Better Chewing Ability Might Reduce Dementia Risk

Now it seems that Swedish researchers have a found a new factor that influences the risk of suffering from dementia: Chewing ability.

smiling-senior-coupleDementia – the deterioration of our cognitive functions and gradual loss of abilities such as memory, decision-making and problem solving – is a condition that doctors and scientists have long been searching for a way to cure or prevent. Now it seems that Swedish researchers have a found a new factor that influences the risk of suffering from dementia: Chewing ability.

A team researchers at Karolinska Institutet and from Karlstad University in Sweden looked at tooth loss, chewing ability and cognitive function in a group of 557 people aged 77 or older. Comparing all the data, they found that among those who had difficulty chewing hard food such as apples there was a much higher risk of developing dementia. The connection between chewing ability and dementia risk was not related to variables such as sex, age, education and mental health problems which have also been reported to influence the dementia risk. Whether the chewing ability was maintained with dentures or with natural did not effect the dementia risk either. As long as the person was able to chew well, the dementia risk was lower.

There is still no clear answer as to why chewing ability has an impact on the dementia risk. One theory is that a lower chewing ability means less blood flow to the brain. The question of the exact connection must be further researched.

Our chewing ability is linked to the number and quality of our teeth. A loss of chewing ability could be the cause of numerous cavities or periodontitis, which can all be prevented through adequate dental hygiene.

Source:
Duangjai Lexomboon, Mats Trulsson, Inger Wårdh & Marti G. Parker: Chewing Ability and Tooth Loss: Association with Cognitive Impairment in an Elderly Population Study
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 4 October 2012
Karolinska Institutet

Nanocrystals could be used to make natural looking dentures

Scientists have managed to produce a new kind of glass ceramic with a nanocrystalline structure, which seems to be well suited for use in dentures and bridges

denture-and-dental-formDentures need to be able to stand the same pressure as natural teeth. At the same time they must be made of a material that makes them look natural. Many dentures might feel right but don’t look natural or the other way around. Now, however, a group of scientists have managed to produce a new kind of glass ceramic with a nanocrystalline structure, which seems to be well suited for use in dentures and bridges due to their high strength and natural shine.

The new glass-ceramics are made on the basis of magnesium-, aluminium-, and silicon oxide and are distinguished by their enormous strength. “We achieve a strength five times higher than with comparable denture ceramics available today”, Prof. Rüssel explains. So far the high density ceramics,have only been used in other fields such as in computer hard drives.

Materials used in dentures are not supposed to look different from natural teeth. It is also important that the colour shade is right, and since the enamel of natural teeth is partly translucent, so should the enamel of the dentures be.

The making of nanocrystals

To achieve this goal, the basic materials of the glass-ceramics are first melted at about 1.500 °C, then cooled down and finely cut up. They are then melted again and cooled down again. Finally, nanocrystals are generated at a controlled heating to 1,000 °C. This way the crystallisation which is so important for the strength of denture material is secured. For the crystals to look naturally translucent, the size of them should not be more than 100 nanometers. This way, they are too small to strongly disperse light and will not look opaque like some other denture materials. The enamel will look translucent and dentures made from this material will be strong and at the same time look natural.

The science of making these nanocrystals will need to be further developed before they can be used in dentures, but researchers feel sure that their technology might be the future of natural looking dentures.

References:
Dittmer M, Rüssel C.: Colorless and high strength MgO/Al2O3/SiO2 glass-ceramic dental material using zirconia as nucleating agent. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2011 Nov 21. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.31972

Natural looking dentures – is it possible?

Have you ever met someone who you immediately knew was wearing dentures? It doesn’t have to be like that. These days dentures can be made to look so natural that only the trained eye can tell that they’re not your natural teeth. How?

natural looking denturesHave you ever met someone who you immediately knew was wearing dentures? Maybe the teeth were too big, too perfect, too straight or too white? Or maybe the dentures just didn’t fit and kept dropping down or sliding around when the person was talking or eating? An experience like this is often enough to discourage anyone from choosing dentures as the replacement for lost teeth. But it doesn’t have to be like that. These days dentures can be made to look so natural that only the trained eye can tell that they’re not your natural teeth. How?

