Dental Education Lecture: 1st Timer for Denture

It is the biggest surprise for a patient to use the 1st denture.  We have got used to our natural teeth.  They are so stable.  When the natural teeth are taken out and immediately replaced by denture, patients usually feel that the denture is too loose.  They can hardly eat anything.  They do not know why their denture friends can eat so well.  The biggest difference is that the former are rookies, while the latter are veterans.

Anyway, we need time to adjust to denture wearing.  Our natural teeth act as individual units  They function independently of the others.  By contrast, denture acts a single unit.  When we are rookie denture wearer, denture easily falls out on any sudden movement, such as coughing, sneezing and biting our favorite food with front teeth.  When they chew on back teeth on one side, the other side of the denture pops out.  As time passes by, we learn how to handle loose denture and eat like a chimpanzee.

The second biggest surprise to my patients is that they feel that their upper lip becomes particularly thick after extraction and immediate insertion of a denture.  This problem is difficult to solve, because it is quite natural.  Our natural teeth are stable because their roots are inserted directly into the bone.  The stability of the denture depends upon flange that sits on our jaw.  The flange is pink material that looks like our gums.  It is quite thick and covers the jaw bone where the roots are.  When our front teeth are among the last ones to be taken out, the front portion of our jaw bone is quite thick.  After wearing the 1st denture, the flange makes our upper lip particularly bulging.  Several months after extraction, our jaw bone begins to shrink.  When we make a second denture, our lip does not look so bulky anymore.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 08/17/2010, last revision 09/28/2012