Dentures—Beyond Aesthetics

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Dentures are not simply false teeth that are made to help you eat. There is a science and art to making each of them. It is important to remember that each one is patient-specific. Each denture is made to address distinct anatomical structures, and we construct them for the patient to smile, eat, and speak properly.

At Dentures 4 You, our goal is to make our patients feel and look better. We aim to make dentures that are not only aesthetically pleasing. We make them the correct way to ensure that functionality is not compromised.

In this article, we will discuss an important part of denture construction and what happens to dentures after long-term use. Let us talk about Vertical Dimension, its purpose in facilitating optimal function, and its role in proper denture making.

  • What is Vertical Dimension and importance of correct VDO with Dentures?
  • Why is Establishing of Appropriate Occlusal Vertical Dimension Important in Denture wearers?
  • What are the potential traumas that occur from an incorrect Vertical Dimension and significantly worn dentures?
  • Over-closed Vertical Dimension
  • TMJ problems
  • Other problems
  • What is Vertical Dimension and importance of correct VDO with Dentures?

Occlusal vertical dimension (OVD) also called the Vertical Dimension of occlusion (VDO), is a measurement of the distance (height) between two anatomical landmarks. Usually, these are the tip of the nose and the chin. For patients with teeth, we easily measure this when they bite with their posterior teeth in contact with one another.

 
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This is trickier for completely edentulous patients that no longer have any teeth to place into maximum contact with each other. For these cases, we measure VDO through subjective criteria that we base on the patient’s aesthetics and phonetics.

Proper vertical dimension is compromised whenever the proper height between the upper ridge and lower ridge is lost. This happens when patients lose their teeth or when denture teeth become worn and short  . This occurs in both natural and denture teeth as they are continually exposed to different food and grinding movements.

For completely edentulous patients that no longer have any teeth, the process of diminished VDO occurs when denture teeth are eroded/abraded through frequent use as well as through bone recession. You see, when teeth are lost, the bone surrounding these teeth also begins to recede. Over time, bone recedes more and more.

Therefore we encourage yearly check-ups to assess the patient’s dentures and their fit, so as the denture teeth wear. Dentures that have been used for years may need to be replaced if the VDO is significantly reduced. Continue reading to learn why.

Why is Establishing of Appropriate Occlusal Vertical Dimension Important in Denture wearers?


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Accurate measurement of the vertical dimension is of absolute importance in determining the correct proportions for your dentures. Any discrepancies can lead to speech and phonetic difficulties as well as aesthetic concerns and ability to chew your food. It is important to understand the implications of worn dentures and Over-Closed OVD on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the connection between your Lower Jaw and the Skull. Dentures made from inaccurate measurements can lead to painful and debilitating TMJ problems.

Excessive change in VDO height results in problematic scenarios. If the VDO is below the proper height, it causes an aged appearance and excessive folds on the sides of the lips. If the VDO is too high or too low, your TMJ will become strained and your speech will be compromised.

Dentures re-establish the lost height in the absence of teeth. When teeth are lost, the bone that supports these teeth begins to recede as well. We need to re-establish the correct occlusal vertical dimension to facilitate comfortable function, good aesthetics and speech for the patient.

What are the potential traumas that occur from an incorrect Vertical Dimension and significantly worn dentures?
Incorrect vertical dimension happens when:

  1. Patients do not replace old dentures in the setting of progressive bone recession and teeth abrasion.
  2. Patients have severely eroded or abraded natural teeth that significantly compromises their VDO
  3. Patients with no teeth do not wear dentures

 
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The moment teeth are lost, the patient’s profile begins to change due to bone recession. These bone changes will continue to happen over time. Bone loss equates to a loss of VDO, which can result in these problems:

Over-closed Vertical Dimension

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Decreased VDO or over-closed VDO will cause several issues. The first and most evident concern will be aesthetic. There is a noticeable depression of the face, narrowing of the space between the nose and chin, and folds on the side of the lips. This gives a significantly aged appearance for the patient.


TMJ problems

 

When there is diminished VDO, the TMJ will also undergo structural changes to accommodate the lost height. In the beginning, it may manifest in clicking and popping of the joint. However, in cases wherein there is a prolonged loss of VDO, this can eventually result in temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).

In cases of TMD, the patient may experience:

  1. Extreme pain
  2. Clicking and popping of the joint
  3. Muscle fatigue from chewing functions
  4. Difficulty eating and chewing which can inevitably result in digestive issues
  5. Ear pain
  6. Migraine/vertigo

TMD is a condition that can cause many discomforting issues for the patient. These symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition. Long-standing diminished VDO is one reason behind TMD.

Other problems

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A reduced VDO can lead to other problems such as difficulty in speech, drooling of saliva, unnatural contact of the lips, and injuries to the soft tissues because of incorrect contact of the upper and lower teeth.

Conclusion

If you’re using dentures, it’s important to understand that its use entails a continuous process of maintaining the proper VDO through regular dental visits and assessments. That is to say, treatment does not stop when you finally get a new set of dentures.

We at Dentures 4 You promise high quality and accurately constructed dentures for all our patient partners. In collaboration with our patient partners, we highlight the importance of maintaining the ideal fit of dentures through regular dental check-ups and having thorough VDO assessment in the clinics.

Denture wear is an important entity that warrants dental professional attention. Of the things affecting denture wear, continued bone recession is arguably the most pressing issue you’d like for your dentist to address. We can adjust your dentures, but there will come a time that a replacement will be necessary to avoid the complications listed above.

To know more about VDO and other denture-related concerns, contact or visit us

www.dentures4you.com.au

Dentures 4 You: Hallam, Frankston, Mornington, Rosebud

COVID-19 Update

Dentures 4 you are currently closed due to government restrictions. Our clinic will re-open on the 14th of September. For any appointments, please book online or call after 14th of September.