When most of your teeth are missing or must be removed, an overdenture can be a good treatment for replacing them.
From the top, an overdenture looks like a conventional denture, but unlike a conventional denture, some teeth are retained, and the overdenture fits over these teeth.
With regular adjustments and careful attention to proper homecare, an overdenture can provide a functional bite and a natural-looking smile.
The process of making a full denture varies in each case, and it usually involves a series of appointments. The first step is to take impressions of your mouth. An accurate model is made from these impressions, and the lab uses this model to create the denture base. In many cases, a wax rim is mounted on the ba
In the third step we take impressions of your mouth, including the prepared teeth. An accurate model is made from these impressions, and the lab uses this model to create the overdenture base.
Fourth, in many cases, a wax rim is mounted on the base for you to try in. This helps confirm that the upper and lower teeth are correctly aligned.
Fifth, after the try in, the lab creates a wax-up, which is a replica of the final denture. You try in the wax-up, and we note any changes to the fit of the base and to the color, shape and placement of the teeth. We send the wax-up back to the lab, and they process it to create the final overdenture.
Finally, when the overdenture is ready, you try it in, and we make any necessary adjustments here in the office.
Overdentures have several advantages. Keeping some of your own teeth helps hold the denture in place and makes the denture feel more secure and natural. In addition, because we are able to retain some of your natural teeth, the overdenture slows the loss of jawbone that naturally occurs when teeth are missing. Dentures also provide support for cheeks and lips, which give you a more attractive and youthful appearance.
The process of making an overdenture varies in each case, and it usually involves a series of steps and appointments.
The first step is to prepare the supporting teeth by removing the portion above the gumline.
Second, to prevent inflammation and infection, we perform root canal treatment on the teeth. We may also cover the teeth with small caps or attachments that help the denture stay in place.
Some people believe that their dental problems will be over if they simply have their teeth removed and replaced with dentures. Instead, as most denture wearers will tell you, getting dentures can mark the beginning of many new problems.
Eating can take much longer because you can apply only about 15% to 20% of normal force when chewing with dentures.
They also make many foods more difficult to eat. This is particularly true for fruits and vegetables, which are crucial for your overall health.
Tasting food can be more difficult, too, especially with upper dentures, which cover the taste buds on the roof of your mouth.
Gagging can be a problem with upper dentures. Some people with an active gag reflex find them impossible to wear.
Sore spots can also develop because the tissues in the mouth were never made to have plastic continually rubbing against them.
Problems associated with shrinking jawbone
The most serious problem is the loss of jawbone. When teeth are missing, the jawbone does not get the stimulation it needs from chewing, and the bone begins to shrink. This causes the denture to become loose and floppy. After a few months, the denture will have to be relined, and every few years, it will need to be remade completely to keep it fitting properly.
This is a particular problem with lower dentures. The base for the denture is smaller to begin with, and as the loss of bone flattens the jaw, there is very little to hold it in place. Even worse, the shrinkage can expose nerves that pass through the lower jaw, so the jaw hurts and can go numb every time you bite down.
The loss of jawbone also changes your appearance. Your nose gets closer to your chin and your lips collapse. This causes wrinkles, gives you less lip support, and makes you look older.
When you add up all of the costs, dentures can end up being more expensive than treatment to save your natural teeth. The cost of dentures includes those for removing teeth, making the dentures, and periodic relines and remakes.
For all these reasons, we recommend that you choose treatment to save your natural teeth. You will look better, feel better, enjoy your food more, and have more confidence.