Overcoming the great denture disappointment

Editor’s intro: Dr. Nadim Baba shares some insights into the Zest LOCATOR system. From his clinical standpoint, this system offers many advantages especially over traditional dentures.

Finding an ideal endpoint means starting with an ideal LOCATOR®

Clinical case and photographs courtesy Anthony Prudenti, DDS

Today there are 75 million baby boomers. By the year 2030, the number of baby boomers 65 and older will have doubled, with 10,000 new boomers crossing daily into retirement age. This is important because as the retirement age population grows, so will the demand for dentures. However, studies suggest there is low patient satisfaction with denture therapy. One of the reasons for the gaps in patient satisfaction is the poor perception most people have of conventional dentures. Unfortunately, this reputation has been earned. Almost every patient fitted with conventional dentures will eventually experience some combination of facial collapse, food entrapment, soreness, ulcers, and angular cheilitis. Equally troubling is the inability of dentures to perform the primary function for which teeth exist — the chewing of food.

Another shortcoming of dentures is their inability to deliver a satisfactory emotional experience. As the physical shortcomings reveal themselves, patients may become self-conscious and fearful of experiencing a retention failure at an inopportune time. Many also report a feeling of “fullness” in their mouth and unpredictable vocalization when wearing their dentures.

Just as implantology has offered a superior alternative to traditional crown-and-bridge procedures, so too has it improved the performance of denture treatment. The inclusion of implants in denture therapy to treat edentulous patients has changed the denture landscape. Implant-retained overdentures provide stability and a predictable level of retention that exponentially improves the quality of life of millions of patients.

Over the years, overdentures were secured with several different attachment concepts. While providing more retention, the performance was still not optimal, leaving doctors and patients wanting more. Most solutions also require precise placement of implants to align with the attachment system. This is not always possible based on competing factors in the patient’s anatomy. These competing requirements made the placement of implants for use with over-dentures complex, highly technique-sensitive, and costly for patients.

However, that changed with the introduction of the Zest LOCATOR®.

The LOCATOR is a super-gingival attachment system that allows the doctor or patient to easily seat his/her overdenture without the need for complete accurate alignment of the dental implants. In other words, it allows the dentist or patient to easily seat the overdentures on the implants. This offers patients many of the performance and stability benefits of permanent options with the hygienic convenience of a removable — all at a more affordable price point.

“The LOCATOR systems let us overcome so many of the shortcomings in conventional dentures,” says Dr. Nadim Z. Baba, DMD, MSD, FACP, a practicing prosthodontist, teacher, and President of the American College of Prosthodontists. He began using the LOCATOR system in 1997.

“The genius of the system is in the flexibility it provides. The system is self-aligning. Other systems need to be 100% aligned for the abutment to be seated. If the person seating the appliance isn’t perfect with the abutments, the denture is not going to fit. With the Zest LOCATOR, even if the person is a little bit off, they’ve been designed in a way that they will find and guide the denture to the right location. This means the patients can seat the dentures on their own, which is especially relevant for those who are elderly and may have lost some dexterity.”

From a clinical standpoint, the self-aligning feature also means that the implants do not need to be perfectly aligned when they are placed. In fact, the new LOCATOR R-Tx systems will allow for 60 degrees of divergence between the implants. This can be especially helpful for patients where bone volume may be reduced, or there is an unfavorable anatomical landscape.

Dr. Baba points out that the LOCATOR brand name has become a little too successful for its own good. The word LOCATOR has become shorthand for “overdenture abutment attachment” in the profession, even though Zest makes the only actual LOCATOR. He says it’s a distinction worth noting.

“LOCATOR has been on the market for so long because it’s been proven successful. Other companies have tried to create their own version of a LOCATOR. The scientist in me forces me to try out these new systems when they are introduced. But there’s been nothing that compares to Zest LOCATOR when it comes to quality and clinical outcomes. I ask myself, “Why would I consider switching if what I’m using is working?”

Baba continues, “The other thing that sets LOCATOR apart is the service. The Zest team is there for you. They satisfy their customers no matter what. They have an excellent product, and they’re confident about it. Honesty, integrity, quality — these are all traits that Zest displays.

On a personal level, being able to change people’s lives in this way is so rewarding. It’s changed so many lives for the better. It changes the way people eat and the way they live and function in public.”

From a financial standpoint, the use of a Zest LOCATOR with an overdenture can offer practices a recurring source of patient recall, with patients needing to be seen for installation, continuing hygiene, and maintenance of the attachment system.

With the baby boomers moving into their golden years, the demand for dentures is on the rise. The uncomfortable truth is that conventional dentures often disappoint patients. However, implant-retained overdentures and implant-retained removable partial dentures using the Zest LOCATOR can offer a rewarding outcome for the patient and practitioner alike. Because arriving at the ideal clinical endpoint means starting with the ideal physical LOCATOR.

This information was provided by Zest Dental Solutions®.

For more information regarding Zest Locator systems, check out this article.

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