Getting traditional dentures to fit properly is as much as an art as is it a science but the reality is there may always be issues with lowers simply because of the physiology involved. It’s why implant-supported dentures are the recommended choice for most patients.
Lower dentures tend not to fit as well as uppers for two basic reasons: One, because there just isn’t enough tissue to create a good seal with the mandible – the jaw bone – and two, because the act of chewing forces the tongue and food against the denture and moves it around, breaking whatever seal exists, trapping food and creating problems.
As professional denturists, we can only work with what we have and while we strive to provide patients with aesthetically pleasing and functional dentures, we’re limited by the anatomy of each individual’s mouth. Some dentures will fit better than others but some patients will struggle with loose fitting dentures, sore spots and limited food choices.
It’s why the majority of patients with dentures coming to our practice are investigating implants. Simply put, they’re not happy with their traditional dentures and who can blame them? They want to go out for dinner with friends and family, to enjoy a range of foods and not be restricted and forced to opt for less healthy food choices.
As such, implants are the best option and have all but replaced conventional or traditional dentures. No more struggling with denture sealers, no more taking them out at night to soak, not more worries they’ll slip out at inopportune moments.
Modern implants are light years away from your grandfather’s dentures and have become the number one choice for patients of all ages and needs. More so, they’ve also been recommended by an expert study published by McGill University.
“Complete denture wearers are usually able to wear an upper denture without problems, but many struggle to eat with the complete lower denture because it is too mobile,” the study noted. “Numerous people wearing conventional dentures report they cannot eat many foods, particular those that are hard or tough. This forces them to change their diets in unhealthy ways and causes their nutrition to be poorer than that of people with natural teeth.”
What the panel found in looking at all the evidence was that two-implant overdentures were a far better choice than traditional dentures secured with adhesive.
“Mandibular two-implant over dentures have been shown to be superior to conventional dentures in randomized and non-randomized clinical trials that ranged in duration from six months to nine years. Regardless of the type of attachment system used (bar, ball, magnet), participants are significantly more satisfied with 2-implant overdentures than with new conventional dentures. Patients find the implant overdentures significantly more stable, and they rate their ability to chew various foods as significantly easier. In addition, they are more comfortable and speak more easily with implant overdentures. Studies of several populations have shown that ratings of quality of life are significantly higher for patients who receive 2-implant overdentures than for those with new conventional dentures.”
It concludes implants are the way to go: “There is now overwhelming evidence that a 2-implant overdenture should become the first choice of treatment for the edentulous (meaning no teeth) mandible.”
The Royal College of Dental Surgeon of Ontario standard for implant supported dentures is for a minimum of two titanium posts to be set into the mandible, or jawbone. The dentures themselves snap onto these posts making them secure and preventing them from slipping around. You have the option of permanent fixed dentures much like natural teeth or removable ones which snap out for cleaning.
Now, understandably, there’s a fear factor involved. The idea of surgery to implant the metal posts into your jaw sounds scary but, in fact, there’s minimal pain involved and few complications with a 96 to 98 per cent success rate.
Lower implants are the most common since it’s the lower dentures which give most patients problems. With the dentures secured to the implants, patients can exert more force while chewing food without worrying their dentures will slip out of place and this in turn means they can just about any foods they like.
As professional denturists our goal is to make our patients happen and we do that by giving them the best possible outcomes with their denture options. If you’re thinking about implants, come in and talk to us, we’ll explain the steps, the costs and what to expect – and what not to expect.
If you want to read more about implants, click here.