Dentures have been around for hundreds of years, offering people who have lost all or most of their teeth the ability to once again bite, chew, and eat normal foods, and to regain a great-looking smile. In addition to traditional full, partial, and implant-supported dentures, Dr. Barney now offers a new, advanced denture option — neuromuscular dentures. This new denture is fit in a different manner that creates dentures designed specifically for your unique mouth, not dentures adjusted from a prefabricated mold. Neuromuscular dentures provide a new level of fit, comfort, and confidence, all while helping keep your jaw in perfect alignment.
What Are Dentures?
As long as people have lost their teeth due to decay and gum disease, they’ve tried to replace them with artificial sets of teeth — dentures. A full denture is a removable replacement for an entire set of missing teeth (top jaw and/or bottom jaw) and the surrounding tissues. A partial denture, sometimes called a bridge, replaces only a portion of the teeth and can be either removable or fixed.
Dentures are built upon a framework, called a plate, usually made from rigid acrylic resin, flexible nylon polymer, or cobalt metal. When full dentures require an artificial gum line, resin is used because it can be tinted to accurately match the patient’s natural gum color. The artificial teeth are made from acrylic resin or porcelain.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Dentures?
A quarter of Americans over age 65 have lost all of their teeth, and another size-able group is missing many teeth. As time has passed and oral health has deteriorated, a person could reach the point where they simply give up, eat basically a soft diet, and avoid smiling in public situations.
But modern dentures shouldn’t make anyone opt for that decreased quality of life. Beyond the capacity to eat foods you used to eat, dentures can return a sense of self-confidence and pride to the wearer. But they’re more than that. Dentures can…
- Give a person back the ability to chew and bite properly.
- Give a person back their self-confidence.
- Allow the person to eat healthier foods such as nuts and fruit again.
- Can give a person back normal speech patterns.
- Improve the wearer’s facial structure.
Types of Dentures
- Full Dentures: These replace a full set of upper or lower teeth or both. With full dentures, any remaining damaged teeth are pulled. Full dentures sit atop the gums and are a combination of a base that resembles gum tissue and artificial teeth anchored into that base. Full dentures are removed every night for cleaning and to allow the gums to rest.
- Partial dentures are only possible if the patient has some existing healthy teeth. These teeth can serve as anchors for a denture that replaces a series of missing teeth. Partial dentures can be fixed, anchored to crowns on the adjacent teeth; or they can be removable, attached to adjacent teeth with metal framework that allows the denture to be removed.
- Implanted-supported dentures: These dentures are anchored in place by a series of dental implants on one or both jaws. The dentures then snap onto the implants to create the most solid foundation. Implant-supported dentures don’t slip and don’t require any adhesives.
- Neuromuscular dentures: These dentures don’t simply replace missing teeth, they are designed to support healthy jaw position and function. They are rooted in neuromuscular dentistry, which looks at the mouth as a complex system of interrelated parts that must work together to create proper jaw function and health. Neuromuscular dentistry looks at the teeth, the masseter muscles, and the temporomandibular joint, striving to keep the three parts in harmony. Neuromuscular dentures help place the jaw in proper alignment, and provide the best fit possible.
Dentures Before and After
Traditional Dentures Vs. Neuromuscular Dentures
Traditional dentures are made using a prefabricated mold, meaning they are not created specifically for your mouth. Although the size can be altered, the fit is never truly perfect for the natural, unique shape of your mouth. They will fit, but your mouth will need to adjust to having them inside. Regular dentures also can also slip, fall out, or look either too large or small for the wearer’s mouth. This can be embarrassing, and can make things like talking and eating uncomfortable.
Neuromuscular dentures are made specifically to fit your mouth. Unlike regular dentures, your mouth will not need to adjust to them as much, because they are made just for you. As a certified neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Barney can give you a different sort of denture that will fit your mouth perfectly. Neuromuscular dentures look and feel more natural, and make day-to-day life easier.
Neuromuscular Dentures Procedure
The process begins with the dentist taking measurements of your mouth. To do this accurately, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit is used. This device, also used to treat temporomandibular joint disorders, relaxes the jaw muscles, allowing for a perfect measurement. Computer-generated digital images also provide a second guide for making the dentures.
By taking these measurements, Dr. Barney can design dentures that will not only replace your teeth, but also hold your jaw in an optimal position. Your neuromuscular dentures will look and feel like your real teeth, even when you’re laughing, eating, or speaking. And, unlike traditional dentures, you don’t have to worry about what you eat because your neuromuscular dentures are better positioned in your mouth and will stay in place without slipping. Your tongue, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth naturally support the dentures.
Making the Switch
If you already wear dentures, you should consider switching to neuromuscular dentures. As a neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Barney is thoroughly experienced in jaw disorders and feels neuromuscular dentures provide a better solution than traditional dentures.
How Do You Care for Neuromuscular Dentures?
Caring for neuromuscular dentures is the same as traditional dentures. They are washed with a brush every night and then placed in a solution to soak overnight.
Benefits of Neuromuscular Dentures
Neuromuscular Dentures will feel more comfortable in your mouth, but also by holding your jaw in proper alignment neuromuscular dentures will take any pressure off of your jaw that you might not have known you were putting on it. Since they fit better, you will also notice less food getting stuck underneath them, leaving you with a cleaner mouth.
If you need dentures or partial dentures, or would like to switch your older dentures, then neuromuscular dentures are a great choice for the health of your mouth.
How Long Do Dentures Last?
Complete dentures last an average of five to seven years. The false teeth don’t degrade that quickly, but the gum tissue and jawbone beneath the dentures change. These changes require the dentures to be either reline, rebased, or remade, depending on your unique situation. The artificial teeth will usually be used again, with the base re-formed to your changing gums and jaw.
How Are Dentures Maintained?
Full dentures are not intended for 24-hour wear. Full dentures should be removed every night, brushed, and then placed in water or a cleansing solution. This isn’t an arbitrary thing — your gum tissues need to rest while you sleep, plus your tongue and saliva stimulate and cleanse the gums when the dentures are out.
Cleaning dentures isn’t difficult; you simply brush them. But you don’t use regular toothpaste because it contains too many abrasives that can create minute scratches and channels on your dentures. Instead, you brush your dentures with specific denture toothpaste. This brushing removes food particles and plaque, just as brushing does with your natural teeth. After brushing you place your dentures in water or cleaning solution for the night, to keep them moist.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about dentures, and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (304) 754-8803 to schedule a consultation at our office in Hedgesville, WV.