Do you really want natural looking dentures?

First of all, you need to decide whether you really want natural looking dentures. If you don’t want anyone to notice that you exchanged your natural teeth for dentures, you will need to have your dentures made to look exactly like the original teeth with all their imperfections, such as miscolorations, cracks and visible fillings. Others decide that changing to dentures is their chance to get the teeth they always wanted. Although they might be happy with their perfect, white new teeth, this change will probably not go unnoticed by their friends and relatives. Others might find it unusual too, to see such a young looking set of teeth on a not so young looking person. Still others decide to go with with a set of dentures that is just slightly better looking than the original teeth. They reason that most people are not in the habit of studying other peoples’ teeth so closely that they would notice small changes like that. Which is probably true.

How to get natural looking dentures

If you decide to go for the natural look, make sure that your dentist takes note of exactly how your original teeth look. If many teeth are already missing, bring a photo of yourself where you are smiling and thus showing off your natural teeth. This will also help the dentist see, not only what the dentures are supposed to look like, but also how the impression should be of your whole face when you are finally wearing the dentures. Dentures when worn should not be too tall or protruding, making it difficult to close your lips around them and they should not be so low that they never show when you smile. If you find that you suddenly have wrinkles around your mouth, especially at the corners is a sign that your dentures are too small or too low. If you’ve had dentures for a long time and start to experience these problems it is also a sign that your need to have your dentures refitted or maybe even changed.

The above is just a simplified introduction to achieving natural looking dentures. Your dentist will be able to give you much more advice and guidance. Hopefully, at least this article has convinced you that a change to dentures does not need to become the talk of the town. Your dentures can be made to look so natural, that only you and your dentist will ever need to know about it.

Normal dentures or snap-in’s?

Making dentures ‘stay put’ is a difficult task for any dentist. If you are experiencing problems with loose dentures, snap-in’s might be the solution. Read more here…

Normal dentures or snap-insWhy lower dentures don’t stay put

One of the great challenges when making a denture is to make it ‘stay put’. Especially a full denture in the lower jaw often has problems with retention. There are several reasons for this:

1) A denture has the best retention, if it fits around the jaw bone. The bone in the lower jaw is often too flat for this and the denture might slide around or tip on top of the gum.

2) The upper full denture has the advantage of a sort of ‘suction’ between the denture and the palate, because the denture covers the whole palate. In contrast, the denture in the lower jaw can only be U-shaped because of the tongue. As a result, the contact area between the denture and the gum is relatively small and there can be no suction between the denture and the gum.

Many people have no problems with their full lower denture, but for others the inadequate retention of the denture causes problems when speaking and chewing food. For these a ‘snap-in’ denture might be a good solution.

Snap-in dentures

The ideal conditions for a snap-in denture is, if the roots of a couple of your natural teeth (preferably the canine teeth) are still left in the jaw to attach the denture onto. But even if you have none of your natural teeth left, it is still possible for you to have a snap-in denture made by implanting titanium roots into the jaw.

Snap-in dentures and implants

The procedure of making an implant is not as complicated as it sounds. First, a little hole is drilled in the bone and a titanium screw is placed in the hole. After a few months the bone has healed so well around the screw that it is completely attached to the bone and it is stable enough to support a denture.

The snap-in concept

Whether you have natural roots of implant roots, the snap-in system works the same way: A little ball-shaped attachment is added on top of the root. On the denture is attached a little lock that fits perfectly together with the attachment on the root. When the denture is placed over the root, the attachments snap in place and the denture will stay put.

How many ‘snaps’?

Normally a minium of two original roots or implant roots are required to achieve a good result with a lower denture. For the upper denture more than two roots are needed for retention.