Relevance of Tongue Force on Mandibular Denture Stabilization during Mastication.

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Tongue activity, involving stereognosis of denture position, food bolus distribution, and direct denture pressing, can affect the stability of removable mandibular dentures. Knowledge of details of tongue activity in patients with removable dentures could contribute to the development of training methods to improve bilateral mastication. The hypothesis of this study was that tongue force improves mandibular complete denture stabilization on the atrophied foundation during mastication load transfer with a typical balanced occlusion.


Finite element analysis was used to assess the effect of tongue activity on denture stability, which was evaluated with objective biomechanical criteria. Denture movement (displacement), sliding distance on the mucosal surface, and pressure on the foundation during occlusal load transfer were considered with and without additional tongue forces.


Tongue force in the canine zone of the balancing flange contributed to a slight reduction in the sliding distance. An adverse effect of tongue force on the working side and in the posterior zone of the balancing side was found.


Despite the lack of substantial improvement in stability with the addition of tongue forces, tongue action that contributes to a slight reduction in sliding may help reduce common frictional trauma resulting from cyclic movement during chewing. The beneficial impact of tongue force shown in earlier work under conditions of complete adherence of dentures to the foundation indicates a benefit of using adhesives.

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