Dr. Nate Heffelfinger receives patent for zirconium dentures: 5 takeaways

Nate Heffelfinger, DDS, of Smiles for Life Family Dentistry in Auburn, Ind., received his patent for using zirconium to make dentures and partial dentures, according to KPC News.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Dr. Heffelfinger, similarly to many dentists, previously used plastic to make dentures and partial dentures.

2. When creating plastic dentures, it would take up to six visits to make an impression, carve the teeth into wax, scan carving into computer, have teeth milled, stained and glazed and have the dentures fitted properly.

3. The new zirconium dentures cost around $1,000, compared to $1,500 for plastic, and last longer than plastic dentures.

4. Zirconium, which is already tooth-colored, is used today to make dental implants and crowns.

5. Plastic wares down quickly and therefore dentures need to be replaced every three to four years.

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