Assessing The Patient - The First Step For Successful Denture Treatment
Achieving successful denture treatment outcomes requires considering many clinical variables, such as patient expectations, bone quality, and anatomy, soft tissue support, denture design, etc. Thoroughly assessing the patient in terms of these variables before starting treatment is a critical first step.
Ideally, patients should have reasonable expectations. If patients expect dentures to be as sensitive and comfortable as natural teeth, the dentist needs to help adjust these unrealistic expectations. Dentures will never be as regular as one's own teeth, but a well-designed and adjusted prosthesis can still provide satisfactory chewing function and aesthetics.
Next, assessing the quality of the remaining teeth and jaw bone is crucial. Severe bone loss will diminish the support and retention of dentures. The dentist needs to examine whether the bone quality can provide adequate mechanical support for the prosthesis. If bone volume is insufficient, bone grafting or implant placement may be required to improve the bony foundation.
Healthy oral soft tissue is also a prerequisite for success. Soft tissues provide support and retention for dentures, resisting chewing forces. If soft tissues are atrophic and unhealthy, the denture will damage their integrity, leading to pain and discomfort. Assessing soft tissue involves checking the thickness, texture, extent of soft tissues, etc.
After a thorough assessment, the dentist can design a personalized denture treatment plan, considering the patient's anatomy, chewing habit, aesthetic needs, etc. The plan should include necessary surgical procedures, denture design parameters, number of visits, and other details.
Patient assessment requires the dentist's extensive clinical experience, and time for necessary discussion, examination, trial placement, etc. This is the first step to satisfactory dentures and the most critical one. Understanding the patient's expectations and oral condition will facilitate smooth subsequent treatment.