Why are lower dentures frustrating?

I just returned from session 2 of the Comprehensive Implant Residency in Bessemer Alabama. As always Dr. McCracken was teaching us about achieving predictable, consistent results. This weekend we were reviewing his protocol for the mandible (lower jaw). Folks that are wearing lower dentures know what a huge challenge not having your lower teeth anchored can be. Almost anyone you know well enough to talk to about their dentures with, will confirm that their upper denture does “ok”, but their lower denture is frustrating. Learning to wear a denture is a lot like riding a bicycle; it takes practice and once you get it, it becomes automatic. Unfortunately as time goes by the lower jaw shrinks. This happens at different rates, for different people, and it continues throughout the wearer’s lifetime. The bone that once held teeth resorbs if teeth aren’t there to stimulate the bone. As that ridge becomes smaller, that muscle memory is counted on more and more to keep the denture in place.
At some point the bone has changed so much that the denture doesn’t fit correctly anymore and we have to make a new one. This new denture is shaped a little differently which messes with the muscle memory that was developed with the old denture. So the wearer has a harder time keeping it in place. To add insult to injury, the size of the ridge is smaller, and provides less of a base for the denture to sit on. The wearer has to “reprogram” their muscles and the denture starts out with less ridge to sit on. All of this is frustrating to the person who has to wear the denture and make the accommodations.
The protocol we are using has been used by Dr. McCracken and others for years, and provides a predictable way to achieve quality results consistently.
 It can be used to place 5 lower implants for a fixed hybrid denture (non-removable bridge). This is a great way to restore the lost functionality of the natural teeth.
A second option is to use 4 lower implants to retain a lower overdenture. An overdenture uses “snap” attachments to holds itself in place, but can be removed for cleaning. The implants provide the added benefit of stimulating the bone to reduce the shrinkage that takes place.
The simplest, and possibly the most common way to use implants, is to place 2 implants to provide anchorage for the denture. Even 2 implants provide a huge improvement in the wearer’s experience with denture use.
We are excited to be able to offer these choices to our patients! If you are interested in talking about how implants can be used to improve your denture experience, give us a call for a free consultation. We’ll take a panoramic x-ray (also at no charge) and visit with you about how implants could be used in your particular situation. Call now!