapping stories with other drivers over a meal. For two years, he was a prisoner in his own truck. Many people can reverse a situation like this though. When prosthodontics look and feel right, denture problems become a thing of the past and the wearer's whole mental outlook can brighten. Eating gives pleasure and a feeling of security learned from early feeding experiences. It's an important part of most social occasions. When a person controls the quality and quantity of his food, he's able to achieve this sense of security and a feeling of self-esteem.
There's no need to feel unattractive or live in fear of a false teeth faux pas in the company of friends and family. A prosthodontist can help you regain function, comfort, and a natural appearance by denture care and repair, or by just replacing or refitting them. Or, it might just mean using better dentures adhesive. Well-fitting prosthodontics are a small sort of miracle, but one that works wonders for your self-esteem. Don't be a shut-in. Call your dentist, and start smiling again.
While dentures are marginally adequate substitutes for missing natural teeth, the lower denture can be troublesome for many individuals.
While these problems are inherent to lower dentures, every person is different and not affected in the same way. There are ways to approach these problems.
A thin band-like tissue extension (called a frenum) may attach between a jaw ridge (called an alveolar ridge) and the inside of the cheek. This strip of tissue may become active while eating or speaking and can lift a denture from its alveolar ridge. This frenum attachment may be surgically moved (this is called a frenectomy).
Alveolar ridge bone profile lessens or literally comes closer to the floor of the mouth as jawbone is lost over time. The bone loss is called resorption. This reduces the vestibule or space between the lip and alveolar ridge. Surgical extension of this vestibule (called vestibuloplasty) provides more alveolar ridge exposure for a denture to rest upon and reduces muscle pull due to a high frenum attachment.
As an alveolar ridge loses bone, it often may be built-up by surgically placing various substances beneath the gum tissue to increase both bulk and height of the ridge. This is called alveolar ridge augmentation.
As a person eats and speaks, the lips and cheeks exert forces towards the inside of the mouth while the tongue exerts an outward counter force. There is a space between the tongue and lips and cheeks, called the neutral zone, where there are balanced forces during function. These opposing forces can help maintain a denture in place, with surprising power, if the denture is fabricated so that its bulk and teeth rest within this space.
Inserting metal implants into the jawbone and fabricating a lower denture to receive and connect with these implants in various ways will help stabilize a lower denture, while still allowing for comfortable and easy removal of the prosthesis for cleaning.
Ensuring that upper and lower teeth contact optimally during function (called balanced occlusion) is a basic means of stabilizing a lower denture. If one tooth strikes on one side only, the denture will rock. Even contact or biting is a necessity. Fabrication of a denture that completely avoids contact with all potentially dislodging structures and has a metal base for strength and some weight often will facilitate stability.
Frequently, several approaches are combined, and not all may be suitable for a particular patient. After a thorough examination, a licensed dentist can best advise an individual as to the best means of helping stabilize a lower denture in their unique situation.
by Joseph J. Massad, D.D.S.