• Dr. Saumitra Saravana

Dentures


This is not a very particularly attractive topic but we feel it’s a very important one because, more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth, and it is predicted that these numbers are expected to grow, and in fifteen years at least 200 million individuals are expected to have one or more teeth missing.

Unfortunately, lack of teeth effects the most vulnerable people in our population, the elderly and poor.

Its hard to understand the importance of something until we loose it. I know of a male patient who as a result of a workplace accident ended up loosing his ears and his teeth. His main concern was not to restore his ears but his teeth!


For a lot of patients teeth are tied to their appearance and their self esteem. Even celebrities look so much better when their teeth look better. Look at before and after pictures of Nic Cage.

But function is possibly as important as to have pretty teeth. To be able to chew properly, having confidence in your appearance in social situations and generally be comfortable with your oral health is vital.

The way nature has set up our jaws is that to bite with a pressure of ten pounds our muscles need to exert about forty pounds of pressure. This is because our jaws are not built as a nut cracker where the force is exerted from the front of the device but from the back.

In order to eat soft untoasted bread we need about 20 pounds of pressure between our teeth and somethings chewier like mutton chops, about forty pounds and for things like a tough like a very well-done steak probably around eighty pounds.

For most patients who have dentures their biting pressure falls dramatically. Its only about one fifth of what a person with teeth can manage. This means that chewing everything can be a lot harder. Therefore, eating whatever you want to eat any way you want to eat is not that easy with dentures.

So, we can stress enough that keeping teeth in a reasonably healthy shape for most of our lives is very important. But for people who are in a situation where their finances or health preclude them from having fixed teeth, Dentures is an effective way to regain some lost function and from their perspective an instant smile makeover.

After all, we can go as white and as straight with fake teeth as you want! Most conventional dentures are a multi visit process. For most patients we would need from start to finish at least 3 weeks to finish making dentures. This involves one or two molds and then a following visit called a “try in” visit where we show you how your teeth will look like. This is an important visit as it lets the professional and patient figure out if they are on the right track. I remember during a try in visit where I had set up teeth perfectly straight and what I thought was “beautiful”, but my patient had always had a gap between his front teeth and expected his dentures to also have a gap!

Once everyone is happy with everything, dentures are sent to process and is delivered. After patients get their dentures many times they need to come in for adjustments and possibly trouble shooting on how to eat certain foods. So, it takes time.

This is all good but what when something needs to be done quickly? This can be difficult and problematic. Thankfully these days there is a simplified expedited dentures called “Benchmark Dentures” that can be made in a two visit process. These two visits can be spread apart by a day or even a few hours.

These Benchmark dentures are pre-made in certain sizes just like our clothes are. During the first visit, we would make a mold to see size works best for you. On that day or the next day, a pre-made denture is then customized to fit your mouth. And that’s it. Now because they are pre-made, there are limitations on what can be done with them. Teeth are only available in two shades and there are only six sizes of dentures available. For some reason if your jaws are bigger or smaller than the average, these dentures might not work for you. It is also harder individualize these dentures. Say you needed wider teeth or teeth set slightly uneven to give them a “natural” look or special features its it might not be possible.

However, they are quick, and usually cheaper to make when compared to custom dentures. If your are looking for a dentist near you/ in Fredericksburg area or you need to get a free consult or have any questions about Dentures call our office at 540 370 8504 or email us at smile@pearlfamilydental.com.


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