There are many types of dentures. It doesn’t help that these types of dentures can be graded differently in terms of quality. Furthermore, aside from the quality, these types of dentures can be distinguished on another level based on the different techniques and methods used. For example, there are conventional standard complete dentures, conventional precision complete dentures, suction dentures, and fully customized suction dentures. These dentures, along with partial, immediate and implant dentures do not specifically target to stabilize and heal your jaw joints, also known as the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). There is a common misconception that TMJ is related to TMD, temporomandibular disorders. TMD is the name given to most problems related to the jaw. Problems can include jaw movement, pain, clicking, and migraines. This is where the beauty of therapeutic dentures come in for edentulous people (people without teeth) on either one or both jaws.
What are Therapeutic Dentures?
Therapeutic dentures are transitional or temporary dentures that help reposition and stabilize the lower jaw. This is done by helping the lower jaw find its most neutral and relaxed position. When the position is found, the presence of inflammation around the TMJ are significantly decreased. In other words, therapeutic dentures help rehabilitate the lower jaw to its’ natural position allowing the lower jaw muscles to relax and relieve injury circulating around the jaw joints. This can be thought as the same with rehabilitating the knee joint with a knee brace. The result of wearing therapeutic dentures help increase bite force, equalize lower jaw muscles and ultimately help the permanent dentures stay in the mouth better.
Why are Therapeutic Dentures Considered Transitional or Temporary?
Therapeutic dentures are only worn for three months. Wearing these dentures any longer will reverse the benefits of wearing therapeutic dentures and potentially cause even more harm.
After wearing the therapeutic dentures for three months, the white block will exhibit facets and patterns which are solely specific to how your jaw functions and moves. The biggest difference between therapeutic dentures and complete dentures are the back teeth. The back teeth on the lower denture are replaced by a soft white block material. The softness of the material allows the lower jaw to move freely in relation to the upper jaw. Considering the two jaws, the upper jaw is fixed and doe snot move. Giving the lower jaw to move allows it to find its most comfortable position. Most people who wear the same dentures for more than 20 years will notice that the therapeutic denture relaxes and pulls their jaw back. These same people are happy to have their facial structure return as they often go from a postured underbite to a normal bite or sometimes even their natural overbite.
Who Should Wear Therapeutic Dentures?
Currently, therapeutic dentures work the best for patients with no natural teeth remaining as it is otherwise not advised. The likelihood of needing therapeutic dentures is dependent on the functionality of or the presence of damage around your TMJ. Here are some common examples of when therapeutic dentures are strongly advised for complete denture wearers:
- Worn the same dentures for more than 15 years with no professional check-up, care and maintenance
- Wearing dentures that did not capture the correct location or bite of your lower jaw in relation to the skull
- History of an accident or trauma to the lower jaw and/or the TMJs
- Weakened lower jaw muscles
- Having temporal mandibular disorder (TMD)
The best method to this date of determining how well the functionality of the lower jaw is, is through “pin-tracing”. Pin-tracing requires professional guidance and analysis. If you feel any of the above indications are present in your current situation it is highly advised to book an appointment to help maintain, preserve and heal your TMJ.
When Do You Get Therapeutic Dentures?
A thorough consultation and examination can help determine if therapeutic dentures are required. Usually, therapeutic dentures are given prior to the permanent complete dentures are made. You want to give your TMJ a chance to naturally reposition, realign, and heal itself. With decreased inflammation and relaxed muscles, the jaw can function more optimally and thus regaining its lost bite force. Therapeutic dentures in essence help improve the prognosis of the final dentures to be given afterwards. With a more stable jaw, a more stable denture is ensured.
As therapeutic dentures are a form of transitional or interim dentures, the look can be adjusted more to your liking when making the final dentures. If you are a candidate for therapeutic dentures, the sooner you get treatment the better it is in minimizing potential physical harm to the jaw muscles, joints and improving the functionality of your bite.
Where Do I Get Therapeutic Dentures?
Most dental offices or denture clinics should be able to provide this service. If the clinician who is providing you with therapeutic dentures is a licensed SEMCD Suction Denture clinician, you can be sure they have gone through a thorough overview of therapeutic dentures by a prosthodontist in Japan, Dr. Jiro Abe. This prosthodontist is a denture world changer and his techniques and concept have already changed the teachings of many schools internationally. If you feel this article is very relatable then it is recommended you start looking for help right away.