Comminutization is from the Latin for “to turn to powder,” and it’s a measure that is sometimes used in measuring chewing efficiency. It basically describes how well you’re able to reduce your food down to small particles.
This is often tested by taking samples at various times during the chewing process or at a single point after a set amount of chewing has taken place. Then the size of particles in the food is measured. A good food candidate is peanuts, which start out as a large piece and then break up into smaller particles that largely resist getting dissolved by saliva, so they’re easier to measure.
In general, comminutization studies with traditional dentures show that they are not as good as natural teeth or implant-supported dentures at breaking down food particles. We haven’t yet done any comminutization studies with FOY® Dentures, so we don’t know how they compare.
Electromyography is a technique for measuring chewing where the activity levels of the muscles of mastication are measured. This basically tells us how hard your muscles are working, and it can give us a lot of information about how much force you can bring to bear on your foods.
EMG is a standard technique in neuromuscular dentistry, and can be used in making FOY® Dentures, to help determine the proper height of your bite by showing us where your muscles are optimally balanced.
EMG studies also show a decrease in chewing efficiency for dentures. We haven’t yet done EMG chewing studies with FOY® Dentures, so we don’t know how they compare. However, we do regularly use T-Scan™ digital bite registration to make sure we’ve balanced the biting forces in FOY® Dentures patients. This not only helps ensure you have an efficient, effective bite, it improves your comfort when chewing, which is one of the most important aspects in terms of your satisfaction with your dentures.
Patient satisfaction is the easiest way to measure chewing efficiency. You ask people how they feel about their chewing, and they tell you. The things that matter most to people about their chewing are how comfortable chewing is and how effectively it allows them to eat certain foods. In general, satisfaction rates don’t correlate well with comminutization and EMG studies. People are satisfied for different reasons than how small the particles are and what is the muscle activity.
We haven’t done formal studies in this, either, but we’ve talked to a lot of our patients about their chewing, and the verdict is positive. Compared to their old dentures, FOY® Dentures give them the ability to eat many different kinds of food, and they are very happy for that.