Column: Denture wearers still need regular dental checkups
Dear Dr. Farnsworth, since I have dentures, why do I need to go to the dentist?
According the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 36 million Americans are edentulous, meaning they do not have any teeth, and 90 percent of those wear dentures.
When a person who has dentures and no natural teeth is able to speak clearly, eat whatever they like, and is not experiencing pain, there is a belief that one no longer needs to visit a dentist. However, contrary to this belief, there are important reasons why people with dentures would benefit by an annual visit to their dentist.
The Role of Bone in Good Oral Health
Conventional dentures are supported by an individual’s gums but importantly, the foundation for the gums is the bone. Maintaining good oral health includes keeping the gums healthy, which can help to keep bone levels healthy. Once the teeth have been removed and if no implants are placed, over time the bone — the foundation — begins to resorb and those minerals are used elsewhere by the body. As the bone moves to other locations in the body the dentures begin to become loose and can cause sore spots. Some patients don’t recognize this change in bone because they have become used to utilizing denture adhesives to keep the dentures from moving.
The Oral Exam
A good way to monitor all of these factors is through an annual visit with your dentist. During your exam, the dentist will:
• Assess changes in your bone level
• Remove the denture and assess the fit and stability of the denture
• Provide routine service on the denture, including a reline (adjustment) to improve fit and comfort, relieving sore spots caused by ill-fitting dentures.
• An important part of the routine annual visit is an oral cancer exam. This is particularly important since patients that wear dentures tend to be more mature and at a higher risk for oral cancer. This exam is done visually and if available adjunct early detection technology can be used, such as the Velscope, which allows the dentist to be shown areas of concern before they are visible to the naked eye.
Recommended Care with Dentures
Dentures should be worn though out the day and taken out at night to allow the blood to flow back to the area where the denture was pressing while being worn. Dentures should be stored in water solution using only products designed for dentures.
Five Benefits of Preventive Oral Exams
• Extend the life of your denture, containing your health care expenses
• Prolong the foundation that supports your prosthesis
• Maintain your oral and overall general health
• If you are considering other tooth replacement options, your dentist can present the pros and cons of various removable and permanent options, such as dental implants that would be best for you.
• Support you in continuing to smile with confidence!
Dr. Rick Farnsworth, D.D.S., of Pro Solutions Dental Group – Offices of Jason C. Campbell, D.D.S. Cosmetic & Family Dentistry would love to answer your oral health questions. Email your questions at jcampbelldds@PrescottDentist.com. Learn more about our upcoming free educational seminars, comprehensive dental services, and new patient offers at www.PrescottDentist.com or call 928-776-1208.