There are four aspects to the examination for dentures. Each will provide information that will help in making the best and most successful dentures
possible. We are looking at both the normal anatomy of your mouth, and any pathology or abnormality that may effect treatment, or need to be addressed before making the dentures. As always, it is important to also discuss your expectations and any alternative treatment options there may be.
Assessments are needed of your:
- Soft tissues (gums, cheeks, lips, tongue, floor and roof of your mouth)
(i) We look at the tone of your lips, cheeks and tongue and how they relate to your denture during speaking and biting.
(ii) We look at your oral mucosa for any signs of abnormality, infection or problems such as denture stomatitis
, angelar chelitis or ulcers.
(iii) We look at where your muscles attach and how this relates to where your denture will sit at rest and during movement.
(iv) We look to see if there are any growths of gum (ginival hyperplasia) or squashy tissue on your ridges that may affect the seal and stability of your denture.
- Hard tissues (your ridges, roots, jaw bone, tori)
(i) We look for any signs of retained tooth roots, unerupted teeth, enlarged tubersoities or bony prominences that may interfere with the denture such as mandibular tori.
(ii) We look at the quality of your ridges- how tall, wide and firm they are, as this directly effects the success of the denture,do you have any large undercuts on your ridges or a very fine what we call ‘knife edge’ ridge which if not relieved during the making of the denture
could be painful.
- Saliva - As we have identified, this is key in getting good suction. This can also effect your taste and cause problems with friction (rubbing) and damage to your gums from the denture.
These are the sorts of questions you may be asked:
- Existing dentures- Here we get a good idea of your denture wearing history, giving us a useful insight into providing you with successful dentures.
(i) When did you first start wearing dentures?
(ii) How old are the current dentures?
(iii) How many sets have you had? How often are they replaced?
(iv) How do you get on with them?
(v) What are your main problems/issues with them?
(vi) Were you happy when they were first made?
(vii) Are they painful, sore, loose?
(viii) Do you have any speech problems?
(ix) What can and can’t you eat with them?
The dentist will need to examine the dentures carefully- looking at the following:
(i) The general condition
(ii) The hygiene
(iii) The state of wear
(iv) The bite
(v) The height of the teeth (occluso-vertical dimension)
(vi) The extension of the denture
(vii) The function- speech and chewing
(viii) The fit
(ix) The look – tooth colour, shape and size, gum colour
(x) The presence and position of the post dam ( a special tiny ridge on the top denture that helps to create a seal and improve suction)
(xi) The stability (do they rock?)
(xii) The retention (do they drop?)
(xiii) The position of the teeth
(xiv) The support of the lips and cheeks
(xv) The amount of freeway space ( we discuss this later)