1601 River Drive
Suite 300, Moline, IL 61265
(309) 277-3480
Beautiful Smile Makeovers, Advanced General Dentistry
Request an Appointment

How Far Back Should Dentures Go?

Posted by writeradmin

I had to get lower dentures. They don’t cover my wisdom tooth area, which means I am pretty much just chewing on my gums. My dentist said this is normal, but it is very uncomfortable. Is there anything to do about it?


Dear Stan,


This is not normal and something your dentist could have prevented. The dentures should not only cover the wisdom tooth area, but go a little past it to what is called the retromolar pad. You don’t want the entire pad covered because that will interfere with any upper dentures you may have. That is the only limitation, however.

The solution, unfortunately, is to completely redo the denture. If you have already paid for it, then your dentist won’t have much incentive to replace it, unless he has a high sense of ethics. You could try showing your dentist this blog post and see if this helps. Before you do that, though, I want to make certain you understand the risks of completely removable dentures, especially lower dentures.

The Down Side of Dentures

Before and after facial collapse.
Before and after the side effects of facial collapse.

When your teeth are removed, your body recognizes that there are no longer any roots of your teeth in your jawbone that need to be supported. In an effort to be efficient with your body’s resources, it immediately begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere. While a great way to handle your body’s resources, it has the unfortunate side effect of shrinking your jawbone. After ten or so years, you will no longer have enough of your lower jawbone to retain your dentures. In dental circles, this is known as facial collapse.

The solution to this is to have dental implants placed and secure your dentures to them. Some people call this implant overdentures. The dental implants serve as prosthetic teeth roots. Because you have “roots,” your body will preserve the minerals there in order to support the teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.