Monday, November 2, 2009

Stronger & More Functional Dentures

Acrylic dentures are not the best type of prosthesis for anyone, dentist or patient. Except for the rare, cynical grouch who is constantly in denial, no patient who has swapped his acrylic dentures for a set of shiny chrome dentures has ever regretted it. Chrome dentures are similar to acrylic dentures except in the base or framework of the prosthesis.

The teeth and "gums" used in a chrome denture are no different from those used in acrylic dentures. However, chrome, being much stronger than acrylic, allows a slimmer and sleeker design of the denture base. Not only can the base be thinner, it can also cover a smaller area of the mouth. Higher accuracy also provides a better fit. It's not surprising that in most cases, chrome dentures are superior to their acrylic equivalents. If function and durability are what you want in a denture, then go straight for chrome dentures.

The above denture demonstrates a situation called the free end saddle. When it occurs on both sides of the lower jaw, it is a challenge to the most skilled dentist. I would not advise anyone to have an acrylic bilateral free end saddle denture done. A good set of clasps on the remaining teeth will stop the denture from sliding backwards when the wearer bites. But the sinking force at the unsupported end may cause discomfort or even pain. A chrome denture may lessen the discomfort. Acrylic dentures almost always perform poorly under such circumstances.

Are there any disadvantages of chrome dentures over acrylic dentures? Well, first of all, chrome dentures are more expensive and take a longer time to construct. It is also important to note that chrome dentures often show more metal than acrylic dentures with thin wire clasps. Are you OK with the thick chrome clasps and rests? There are patients who deny that they are uncomfortable about the thick metal claps on their chrome dentures but keep complaining about other vague or non-existent problems instead. It is important to be frank with your dentist. However, one real problem with very large full upper chrome dentures, is the weight. In cases where the patient's upper jaw is not well-endowed with a high ridge or deep palate, full chrome dentures will be heavy and unretentive.

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