|“My lower dentures don’t fit doc”, said my patient.”Hmm, I wonder if it’s anything to do with that rather large meaty growth there”, I answered.”What meaty growth?!?”, exclaimed my rather alarmed patient.
“That one.” I said, grabbing his tongue.
Okay, all a little tongue in cheek here (bad pun) but lower dentures are the bane of the denture making world. In many cases there is little room on the lower jaw for TEETH much less unwieldy bits of plastic!
When teeth are extracted, part of the healing process involves the remodeling of bone that once used to support these teeth, essentially this body “ridge” is remodeled almost flat resulting the the loss of a considerable amount of bone. This means that there is often not much more than a fleshy ridge that we are now going to try to support a denture upon. Whilst this is sufficient for forces directly perpendicular onto the denture (and therefore onto the bone), it is clearly not enough support when lateral (sideways) forces are applied – hence the influence of that meaty growth the tongue, which when thrust will push the denture off the ridge.
This destabilises the denture and results in the lower denture not “fitting”.
“Whatever doc, I just want my dentures to fit”, says patient, eyes glazed over from my little soliloquy.
Well, firstly, denture adhesives don’t work. Denture adhesives work by increasing the force needed to remove the UPPER dentures from the nice flat, fleshy palate. The adhesion is not enough to prevent lateral displacement of the LOWER denture.
The reality is that only two things will now present themselves as solutions:
1. Don’t wear a lower denture at all, get used to it, stay on softer foods.
Amazingly, quite a few people opt for option (1)!!! But if this is clearly not acceptable, then by placing two titanium dental implants into the lower jaw you can then fit housings into the lower denture allow IT to clip onto the implants and, viola, stability!
In the past few years the cost of this treatment has dropped considerably, and where it would have cost over $10,000 (including the dentures), it can be done for nearly half the cost now. There are a few issues to be aware off, including the complications associated with surgery, and there is a failure rate associated with implants, but for the most part this form of surgery is relatively successful.