Depending on your cultural context, the words “neutral zone” may evoke an image of Romulans or players squaring off across the line of scrimmage. But when it comes to your dentures, “neutral zone” has an entirely different meaning–one that can make a big difference in how your dentures fit.
When it comes to dentures, the neutral zone means the place where the forces from your lips, tongue, and cheeks are all balanced.
How Your Muscles Interact with Your Teeth
Many of us are aware of the interaction between muscles and teeth when something goes wrong–we bite our cheek or tongue–but in actuality our muscles and teeth are constantly working together harmoniously. This is something we want to continue with your replacement teeth, your dentures.
To do this, we have to position the dentures within the neutral zone defined by your muscles. Your tongue worked for years to help define the space inside your mouth. As it moves around, your tongue pushes outward on the teeth, trying to create a working area in the middle of your mouth, something it does even when resting. Sometimes the tongue might work too aggressively in what is known as tongue thrusting, but most of the time it works ably with the other muscles to define the space of your mouth.
Because the tongue isn’t working unopposed. On the other side of your teeth, your lips and cheeks are also pushing against your teeth to keep them from growing too far outward. These muscles like having the support of the teeth in making facial expressions and performing their other vital tasks, but they don’t like being stretched too far outside their comfort zones, so they push inward.
In the area of balanced forces, where the push outward from your tongue balances the push inward from your cheeks and lips, is what we call the neutral zone, the place where your muscles all help your dentures stay in place.
Denture Retention in the Neutral Zone
The neutral zone concept has been around for a while, but recently we’ve used the concepts of neuromuscular dentistry to update and improve it. We analyze the position of your muscles to determine the optimal shape and positioning of your dentures.
Just as important, we know that your muscles aren’t static, that they change shape and force as they perform the vital functions of chewing, talking, and smiling. We design FOY® Dentures with an awareness of the impact of your muscles at all points in their motion.
If you would like to learn more about how to achieve the best fit for your dentures, please contact a local FOY® Dentures dentist today.