Decide what type of dentures fits your needs

By Mac Lee
Sept. 6, 2016 at midnight
Updated Sept. 7, 2016 at 6 a.m.

Mac Lee

Mac Lee   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Millions of Americans have no teeth. Many decided to get rid of their teeth because they were sick and tired of "messing with them." They had nothing but bad experiences and felt the best investment would be to remove them and get false teeth. An estimated 10 percent go without anything and 90 percent get dentures. Denture wearers have a love/hate relationship with dentures, and unfortunately, once they find out, it's too late.

Wearing a lower denture is like wearing flip-flops. With flip-flops, one has to use their toes to hold the shoes in place. Even then, they still "flip and flop." Likewise, lower dentures, are held in place by the tongue, lips and cheeks. Lower dentures flop around and dislodge more than the upper denture.

The tongue and lower lip move independently of the jaw and constantly dislodge the lower appliance. It can be nerve wracking, and at times, embarrassing. The longer a person has gone without teeth, the less bone they have. The less bone they have, the less they have for the denture to sit on and the more the denture flops around.

Regular dental implants

The most common are called root formed implants. They are called this because they are about the same size as a root of a tooth. Long term success is more than 90 percent. Dental implants are titanium screws placed in the jaw bones. Over time, the titanium and bone become one somewhat like a normal root.

To be a candidate for a regular sized implants, there needs to be substantial bone otherwise the implant will fail.

Mini-implants to the rescue

People with little bone are often discouraged to hear they do not have enough bone to have dental implants. This is where mini-implants come to the rescue. Minis are made for people with less than normal bone. They will hold and secure a lower denture in place.

Mini-implants are smaller, cheaper and are less invasive than larger implants. They take one appointment, zero pain while being placed and with minimum post-operative discomfort. Over the counter medication is all that is needed.

How do they work?

Unlike a regular implant, mini-implants are one piece. Placement is very precise and requires special equipment for seamless placement. Mini-implants are very secure in the bone and use O ring technology. The top of the implant is shaped like a ball. Special O ring housings are bonded into the underside of the denture and perfectly fit over the ball. The denture snaps into place and stays secure while eating, talking, laughing, etc.

Mini-implants only take one visit after diagnosis and treatment have been accepted.

A denture reality

Most denture wearers do not want others to know they are wearing false teeth. A well-made set of dentures look totally natural. The cosmetics are beautiful, matching a Hollywood smile. A bad set of dentures simply look like false teeth making the person appear much older than they are. Cheaper is not always better. What's best is to visit a dentist and voice your wants and concerns and then decide if it is worth the investment.

If you were to run a race, you would want to wear laced up running shoes and not flip-flops. Implant retained dentures are like the running shoes; they allow for a secure denture for eating, laughing, talking like normal, healthy teeth.

Dr. Mac Lee practices in Edna. He is an international speaker and trainer to dentists. He is dedicated to educate the public about dental disease. To learn more about dentistry, visit drmaclee.com or call 361-782-7191.


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