This video is for all of my denture patients or patients who have been told that they need a denture. Something that people look at or consider as just kind of a life sentence is when you get a set of dentures. You know, people think they're going to go through life struggling or not being to chew or being afraid to smile or you know, "Is this thing going to move around constantly when I'm talking?" And the answer to a lot of those things, historically, has been yes. Dentures can be a very, very difficult thing to live with. But the good news is we've improved a lot. We've got a lot of things that we can offer in a big, big variety of ways to improve everything that you have going on with your current denture.
To put it in perspective, when you have a mouthful of healthy teeth and you're able to chew at a 100%, that's terrific. But if we take out all of those teeth and make you best set of dentures in the world, the hardest you can chew is about 25% of what you could when you had natural teeth. That's because you're biting with plastic dentures, squishing on gums that are squishing on bone. Everything there is kind of soft and squishy and has some give to it, and nothing is really attached to your jaw like your teeth used to be. So you can't apply that much force, which makes it pretty unpleasant or hard to deal with.
You know, on the roof of your mouth is a nice big hard plate of bone which allows for good suction with an upper denture. We can do those predictably and make them look good and feel pretty comfortable, that's great. But the lower dentures are an entirely different story. We have a lot of muscle attachments down here, the tongue is always moving around trying to knock it out of place. There is no big flat plate of bone like there is in the roof of your mouth to get that good suction. And a lower denture can be a real struggle. And even if you're an excellent dentist, and you have a patient that has an excellent jaw to work with, if you will, it still can very, very challenging, it can be very frustrating for the patient and for the dentist.
Now most patients don't have a great jaw to work with on their lower jaw, because as you lose teeth, the bone that used to hold those teeth goes away. It shrinks down, and now, we're working with and much closer to a flat surface in there which makes it extra hard.
So how do we fix this? How do we improve it? The way that we like to improve it is what's called an overdenture. An overdenture is a denture that attaches to dental implants in one form or another. One of our preferred methods is what's called a locator overdenture. That part is not important really, but know that it's a snap-in denture. So what we do is we place a couple of implants at a minimum, at least two, and ideally, more than that.
But the reason I brought up the 100% of chewing with all of your teeth, the 25% of chewing with a brand new set of dentures is because when you add in two implants right here where your lower canines used to be, you immediately jump to about 60% of chewing ability. That's huge when it comes to life experience and the quality of life when you're trying to chew, when you're worried about your denture moving while you're speaking to someone. With every additional implant, that percentage goes up and up and up to where we can get you back to darn near 100% chewing depending on how many implants we put in.
So what it is, is we retrofit the denture, meaning if you have an existing denture that you like, a lot of times we can use that and just upgrade it. Sometimes we'll make a new one from scratch, but we put dental implants in your jaw and we attach a locator, as I mentioned, or a snap. It looks like a little brass snap that's sticking up through the gums. And inside the denture, there's the corresponding snaps. You put it in and it clicks into place. And once that happens, it's very firm. And when you bite down, now instead of acrylic squishing on gums squishing bone, it's acrylic that's attached to an implant that's in your bone. And so that means forces are being transmitted into your jaw as you're chewing. You get a lot more perception of how you're chewing, you can bite much, much harder.
And what's great about it is on top of all these things I've already mentioned, that force that's being transmitted down into your jaw actually stimulates the bone to maintain. As I mentioned, when you take out teeth, you start losing that bone. That process will continue throughout your life. And so if you lose all your teeth pretty early in life, you're going to end up really struggling as it goes along, because you'll get down to just a tiny little bit of bone and that's a very difficult way to go through life.
So with these implants...