Cosmetic Denture Dentistry
Decisions versus Decisions
Denture dentistry, as a treatment and as an industry within the field of General Dentistry is probably one of the most perplexing to deal with due to consumer expectations….and ironically, consumer demand.
Consumers are aware that dentures can have seemingly bargain basement prices ….. all the way to a pricing structure that can approach costs that are typically associated with comprehensive makeover dentistry.
The principles of marketing and manufacturing processes affect dentistry in the same way clothing, DVD players and other consumer goods are affected.
As a product becomes more and more standardized, with little or no variation, the opportunities for mass production increase correspondingly. Denture clinics long ago discovered this principle and continue, to this day, to produce a useable denture product that can be satisfactory for the “statistically average patient.”
Patients who “accurately” fall into the average patient group, tend to do OK. But …. herein lies the problem: How many patients have the normal characteristics that the mass produced denture is based on?
The denture “after market” is alive and well. These are the companies that manufacture and distribute products for people who unfortunately have not been able to experience normal dental function that dentures should be expected to provide.
Adhesives, liners, pads, and repair kits are some of the more popular items that some patients feel are required for being able to eat, speak, articulate and spontaneously laugh without the fear of denture failure.
In our practice …. each and every denture patient is provided with the important technical information that corresponds with the level of treatment they are seeking.. in terms of cosmetic impact and reconstruction of good bite and occlusion characteristics.
They can choose to have economical acrylic components, which do a fair job of reestablishing basic function and appearance. Patients who want nothing but the best in state-of-the-art prosthodontics may elect to use high grade porcelain, titanium mounting systems and implant dentistry to create what they have probably been told was impossible to achieve…. dramatic cosmetic results and dental function that is almost the equivalent of normal teeth.
A table of characteristics is presented here to help consumers determine the short term and long term value of inexpensive (mass produced) dentures versus varying degrees of custom denture products that are usually available through a dental practice that provides substantial denture services.
Achieving Low Prices
Pricing differences for all of the different products reflect the type and quality of materials used, fabrication and adjustment time and the amount of time invested by the doctor in articulation studies, fitting adjustments needed to create the amount of change (cosmetic and functional) requested by the patient.
In general terms, the greatest savings occurs with minimizing the time elements which affect the impression process, fabrication process and final fitting process. For patients who are not the statistical average the time savings can result in a denture with substandard fit, thereby creating more bone loss and soft tissue damage, possibly rendering the denture unusable.
|Entry Level Denture||Premium Grade|
|Provided by Denture Clinics||Provided by Dentists, Prosthodontists|
|Laboratories operated in a mass production environment||Laboratory processes performed on a custom, case by case basis. Assurance of premium grade materials, no porosity, precise alignment and fit of all biting surfaces (occlusal relationships)|
|Made in 2-3 visits||Made in 4-7 visits|
|One impression taken for final denture||One impression taken for intial training denture. Final adjustments to overcome shrinkage of gum tissues are overcome by using functional impressions made during chewing motions to insure an accurate fit during chewing. Built into final denture, creating a tight, more natural fit|
|Made with common plastic teeth||Made with choice of high grade acrylics, porcelain, crowns, fillings, etc. to simulate or match real teeth|
|Pink gums or 3 ethnic colors||Gum areas are made to precisely match existing gum tissue characteristics of the patient, includes special shading, tinting, appearance of blood vessels, etc.|
|Manufactured with a hot water process – Shrinkage approximately 7%||Manufactured with acrylic injection mold process – Shrinkage under .1% (one tenth of 1 percent) creates tighter more perfect fit (prevents sores)|
|Not made on Articulator||Made on Articulator (bite-occlusal studies) to assure proper fit and natural appearance and alignment of teeth to eliminate a false or slanted look. Critical for assuring normal speech, normal bite, proper jawbone relationships.|
|Collapsed smile rehabilitation – minimal||Articulator studies enable dentist to build denture features that create new lip support and eliminate the collapsing granny mouth effect. Vertical Dimension and Bite is normalized|
|Underbite – Overbite Correction – minimal||Articulator studies enable dentist to recreate physical relationships in jaw positioning and movement that correct resting positions of maxilla and mandible that best approximates what Mother Nature provides|
|Speech – Phonetics testing not available||Special phonetics and speech testing performed to confirm ability to properly articulate “S”, “V”,”CH” and “F” sounds|
|1-2 Try ins for final fitting||Multiple visits to assure best fitting|
|Soft liners not provided||Soft cushions used to create best comfort and retention for lower dentures|
|Special Aesthetics not available||Custom shading and tinting of individual teeth. New process provides appearance of Laser Teeth WhiteningTooth spacing, rotations and overlaps created to mimic appearance of natural teeth – overcomes appearance of The Denture Look|
|Use with denture implants later – not available||Custom dentures provide patients with transition to implants and mini-implants to insure the ability to create cosmetic and functional results that are similar to Reconstructive Cosmetic Dentistry|
In our practice, we have increasing numbers of patients who want dentures that don’t look like dentures. Be sure to visit our Photo Gallery to see 3 different types of denture treatment plans that were created to solve 3 different and unusual types of dental needs, as defined by the patients.