According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 35 million Americans suffer from edentulism, which is a fancy way of saying that they no longer have their own teeth, as a result of injury, tooth decay, gum disease or other causes. About 90 percent of those people wear dentures [source: ACP]. But getting dentures to fit comfortably in a wearer's mouth isn't easy.
That's one reason why University of Florida researchers have developed and patented the design for a set of multifunctional smart dentures, which are equipped with sensors that continuously measure the pressure and friction inside a person's mouth. The sensors wirelessly transmit the data to the prosthodontist, who can then ask the patient to come in and adjust the dentures for a better fit. But the device offers other benefits as well. Its sensors can analyze saliva and detect the onset of various diseases, including cancer and diabetes. Finally, they also are able to dispense medication directly into a patient's mouth, which eliminates the possibility that he or she will forget to take it [source: UFL].