Washington, D. C.

HE TONGUE is an extremely sensitive organ, and it is necessary that the prosthodontists give serious thought to the nature of the environment in which the tongue must function when artificial dentures, either full or partial, are being worn. In 1931, I constructed a full upper denture for a patient who was seriously ill. Despite my best efforts the patient continued to experience nausea whenever the denture was in her mouth. Careful checking proved that the patient was During one visit to my office she asked me to rub my tongue not a “gagger.” on the surface of my palate, and to note that the sensation was one of frictional resistance, and not like that of rubbing the tongue on a hard, smooth, and highly polished surface. (I suggest that the reader make this test for himself.) At her suggestion I removed the high polish from the tongue surface of the The sensation of nausea disappeared entirely, and she was able to denture. wear the denture with comfort. This was one of the most valuable suggestions that I have ever received from a patient, and I have utilized it with great satisfaction since that time. Of the many factors which influence the tongue environment in the presence of artificial dentures, I shall deal with only two: the nature of the finish of the tongue surface of the appliance, and the development of properly located rugae, when they are to be used. I have found that a matte, or nonglossy surface, on upper dentures especially, is much more acceptable to patients than a glossy surface. The matte surface not only improves tongue comfort, but also aids materially in phonetics because the tongue is able to obtain a degree of traction on the denture surface, which is similar to that obtained when the tongue is rubbed against the mucosa. To continue proving this point, I often deliver dentures with highly polished tongue surfaces, and at a subsequent sitting I remove the glossy surface with coarse wet pumice on a rag wheel. The patient’s reaction to the new mattelike surface is very gratifying. The presence of prominent artificial on the surface of upper dentures is, in my opinion, often more detrimental than beneficial, especially to phonetics.


rugae tongue

Received for publication Aug. 15, 1953.

If. but especially the upper denture. the black wax. and in most instances they are located far from the underlying natural rugae when the denture is positioned in the mouth. I obtain the effect by carving interrugae grooves on the tongue surface of the denture over the areas where the grooves exist in the mouth. Suitable grooves are carved between the dark shadows with a round hur. for normal patients. Practically all p:coblems in phonetics. and by properly contouring the tongue surfaces of both dentures. D. after the patient has worn the denture. Dirksen reports enthusiastic comments from patients wearing partial dentures constructed in this manner. By this method any desired irregmarities on the tongue surface of the denture will be located exactly over similar irregularities on the musoca. as previously described. even when light pressure is applied. and are then smoothed with pumice on a small felt cone. this is not the average situation. More often the natural rugae tend tu flatten out.C.W. .Volume Number 4 1 PROMINENT RGGAE AND GLOSSY TONGUE !jURFACES 2 $ While some natural rugae tend to maintain their passive form under light pressure.. may easily be seen. to the tongue surface of metal castings was recently developed at the Central Dental Laboratory at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. representing the natural rugae. 1801 EYE ST. This condition should be accomplished by the dentist at the time of the final try-in of the wax denturrs. it is decided that some evidence of rugae would improve phonetics. ARTIFICIAL RUGAE FORMATIOTU‘ The basal surface of the denture is dried. and molten black carding wax is deposited in the grooves representing the natural rugae. natural rugae are more or less resilient and do not maintain their full passive form during tongue function. The application of the nonglossy surface idea. WASHINGTON 6. In any case. Too often we see upper dentures presenting very prominent ridges which are supposed to represent rugae. can be solved by properly positioning the artificial teeth. With the basal surface of the denture facing a bright light. Colonel Lynn C.N.