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What Are Lower Dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic teeth worn by those who have lost their natural teeth.
Partial dentures.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2014
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Lower dentures are dental devices designed to replace all or some of the teeth in the bottom jaw. These devices are used when people lose teeth to allow them to eat and speak normally. They are fitted by dental professionals and some care must be taken with the fitting of lower dentures to address common problems encountered with these dental devices. Proper denture fitting also includes training in caring for dentures, as well as maintaining general oral health.

People can lose teeth for a variety of reasons and the risks of losing teeth increase with age. A partial bottom denture can replace a span of missing teeth while allowing the patient to retain the rest of the natural teeth if they are in good condition. A full bottom denture is a complete set of lower teeth. The primary issue with lower dentures is that they are difficult to stabilize. Upper dentures have the advantage of the roof of the mouth to provide stability, while lower dentures do not. They can be more prone to becoming dislodged with use.

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Fitting dentures properly helps with stability. Sometimes, implants in the jaw may be recommended for the patient. Implants create anchoring points for a denture to act as stabilizers. In addition, a dentist may advise performing a frenectomy to snip the frenum, a band of tissue that moves while speaking and eating. The frenum can pull a denture out of place, and snipping it will help with stability. This procedure is quick and relatively painless with a local anesthetic.

Another concern with all dentures is jaw resorption, when the bone of the jaw starts to be reabsorbed. This changes the shape of the jaw and can make dentures fit improperly. Surgical procedures can be used to rebuild the jaw and reduce the risk of resorption. Regular examinations are also recommended to allow a dentist to identify any problems and refit dentures as needed. When dentures do not fit properly, in addition to being prone to loosening up, they can also cause pain and injuries.

A variety of materials can be used to produce lower dentures, depending on the budget and the needs. Dental labs fabricate dentures to exacting specifications and also perform denture repairs in the event of a problem. Patients should evaluate their choices carefully before consenting to tooth pulling and denture fitting. A dentist can provide information about treatment options and concerns to help patients reach a decision.

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