Customizing Esthetic Complete Dentures
Introduction and Background
Esthetic is a predominant factor for complete denture success (Carlsson et al, 1967). It is the most frequent complaints among complete denture patients (Jeganathan, 1993). Comfortable but unaesthetic dentures seem to be unaccepted by patients (Brewer, 1967). Compensating alveolar bone loss, correctly supporting lips and reestablishing the correct vertical dimension of occlusion are basic steps for achieving patient normal appearance. However, this is not sufficient to achieve individual denture esthetics. Denture esthetics has been defined as the cosmetic effect produced by a dental prosthesis that affects the desirable beauty, attractiveness, character and dignity of the individual (Glossary of Prosthodontic terms) which means proper form and shade of denture teeth and also individual set up of the teeth in order to achieve individual esthetic. Classically, three esthetic concepts have been differentiated to achieve denture esthetics (Waliszewski et al 2006)
1- The denture look: an esthetic concept developed mainly as a result of a functionally oriented tooth positioning as well as from common errors in fabrication and appearance for complete denture wearers (Fig. 1-2).
2- The supernormal teeth: Shor and colleagues in 2005 defined the supernormal concept as “attractive, idealized, and above-average dental esthetics. A customed made look to please the body image of the patient (Fig. 3-4).
3- The natural look : described by Frush and Fischer as a natural appearance related to anatomic determinants of gender, age and personality. It seeks to restore the most natural patient smile and its appearance (Fig. 5).
There is limited evidence-based information available when achieving dentate appearance in edentulous patients. However the natural concept of Frush and Fisher (Frush and Fisher, 1955) is still useful, and this will ensure a better psychological integration of the artistic prosthesis (Waliszewski M 2005).
The aim of this paper is to develop the natural look theory and give a series of clinical examples.
In order to look natural, denture teeth should be as close as possible and look as close as possible to natural teeth. However there might be some discrepancies between the clinical situation of the edentulous mouth and the look of the natural teeth before extractions occurred. It is therefore very important to find a reasonable compromise between the reality of the edentulous mouth and the position of the natural teeth as they should have been. The natural look theory is the way to achieve this goal. The mixture of personality look, gender and age in combination with the clinical situation will determine the final look and position of teeth. To emphazise the personality, age and gender some specific characterization might be also needed to attain this result. Clinical examples will try to explain how this theory can be used (Fig.6-24).
Some patients ask for a perfect denture look or for a supernatural teeth form, shade and arrangement; the majority prefer a natural look and smile. This implies an effort from the dentist and his technician to achieve this goal. The end result being an individualized esthetic denture.
Achieving a natural look in complete dentures needs skills, scientific back up information regarding the set up of teeth but most of all the collaboration between the dentist and his patient to find a reasonable compromise between what is expected and what can be done.
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by Dr. Nazem Assaad, Dr. Najib Abou Hamra, Dr. Maha Ghotmi