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What Are Lower Suction Dentures?

Do you suffer with an unstable lower denture? Does your denture lift or float in your mouth? 

One of the most difficult results to achieve in dentistry is suction and stability with particular type of denture.  Up until now we believed that suction on lower dentures was not possible and the only way to keep them stable was with a specific denture adhesive or dental implants. The concept of eliminating the suction problem by creating a seal around the entire lower denture base has been spreading worldwide.

This technique was developed by Dr. Jiro Abe in Japan. Proven to be effective as it enhances the suction effect of complete dentures and allows for a strong suction even in patients with advanced resorption of the mandibular ridge. 

The newly developed technique for achieving effective suction and stability of the complete lower denture has become an indispensable part of treating patients.

Lower Dentures Secured Through Suction

Losing all teeth due to age or any other reason can be both physically and psychologically devastating. The teeth are essential when it comes to the digestive process because it is used for the initial grinding of the food we eat.

That’s why edentulous people or those who have lost all their teeth resort to prosthesis or wearing dentures. Not only does it make them feel and look good, it also aids in the proper digestion of the food they eat.

Dentures Origins and History

The earliest record of people using dentures dates back to 700BC. Back then, they made dentures using real teeth either from a human or an animal.

The materials used then deteriorated quickly and needed to be replaced frequently. In the 1700s, the use of ivory became popular. These were taken from hippopotamuses, elephants, or walruses.

The first porcelain dentures were crafted by Alexis Duchateau back in 1774 but were ‘too white’ and prone to chipping.

It was in 1850s onward that the use of Vulcanite was first introduced. Vulcanite is hardened rubber on which porcelain teeth can be set.

Fast forward into the 20th century, Vulcanite was replaced with acrylic resin and other types of plastics.

The Biofunctional Prosthetic System

Since its introduction by Ivoclar Vivadent, the Biofunctional Prosthetic System or BPS has been a leader in providing complete dentures for people who have lost all their teeth.

Over the years, BPS has evolved but still stayed to its basic principles which are correct bite registration, accurate impressions, superb fitting, highest quality materials, and prosthesis that is both aesthetic and functional.

Amongst the world’s dental professionals and even to the most gifted clinicians, it’s widely accepted that it can be quite a challenge to provide effective prosthetics for patients who are completely edentulous.

This has led to trial and error when it comes to the design and production of dentures throughout history.

Latest developments in the BPS system have added new techniques when it comes to improving the aesthetics and function of dentures.

Although implants remain an option, there are patients out there who are not suited for this invasive procedure. Some may also say that implants are quite expensive or that they don’t want to undergo surgery.

These cases are just some of the challenges that dental professionals need to face. Something that needs to be addressed.

The Lower "Denture" Challenge

Mandibular dentures, or those that are meant to replace teeth on the lower jaw are notorious for the numerous issues that patients and dentists tend to face. Unlike maxillary dentures which can be stabilized, lower dentures are a lot trickier to really fully control.

Most patients would complain that their lower dentures would move around their mouth causing discomfort and loss of confidence due to the thought of being noticed by others during social gatherings.

This instability also means patients are unable to chew their food well, which may cause indigestion.

Introducing Lower Suction

Up until recently, dental professionals thought that the only way to hold mandibular dentures steady for a period of time is through the use of adhesives. It might work for most but some complain that the taste of the adhesive affects their eating leading to appetite loss.

It took the brilliant work of Dr. Jiro Abe to prove this notion wrong. This latest development in the provision of lower dentures for edentulous patients has got the dental industry buzzing with excitement. It is now considered as the denture fabrication business’ first major advancement in over two decades.

Denturists have been striving to create the perfect dentures. These dentures should stay in place, fit well, and be stable so that they work in harmony with the patient’s jaw movements and tongue muscles. This can be hard to achieve especially with conventional mandibular dentures.

That’s why when Dr. Abe introduced this new revolutionary system called lower suction dentures, it was referred to as the removable prosthetics’ holy grail. This system offers a great alternative for patients who are struggling with lower dentures that float or lift.

Dr. Abe is a specialist and professor in Tokyo. He is also the Japanese Denture Association’s current president and Ivoclar Vivadent’s international Opinion Leader. The development of lower suction dentures can be Dr. Abe’s most significant contribution yet to the denture industry. One that was developed to help patients to become more comfortable with mandibular prosthetics.

As the name implies, lower suction dentures are held in place via suction. And it does this without the need for using adhesives or costly implants. What Dr. Abe did was develop a unique impression method which captures the oral cavity’s natural shapes. And because the dentures perfectly fit, there is a strong seal around the denture’s entire periphery due to suction which holds the dentures firmly in place.

And since lower suction dentures technique depends on suction to be stable, it can also work for patients who are suffering from advanced bone loss or resorption of the lower jaw. This condition affects many edentulous people and is often a challenge for those wearing conventional dentures.

The Process

Edentulous patients yearn for dentures that not only look natural but will also improve their chewing ability without jiggling or floating around their mouth. There is also the common concern for trapped food, and signs of wear due to age.

The initial assessment of the patient’s maxilla and mandibular ridges can reveal resorption both anteriorly and exteriorly. Their current dentures may also be examined to see how they fit the patient and how much more it can be improved using the new technique. Saliva production is also noted and the patient is interviewed for denture wearing experience. After this assessment, the treatment plan is then discussed with the patient.

The treatment starts with a unique impression method specially developed for lower suction dentures. This is done through the use of a frame cut back tray which records dental soft tissue’s unique anatomical features. The same goes with the bony structures.

Through this impression, the distortion is minimized which leads to greater accuracy and a more perfect fit. The effectiveness of the suction depends largely on the fit of the dentures.

During the impression process, the patient is required to make specific movements and sounds. This is done while the impression device and material is inside their mouth. Their movements are then captured by the impression material and are incorporated in the design of the lower suction dentures.

Although most patients would qualify for this type of denture, there are still those who will be better off with other options. That is why a thorough examination of the patient’s case is required before this technique can be prescribed.

Once the lower suction dentures are made, it is tested for fitting. During this procedure, the suction as well as the occlusion are checked to ensure balanced and smooth excursions are visible and that there are no displacements caused by occlusal interferences. The patient is then asked to make two movements, tongue pressure and swallowing.

Are You a Good Candidates For This Technique?

This is actually a big concern for both denturists and patients. Although this is a revolutionary technique and can help a lot of edentulous people in their search for the perfect lower dentures, there is that doubt if they are qualified to undergo the procedures.

The good news is that this exciting new technique is applicable for at least 80% of lower and upper denture patients. Like any other dental procedure, the patient will still need to undergo a thorough oral and dental examination. This part of the process will determine if the patient is a suitable candidate for lower suction dentures.

The denturist would also need to first check if the patient has the correct oral structure required to hold their lower dentures firmly. There may be instances wherein patients are not able to achieve full suction in the lower dentures, but can still benefit significantly from this technique and the added stabilization it brings.

Lower suction dentures are not advised for those who have just had their teeth extracted and had their immediate and post immediate dentures. The reason behind it is that the shape and size of the gums will significantly change during the healing process after the extraction. Patients that fall under these cases are advised to come again for evaluation after a year has passed. Only then can the patient be tested for lower suction dentures compatibility.