Q&A with Jodie Atkinson, Denturist and Owner of Mile Zero Denture Clinic

Mile Zero Denture Clinic staff

How long has Mile Zero Denture Clinic been around?
I opened the clinic in February of 2010, so over 10 years ago. Previous to that I worked at a clinic in Grande Prairie for 10 years. So, I have been in the business for over 20 years.

How did you become interested in creating dentures for people?
I have always liked crafts. I was a part of Savanna 4-H crafts as a kid, so creating something with my hands has always been a passion for me. I also like to help people. There is nothing better than creating a smile for someone and seeing their new sense of confidence. Wearing dentures can be life-changing. We strive to make that a positive change. The ability to function while eating and smiling with confidence is pertinent for a person’s quality of life, and I enjoy being able to deliver on that.

Jodie Atkinson

What is the art to creating a perfect fitting set of dentures? You create them in-house, right?
We make the dentures in our office. This allows us to be able to fabricate them quickly (in two days). It allows us to service them quickly as well. We can complete denture repairs in 1-2 hours and relines in a day. The art to creating the perfect fit involves having a keen eye for detail and great communication with the customer. We strive to listen to the patient to ensure we can make them what they want. We also have amazing staff. Creating the perfect fit is a team effort.

What is the process of getting dentures?
We start with a free consultation, where the customer can discuss with one of our knowledgeable denturists their needs, wants and options. If a person needs a replacement denture, we can fabricate the denture in five appointments within two days. If the denture is your first, we will organize all of your appointments with the dentist. We work with every dentist in the Peace Country.

Every patient’s needs are different, and we will tailor treatment plans to each individual’s needs. Many of our customers are from out-of-town, have busy work schedules or have mobility difficulties, so we can organize the appointments to work for the individual.

Why is wearing dentures important?
Wearing dentures is important for many health reasons. The ability to chew your food properly is important for digestion. Confidence in one’s ability to speak and smile is also important for mental health.

What are dentures usually made from?
Dentures are generally made from a hard acrylic. There are variations in acrylic quality. We offer both standard and precision dentures. Precision dentures use a higher-quality acrylic, which makes the teeth last longer and look more natural.

If you wear dentures, can you still taste food?
Yes, you can. Your taste buds are on your tongue.

Some people have dentures fitted right after their teeth get pulled. Others wait a period of time before getting dentures. What is the best way?
In most cases we can fabricate the denture before the teeth are pulled, so you do not have to go without teeth. For health reasons, a dentist may request the dentures be inserted right away because the denture acts as a “band aide” and can help reduce bleeding. In some cases, it is necessary to have the teeth pulled first and wait a short period of time prior to making the denture. (We can make the denture in just two days.) The main reason for having the teeth extracted before we make the denture is due to esthetics. If you have your teeth pulled first, we can add an appointment called a try-in, where we make the dentures out of wax, try it in the mouth, and the patient is able to see what the teeth look like before we finish them. The patient has control over the way it looks, and we won’t finish them until they are happy.

The “best way” depends on each individual’s needs. A free consultation with your denturist will determine the course of action. We stand by our work regardless of what you choose.

What were dentures like when they were first on the market?
In the 1800s, dentures were made from wood, teeth from cadavers and gold wire. Dentures have obviously come a long way since then. Technology has improved the way we fabricate the denture and how they function.

How much have dentures changed over time, and are they more comfortable now?
The introduction of dental implants in the past 20-30 years has improved the success and fit of dentures. Implant dentures allow the patient to “snap” the denture into place over dental implants. This stabilizes the denture which will allow the individual to eat and smile with confidence. Technology is also trying to introduce digital into the denture world.

What are liners?
When the teeth are removed, the bone where the teeth were embedded, slowly shrinks away for the rest of your life. This means, after you have your denture made your gums continue to shrink in size. Your denture stays the same size and therefore it will become loose. “Liners” or “relines” refit your denture to your gums as your gums change shape. Dentures should be relined every 2-3 years.

What if I need dentures but cannot afford them?
In Alberta, there is Alberta Seniors Benefits which will help pay for dentures. (Even though we are located in BC, we accept Alberta Seniors Benefits.) There are other government programs for non-seniors, which can help with a portion of the cost. We also use a third-party lending company call PayBright, which will turn the cost of your denture into more manageable monthly payments.

How long does an average set of dentures last?
Dentures last between 5 and 8 years.

If I pass away, what does my family do with my dentures?
Unfortunately, dentures are custom fit, so they will not be of any use to anyone else.

Finally, what do you enjoy when you are not working?
I enjoy playing hockey, softball, horseback riding, hiking, skiing with my family in Powderking and coaching my daughter’s hockey team.

At A Glance

  • Business: Mile Zero Denture Clinic
  • Location: 103-816 103 Avenue, Dawson Creek
  • Phone: ( 250) 782-6004
  • E-mail: info@milezerodentureclinic.ca
  • Web: www.milezerodentureclinic.ca