Are Your Dentures Going Gangnam Style on You?
By Dr. Max Zaslavsky
In the past I’ve written on why you may need a denture, and some of the medical reasons why you may lose teeth; yet I have not ever written about your long term relationship with your denture. I have found that is it a love/hate relationship when it comes to patients becoming acclimated to their new denture, with love eventually winning. I wanted to expand on one issue in this blog post regarding the longer you wear your prosthesis- the loss of retention.
In short, we always want to keep teeth. I have never had a patient who says they love their dentures more than they loved their own teeth. In fact, if any of them would go back and reverse their tooth loss, our patients would not hesitate. I have always used the expression to my patients, “Dentures are not sexy.” And even as I say that, day after day, I tend to do quite a few dentures and partials. So let’s fast forward to the love/hate relationship of a patient’s removable and conventional denture.
In the beginning, your denture takes time to adjust. There may be sore spots that need to be corrected and the simple action of chewing takes time get acclimated to. Over time, all is good, and soon we can have you even eating steak and raw broccoli again. But as the years progress, your mouth (with no teeth) remodels. As we all get older, body parts drift, sag, or even become flaccid… and your mouth is no different.
Give it 5 years and that denture that once fit perfect is now moving and loose. You aren’t eating the same way because the denture is wobbly, and it’s at a point where is it uncomfortable. Your mouth is remodeling and YOU have some options on what you can do with your dentist to take care of your wobbly dentures!
- Get a new denture. Sometimes the best route to go is to take new impressions and make dentures that are custom to your new remodeled arch. They should fit and feel like what you had some years before. It’s at times the best decision when you have an older denture where even the teeth are worn down.
- Relining your existing denture. A reline is where we take the denture you currently have, add impression material to the underside of it, send it to the lab, and in the same day get it back with a new acrylic base added. The greatest benefit to this procedure is not only a lower cost than getting a new denture, but you will get your denture back within the same day. Generally I tend to do this when the teeth are in great shape, but palate portion, or the lower arch of the denture is no longer fitting in a secure fashion.
- Placing Implants. Man do I love implants. It not only saves the bone you have left around your arch with no teeth, but we can use these implants as retention to the denture in the same fashion as a button on a shirt. I know that a lot of patients come in with a fear of these titanium root formed objects, but you shouldn’t! A good implant can last you a lifetime so long as you treat it like you would a natural tooth (floss and brush).
If you already had your teeth extracted, it is generally a far better experience having implants placed into your mouth than having teeth taken out. Furthermore, by placing implants, we can actually eliminate the need for items like Fixodent or Poligrip that may interfere with your ability to properly taste foods.
In general, always know you have some options when it comes to ill fitting, loose or wobbly dentures. You shouldn’t have to suffer when you eat, or fear that when you are at a function that your teeth will fall out. Although they will never be as good as what Mother Nature made for you, Fort Lauderdale dentists have progressed to make dentures work better than what your grandfather had.