Looking at dentures in a whole new light: Creating confidence in patients leads to practice benefits

Dennis Wang, DDS, says too often, we allow our denture patients to sink into a self-conscious condition that makes them feel as if they’re living with a less-than-adequate smile. We need to change that—and it starts with our own attitudes within the private practice. For generations, dentures have been an economic and reliable form of tooth replacement, and these successful prosthetics are still a must-have when treatments such as dental implants are not an option. Dr. Wang explains how denture wearers can still remain active patients and how our relationship with this group of patients can actually be beneficial to the growth of the dental practice.

Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 05 Man Kissing Denturest

This article first appeared in the newsletter, DE's Breakthrough Clinical with Stacey Simmons, DDS. Subscribe here.

Too often, we allow our denture patients to sink into a self-conscious condition that makes them feel as if they’re living with a less-than-adequate smile. We need to change that—and it starts with our own attitudes within the private practice.

Why we need to change our attitudes toward dentures
For generations, dentures have been an economic and reliable form of tooth replacement. These successful prosthetics are a must-have when treatments such as dental implants are not an option.

So why do we look down on dentures so much? Is it because dentures mean the end to a doctor-patient relationship? Is the production not beneficial enough? Sure, dentures mean those patients won’t require additional reconstructive care, but we need to look at these situations differently. Denture patients can still remain active within our practices and if their dentures give them confidence, then they will refer more people to us.

MORE READING | Claspless, removable partial dentures using implant-supported Locator attachment

Don’t compromise quality over cost
Dentures don’t have to be “cheap.” Yes, your patient may choose them because they are less expensive than implants, but that does not mean dentures deserve the most economical option. Give your patients choices.

One of the ways you can do this is by using a lab with a quality assurance system in place that enhances the quality of prosthetics it provides. (1) When occlusion, fit, and esthetics are optimal, dentures make an excellent and effective care method for full-mouth rehabilitation.

A stable, secure denture is likely to increase your patients’ satisfaction with their prosthesis. (2) When esthetics is a priority, our patients’ perceptions of their appearance are changed. (3) We understand how important it is to create beautiful veneers, porcelain crowns, and gingival contours. Likewise, our denture patients deserve just as much attention.

MORE READING |A unique method of debriding a full-arch, maxillary prosthesis supported by dental implants

Our patients rely on their dentures to be esthetically pleasing, just as much as they rely on them for function and fit. (4) Don’t always opt for the economy model; give your patients options to choose from, as well as real-life examples to inspect before making the investment.

Make long-term patients out of denture wearers
If you’ve just placed your patient into dentures, don’t just forget about that person. Delivering dentures doesn’t mean your patient should be excused from your practice. Now, more than ever, your patient needs routine maintenance and follow-up care.

Studies show that we already need to work toward changing our patients’ perceptions regarding maintenance of their dentures. (5) The same should be done for our very own staff in our offices. If we don’t value the need for patients to return for follow-up care, neither will they.

Follow up with your patients after denture delivery, and schedule maintenance visits before they step out of the operatory. Your patients should understand that these visits will give you with the opportunity to provide:

  • Cleaning of the prosthesis
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Evaluation of tissue health as impacted by denture wear
  • Occlusion evaluation
  • Adjustments
  • Home hygiene instruction
  • Screening for repair or relining of the prosthesis

Conclusion
Don’t let dentures mean goodbye forever. Think of them as the next phase of full-mouth rehabilitation and esthetics for your valued patients. Encourage regular recare every six months. When your patients are proud of the care they have received, they will see that follow-up appointments preserve their investment. It will also make your established patients more likely to refer new patients to your office.

This article first appeared in the newsletter, DE's Breakthrough Clinical with Stacey Simmons, DDS. Subscribe here.

MORE READING |Endodontic insight: Dental implant overdenture alternatives

Dennis Wang, DDS, is from Auvisa.org, a professional Australian visa agency founded in 2011 by migration lawyers. Dr. Wang worked as a dentist for the last 10 years since 2003. He received his DDS from Creighton University. He minored in international criminal law in his studies and joined Auvisa.org in 2012 as a migration strategist, specializing in refugee visa

References
1. Griffin A. Credibility and confidence in your dental laboratory work—how quality assurance systems can be used in the manufacturing of individual custom-made dental devices. Prim Dent J. 2015;4(3):22–4.
2. Cerutti-Kopplin D, Emami E, Hilgert J, Hugo F, Rivaldo E, Padilha D. Predictors of satisfaction with dentures in a cohort of individuals wearing old dentures: functional quality or patient-reported measures? J Prosthodont. 2015 Oct 23. doi: 10.1111/jopr.12383.
3. Pithon M, Alves L, da Costa Prado M, Oliveira R, Costa M, da Silva Coqueiro R, et al. Perception of esthetic impact of smile line in complete denture wearers by different age groups. J Prosthodont. 2015 Sep 15. doi: 10.1111/jopr.12355.
4. Zou Y, Zhan D. Patients’ expectation and satisfaction with complete denture before and after the therapy. Vojnosanit Pregl. 2015;72(6):495–8.
5. Chhabra A, Chhabra N, Jain A, Kabi D.Elderly patient's knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding care and maintenance of the removable prosthesis: a qualitative study. Minerva Stomatol. 2015;64(6):265–73.


For the most current dental headlines, click here.


More in Clinical