When considering getting upper dentures, the typical image that pops into your head is of dentures with a pink acrylic palate which covers your natural gums. While this is a perfectly acceptable denture, this can be an issue for some. It is not a natural sensation for the palate to be covered and that’s why some people find it difficult to tolerate. With perseverance, most people manage to tolerate it but, a small percentage of people find this impossible. In a few scenarios, it may be possible to avoid covering the whole palate but, mostly we do not have a choice. The good news is, there are some alternative options that might be suitable for you. We take a look in further detail.
Firstly, its important to explain that dentists normally cover the palate when making dentures because it provides support and retention.
Support is something that stops your denture moving around when you use it to bite something. If you have good support the denture will stay in place. If you have poor support, the denture will sink into the gums and move. This can cause loose dentures, pain and damage to the gums.
Retention is something that stops your dentures from falling out. So, a denture with good retention will stay in when eating whereas a denture with poor retention will fall out, sometimes when someone is merely talking.
For full upper dentures, mostly we do not have a choice and we need to rely on covering the full palate to provide enough support and retention. If your bone is very good, on the sides of the mouth, then sometimes we can avoid covering the palate. Another alternative is to leave the palate uncovered and use fixative to help provide support, but again this will only work in certain situations. Both of these options are rarely undertaken as it only works in a small percentage of patients.
Alternatives to covering the palate
One solution is cobalt-chrome dentures. If you have remaining teeth left, they can be used to help support and retain a horse-shoe shaped denture which leaves the palate uncovered.
Another option, which is usually the best if you have no upper teeth, would be to consider implant retained dentures or a fixed full arch implant bridge.
What are implant-retained dentures?
Implant-retained dentures are a form of denture that clip onto dental implants, rather than leaning onto your gums as traditional dentures do. They are securely attached to your gums, allowing you to have strong and stable teeth. However, these dentures must be removed when cleaning. Implant-retained dentures may take a while to set however, they are one of the most affordable full mouth options.
Typically, implant-retained dentures possess a horseshoe shape in order to appear less bulky. Support and retention are gained from the implants rather than from covering the palate and it is a much superior option compared to a normal denture.
The reason behind this is that dental implants clip into the jawbone, and ensures the dentures remain stable. Due to the horseshoe shape of this type of denture, the need of an acrylic palette to cap the gums is eliminated.
One of the key benefits of this type of denture is it allows you to keep your natural gums and all associated sensations. Alongside the natural and steady look, a further advantage of implant-retained dentures is that they can be removed easily for cleaning and while sleeping. They are ideal for the process of teeth loss that occurs as jawbones get weaker. This is because the dental implants ensure the dentures feel comfortable while also safeguarding your jawbones from additional loss of bone density. Still uncertain on what is right for you? Not a problem. Our team is always here to answer all your questions.