research and development

Lost Denture Recovery

                            Miniature Passive Device For Locating Lost Dentures In Care Facilities

Project Description

Lost Denture Recovery will be a novel, fully-embedded, miniature, and safe locating solution using an antenna that is tuned to respond to a specific frequency, fully passive, requires no power inside the denture itself, and is easily enclosed in the denture base substrate. The lost denture’s antenna is located via a small handheld detector that is operated by the caregiver. The detector operates using low-frequency radio wave harmonic reflection and multiplication techniques. The handheld detector unit is accompanied by a user-friendly smartphone mobile application to guide and assist the caregiver in quickly and efficiently searching for and locating the lost denture.

The goal is to increase success rates of locating lost dentures, while giving denture wearers, families, and staff at care facilities and hospitals the confidence and peace of mind that these important prostheses can be located if lost, thus minimizing the financial, physical, and emotional consequences of fabricating and adapting to new dental prostheses.

Societal Benefits

Increasingly frequent and common occurrences of misplaced and lost dentures in both private homes and care facilities have significant implications for the wearer and caregiver in terms of oral health impact, cost, and emotional stress. In addition to neuromuscular associations being lost from an original prosthesis, emotional frustration, conflict, and financial expense often arise due to lost usage time for both patients and caregivers. The proposed research seeks to reduce lost usage time or need for a replacement by developing a highly effective, easy to use, and safe denture locating system to provide on-demand in-home or in-facility capabilities to successfully recover lost dentures.

Broader Impacts

Commercial appeal for this innovative, practical system is very high. The increase in the geriatric population base per capita healthcare expenditure and penetration rates of healthcare information technology are driving this market. Patient acceptance is growing for medical assistive technologies in non-invasive healthcare. The U.S. market for oral appliances in 2014 was $10.9 billion. Many older people rely on caregiver assistance in dental hygiene and maintenance of dental appliances, including searching for misplaced dentures.

The market for the proposed system is further supported by the burdens on both patients and caregivers in handling liability and responsibility for dentures lost in facilities where patients already require routine assistance with basic oral care. There are roughly 15,700 long-term care facilities in the United States, not including 4,800 adult day services centers, 12,200 home health care agencies, 3,700 hospice agencies, 22,200 residential care communities, and over 5,600 registered hospitals, all of which include caregivers overseeing the well-being of patients likely to wear, as well as misplace, dentures. The proposed device is expected to be priced much less than the denture replacement, creating a large market potential, based on the large the target populations and the device’s lower overall cost.

National Institutes of Health Project Description     



Replacing lost dentures is costly and risks inability for the oral musculature to adapt to the replacement.