A denture is a removable appliance that replaces all your upper teeth and/or your lower teeth once they have been extracted. Dentures are made from an acrylic base with resin or porcelain teeth.
Bone loss and dentures
Dentures can accelerate bone loss by wearing away at the ridges of bone they are placed on. Every time you bite down or clench your teeth you are placing pressure on the ridge, resulting in its resorption. This is a primary cause of continual problems on getting dentures to fit, of sore spots and difficult or painful chewing.
People who wear dentures can experience another severe consequence of bone loss: collapse of the lower third of their face.
The loss of the ridge bone brings your chin closer to the nose, causing your jaw to jut out and your nose appears to stick out further because your upper lip has puckered in. Deep wrinkles appear around the mouth and the cheeks develop “jowls”— sagging skin. This facial collapse can appear to age you by many years!
Preventing bone loss
Bone loss can be prevented by giving the jawbone a replacement tooth with a root that can exert the same or similar pressure as natural teeth. This is done immediately after extraction by replacing single teeth with dental implants, or by using a fixed implant-supported bridge or denture.
A single-tooth implant or a dental bridge with three to four teeth supported by two implants provide a chewing power of 99% of natural bite force. A denture secured with dental implants, such as our Same Day Teeth procedure, provides about 70% to 80% of normal biting force and helps considerably in preventing bone loss.
There are some tricks to improve the fit of your dentures temporarily. Relining dentures is generally necessary when full (removable) dentures become loose, after years of wear. Because the rate of bone loss differs from person to person, some denture wearers may need more frequent relines than others. Upper dentures tend to fit better and be less problematic than lower dentures because they have a much larger surface area on which to suction and rest.
There are two ways to reline your existing dentures:
A temporary reline necessitates adding a layer of material under the denture in your mouth while you are in your dentist's chair. This involves taking an impression (literally impressing material under the denture with a plastic or moldable material) that hardens and fills the void created where the oral tissues have shrunken away from the denture. This approach will generally stabilize the denture for a short period of time.
A more permanent reline requires an indirect technique where material is added to the denture in the mouth in much the same way as described above for a temporary reline. However, the denture then needs to be sent to a dental laboratory to replace the temporary material with more permanent denture plastic, usually “methacrylate” (meth-a-cri-late). The advantage of a permanent reline is that it is longer lasting; although, it does mean that you will be without your denture for a day or more.
If your dentist feels that a reline will not achieve the fit and stability desired, then remaking the dentures is the next option to consider. Other reasons for remaking the dentures are the wear of the denture teeth, poor esthetics, and poor condition of the denture's base material.
Despite the best efforts of the dentist and laboratory, satisfaction cannot be guaranteed with the fit and function of previously loose dentures, particularly if you have extensive bone and gum tissue loss. At this stage, it may be best to consider any reline option temporary. This is the reason why dental implants are generally the best, if not only, option for long-term denture wearers with extremely loose-fitting dentures.