I mentioned in the previous two blogs that not all dentures are created equal. We discussed denture acrylics in the first blog. In part 2, I discussed the importance of the denture tooth materials. Today I will finish talking about the chewing surface of denture teeth. Posterior teeth have points that we chew with, on the inside and outside of the teeth. These points are called cusps. I will explain the different anatomical cusp options available and the benefits and disadvantages of each.
Denture tooth anatomy
Monoplane teeth: This form of tooth has a zero degree cusp angle. This means the tooth is flat. This type of tooth is beneficial for a patient who has poor bone support for a denture. In these patients the denture is more prone to movement. The flatter tooth reduces the dentures ability to trip or get stuck on the points of the teeth. Ultimately reducing some of the movement and the chances for denture sore spots.
Semi anatomical teeth: This form of tooth has a shallow cusp angle. The shallow cusp angle provides minimal interference while chewing, yet a defined center position for the teeth to contact. This also allows for better chewing efficiency than the monoplane teeth.
Fully anatomical teeth: These teeth have a fully anatomical or pointy cusp angle. They are ideal for matching dentures with opposing natural teeth. The larger cusp angles provide an efficient and sharp cutting surface for eating. This type of surface does not always work well with patients that have poor bone support.
Lingualized occlusion: This type of tooth surface allows for a reduced cusp angle on the outside of the upper posterior tooth. The inner cusp is left larger and falls into the center of the lower posterior teeth. The variation reduces tripping on denture teeth from the reduced outside cusp, while a more prominent inside cusp acts like a pesol and mortar with the lower teeth. This improves the stability of the dentures as well as improving the chewing efficiency.
In closing denture materials are chosen on an individual basis, to improve the fit, function, and esthetics of a patients denture. The materials chosen can be the difference in a patients comfort and satisfaction with their new dentures.