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January 2nd, 2014

Getting used to new dentures can take patience, but with perseverance and some practice, they can become completely comfortable.  Modern denture base materials are so good, so life-like and so compatible, that adapting is usually quite easy.
That wasn’t always the case.  Earliest denture bases were hand carved of bone or ivory, followed shortly by platinum, gold, silver and tin.   George Washington’s teeth were ivory on gold bases.  He liked to soak them in port wine which stained them and gave them a “wood” color, thereby creating the myth of his wooden teeth.   The development of Vulcanite in the 1850’s resulted in remarkable improvements but did not completely replace tortoiseshell, porcelain, gutta percha and celluloid.
When the age of plastics arrived, we had a material that was compatible with gum tissue and was dimentionally stable when produced, leading to a much better fit.  Plastics have continually improved to become the strong, stable, easily repaired and esthetic material that we have today.  But the procedures for processing the dentures continues to improve, leading to more accurate fit.
Unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t enough bone to form a supportive base for dentures, especially lower full dentures.  In these cases, the new standard of care may include placement of 2 to 4 implants that can support and retain the denture.  It remains removable but it connects to the new titanium implants which act like artificial roots and keep the denture in place.
Another benefit of an implant supported denture is that the case will no longer settle with time.  Bone under a denture will gradually disappear from the pressure and function.  The denture will move over time and allow the bite to collapse, making the wearer look older.  But with the implants placed, the bone remains intact and the denture will no longer move over time.

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