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A Smile Transformed – Poor Fitting Dentures to a Winning Solution!

Gracious Smiles NW is a non-profit designed to help provide dental prosthetics to residents of Washington County. Inspired by the American Dental Association and donated dental organizations, we decided to help fill the need one patient at a time. We love to help provide beautiful, fully functioning new dentures to those that would otherwise go without. Please enjoy reading this story of one of our favorite ladies, Jutta!

Jutta is 90 years young and full of life, stories and enthusiasm. The problem was that her smile was not a reflection of her true self. After years of struggling with gum disease, periodontal disease and tooth loss, her dentist recommended false teeth. As a new denture wearer, she suffered from bone loss, health issues, denture sores and even weight loss, as she could not chew her food properly. For a long time Jutta experienced difficulty chewing, gum irritation from an irregular fit and uneven pressure from loose dentures. Additionally, she was embarrassed about her smile and felt that her facial features did not look like they should. Jutta would frequently complain, “These teeth don’t look like they belong with my face, and I’m unhappy about my poor dental health.”

Good news for Jutta, our mission was to make her a new set of complete dentures so that she can eat the foods she loves, look like herself again and improve her overall health. Due to the poor fit of her dentures, Jutta’s quality of life had suffered greatly! Because her ill–fitting dentures embarrassed her, she stopped socializing with her friends and ate her meals in isolation. Jutta made a good candidate for a Gracious Smiles transformation! Here is how changed her situation…

This is a photo of Jutta’s smile before we made her a new set of dentures. These dentures are  about 8 years old. As her original dentist moved, she started treatment with a new dentist, only to be interrupted by the pandemic! In her attempt to rectify the denture problems wreaking havoc on her life, Jutta was out of options as she only has Medicaid. Having no means to compensate the dentist for replacement teeth, he was restricted to merely making adjustments to her dentures for comfort. Although this is a nice gesture by the dentist, it is by no means a sustainable solution for Jutta’s physical and mental health.

Jutta complains of having a sucken-in look, as if she has “aged poorly.” The size and shape of the denture teeth do not resemble her natural look. We will work from some photographs of Jutta when she had her original teeth as a reference to restore her smile. Her natural smile showed a lot of her teeth so we will want to arrange the upper teeth in this manner. Additionally, we will add vertical dimension to her lower face by increasing the vertical length of both the dentures, as well as bring her anterior teeth out to fill her lips more. Building up the dimensions will add structure to her face, easily taking 10 years off of her appearance, taking away that dreaded sunken-in look.

On examining the lower denture, we learned a story! As you can see from the photograph, the posterior teeth have been intentionally ground flat! We also discovered that the lower denture was originally a cast metal partial as we noticed the metal structure underneath the denture acrylic. As Jutta’s last remaining teeth had to be extracted and she prepared to receive a full set of dentures, the dentist added denture teeth to the existing partial as a temporary fix. This is a common practice and quite fine to do assuming that a new full set of dentures is on it’s way. The problem is that the new set never came as Covid-19 interrupted the world. Because Jutta was unable to pay the new dentist for a new set of dentures, the only thing the dentist could do was to try to make her feel more comfortable, which explains the excessive grinding on the lower denture as he diminished the teeth’s anatomy so that she could bite down without pain. The nice dentist even added a soft, temporary liner on the lower to try to make it more snug, however this is just a temporary fix as well. 

So here we are, with an unorthodox lower denture than has no grinding surfaces and is super loose! No wonder poor Jutta could not eat a thing! Ok so we will fix these problems by taking an accurate bite registration so that we know where her upper and lower jaws fit together. Then we will be able to set teeth in fully-balanced occlusion so she can bite and chew food like she used to. We will also aim to get good suction for the lower denture by carefully taking a multi-step impression of her jaws to build the new dentures upon. Now her dentures will stay in place so that she can laugh, smile and eat again with her friends and family!

And here we have it! Just look at that beautiful smile! In Jutta’s words, “these are the teeth of my youth!” She can now smile with ease and express her authentic joy to the world. Adding more structure to the denture case has restored her face, making it fuller and even bringing a sparkle to her eyes!

Jutta’s lower denture actually stays in place now. She can rejoin her friends at her dining hall and behave in the social manner that she is accustomed to: free from the fear that her dentures will cause an embarrassing moment. Better yet, she can enjoy new health as her dentures can now bite and chew food properly. Jutta is no longer restricted to soft foods and liquids. 

One of her favorite weekly activities is to join her daughter on an outing to Dutch Bros! She’s over the moon to do this again. She has her life back and enjoying her 4 kids, 10 grandkids and 12 great-grandchildren!  Good for you Jutta!

Smile more with the Cain Denture Center located in downtown Hillsboro.  If you would like to speak to one of our friendly providers, call today for a free consultation!  We are here to brighten your day! (503) 640-2312

Written by Maddy Cain L.D.

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