Why Denture-Wearers Still Need to Go to the Dentist
Did you know that even people with no teeth need to see a dentist at least once a year? We know that one of the temptations to remove all of your teeth and wear dentures is the idea of never going to the dentist again. Especially for people with severe dental phobias, this temptation is all too real.
The truth is that dentists look at much more than just your teeth. In order to have a completely healthy mouth and body, you need to see us yearly.
Important Parts of a Denture-Wearer’s Dental Exam
If you or a loved one wear full dentures and have no teeth, here is what you can expect from a yearly dental exam.
Evaluating Fit and Function of Dentures
It is a strange phenomenon that we commonly see where people wearing dentures adapt very well to badly fitting dentures. Because the changes happen slowly over time, you might not even notice that there is a problem. As the gums and bone slowly reorganize underneath the denture base, air pockets can develop, disrupting the suction effect and causing looseness.
Our most experienced denture-wearers have such great control over their facial and oral muscles that they can hold in any denture, with even the worst, loose fit. The problem with this is that even though they can keep the denture in place, there is a loss of chewing function. You are unable to put enough force with the dentures to adequately chew the food. Chewing is the first step in the digestive process, and inadequate chewing can actually cause stomach and intestinal problems.
Having a properly fitting denture is important for your overall health!
Soft Tissue Evaluation
Another important aspect of a yearly dental exam is evaluation of the soft tissues inside the mouth. Denture-wearers are prone to sore spots from poorly fitting dentures and fungal infections from dentures that haven’t been properly cleaned. Dr. Chowning will have you remove your dentures so that he can perform a thorough evaluation of all the gum tissues that lie underneath your dentures.
Sore spots can be a source of chronic inflammation. A fungal infection, like thrush, could indicate a problem with your immune system.
Oral Cancer Screening
Perhaps the most important reason you should see a dentist yearly is the need for an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is on the rise, and early detection is the key to successful treatment. In order to catch it early, you must have an oral cancer screening at least once every year!
Professional Denture Cleaning
While you are in our office for your yearly evaluation, we will also have the dentures professionally cleaned. This removes debris, bacterial buildup, staining and accumulation of food particles. We are often able to remove stubborn stains that you cannot with routine home care.
Having a clean denture reduces your risk for sore spots and soft tissue infections. A professional cleaning at least once a year, in addition to good home care of your dentures, keeps your mouth healthy and improves the lifespan of your dentures.
What Kind of Treatment Might be Recommended?
We have discussed some of the problems that can be visible during a yearly evaluation. Considering that, Dr. Chowning may recommend some treatment options.
For loose dentures, we will recommend a lab procedure called a “reline”. This fills in any air gaps that have developed between the gums and the denture base over time. A reline recreates the intimate fit between the denture and the gums and leads to a better fit. A denture that fits well functions well.
Fungal infections require prescription treatment and usually respond very well to it. We will schedule a follow-up visit to confirm that the prescription took care of the infection.
If we find anything suspicious during the oral cancer screening, we may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a biopsy. We will help coordinate any necessary appointments and follow up as needed.
More Questions about Wearing Dentures?
Call 940-382-1750 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning. He can answer any questions you have about dentures, assess your current situation, and make recommendations for treatments that will improve your denture-wearing experience.
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