5 FACTS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING LOWER DENTURES

ISN’T A LOWER DENTURE JUST A PIECE OF PLASTIC? 

Please excuse the medical speak but it helps give an idea of the complexity of a bottom denture.  A lower denture is not merely a product; it must be a functional, biophysiologic appliance, designed to replace lost human teeth/bone and associated tissues; required to restore neuromuscular, masticatory and oratory function to the patient.

“…it must be a functional, biophysiologic appliance, designed to replace lost human teeth/bone and associated tissues”

Great, but what the heck does all that mean?  It means a lower denture is designed to be functional (meaning you can actually eat and speak with it) and biophysiologic (meaning it functions with all of the other organs your natural teeth functioned with).

The lower denture must replace and provide masticatory (chewing) and oratory (speech) functions equal to or better than the natural teeth.

process of making lower denture
good impression is critical for lower denture

WITHOUT A PROPERLY PERFORMED IMPRESSION YOUR NEW BOTTOM DENTURE MIGHT BE USELESS AND/OR PAINFULL

Think of impressions as the blueprint for your lower denture.  If the blueprint is wrong or incomplete you can imagine how poorly the finished product will function.

Simply put, an accurate impression is critical.  If the blueprints (the impression) are not exactly as your tissues are, a dental technician cannot build a denture that will fit and function as it should.

There are two types of impression techniques:  static and functional.  A static impression takes the blueprint of your teeth and tissues while your mouth is at rest (hence the name static).  With a functional impression, the dentist/denturist will place a special impression material in the denture and have you to wear the denture for 8 – 24 hours.  This impression material actually moves [ever so slightly] as your tissues move during all of your normal speaking, swallowing and eating activities. This is why it is termed “functional”.  The functional impression gives a much more accurate representation of the tissues.

“Simply put, an accurate impression is critical”

Please note, if you are having teeth extracted, wait six months to have a functional impression/reline performed.  It takes six months for the tissues to fully reshape.

After six months we recommend getting a functional impression and reline.  If possible, by a board-certified prosthodontist or medical denturist.

ARTIFICIAL TEETH:  YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

There are essentially two types of artificial teeth; plastic and porcelain.  There are various sub types of plastic (sometimes referred to as acrylic) teeth from inexpensive to very expensive.  On average plastic teeth are cheaper and last 5-10 years.  Plastic teeth do not completely break down food particulates because they have less grinding ability.  Over time it is common for denture wearers with plastic teeth to develop digestive problems.

Vacuum fired porcelain are the teeth of choice today for premium dentures.  They are more expensive and generally last up to 25 years.  Porcelain teeth have better grinding ability and will completely break down food particulates, lessening chances of digestive problems.

“Over time it is common for denture wearers with plastic teeth to develop digestive problems”

Many dentists today do not like utilizing porcelain teeth and would rather provide you with dentures created with plastic teeth.  Why would that be? Simply put, there is economic incentive to sell dentures with plastic teeth as the patient has to return more often for new dentures.  Less commonly known, most dentists have a difficult time establishing ‘Centric’; the position your jaw moves too during swallowing.  In this position, your teeth will fit together like teeth on a set of gears.  Lastly, it is much easier for dentist/denturist to adjust plastic teeth than it is porcelain teeth.  Saving them time and costing you more money.

plastic versus porcelain teeth for lower dentures
implant denture vs normal lower denture

IT WILL BE RECOMMENDED YOU GET DENTAL IMPLANTS

Dental implant retained lower dentures are the rage today in dentistry.  Implants are generally more than double the cost of a denture without implants.  Obviously there is an economic incentive to recommend them.  We are not against implants; when placed by a qualified practitioner.  We are against any dentist placing implants who has not been thoroughly trained and examined in these various techniques.  Simply review ‘implant failures’ on the internet and you will see that the advertising you see and hear does not match what is really happening to the public.

“Implants are generally more than double the cost of a denture without implants”

Visiting a board-certified prosthodontist or oral surgeon will ensure proper placement of the implants.  Do not receive implants from a general dentist.  Do not fall for “tooth extraction and implants/dentures in one day”.  You will not be happy in six months to a year. After extractions, oral tissues need six months to fully heal and reshape.

A PROPERLY MADE LOWER DENTURE CAN BE TROUBLE FREE

One more round of doctor speak, remember, a lower denture is not a product; it is a functional, bio physiologic appliance, designed to replace lost human dentition and associated tissues; required to restore neuromuscular, masticatory and oratory function to the patient.

“Expect to have a denture relined about every 3 years to keep the bottom denture fitting correctly”

A properly made lower denture should require very little denture adhesive.  When a denture wearer uses more denture adhesive than they normally do, this is a sure sign it is time for a reline.  Expect to have a denture relined about every 3 years to keep the bottom denture fitting correctly.

An unseen but important benefit of a well-fitting bottom denture is slower bone shrinkage.  The better a lower denture fits, the slower the bone shrinks.

a well made lower denture should function without problems