Dentures

As our country's population grows older, advancements in denture technology have made dentures better than ever. So why is the denture-wearing segment of our population so grossly ignored by "modern" dentistry? Maybe it's because these patients don't feel the need to see a dentist to "get their teeth cleaned." By definition, they are not very likely to have a tooth ache. Maybe it's a deeper societal issue of ignoring our older population. This is too large an issue to even begin to explore here. Whatever the reason, please try to remember that many of these denture patients probably have not been to a dentist in a long time - maybe not since a dentist pulled their last tooth. Who can blame them if they don't go back - especially, if they don't know why and how a denture doctor can help them improve their lives!

Here are some facts about dentures that may surprise you:

  • Approximately 1/3 of Americans over the age of 65 have no teeth, and another 1/3 of Americans over the age of 65 have less than half their natural teeth.
  • At least half of all denture wearers have problems with their dentures.
  • A denture that doesn't fit or teeth that don't function effectively can make it difficult to chew food properly. As a result, many nutritious and harder-to-chew foods may be eliminated from the diet. In these cases, digestion and overall good health are affected.
  • Old, improper fitting dentures can create an old, weak look, which can adversely affect a person's emotional well-being.

The fact of life is that dentures need to be kept up. What these denture wearers don't realize is that dentures need to be re-aligned, rebased or replaced, just like everything else in life! Nothing lasts forever, and neither do dentures. Certainly, they would not fit the same way they once did. And how about the bacteria they harbor? People trust professionals to clean their clothes, so why not their dentures? There is no way to clean a denture that's been in your mouth over three years with traditional over-the-counter cleansers, so professional denture cleanings are very important. Plus, considering we need to use our teeth to eat three times a day, snack, talk, even kiss, who can expect these "pieces of plastic" to last forever? Well, this is what people expect from their dentures, and it is an unrealistic idea that is either based on misinformation or more probably a lack of information entirely.

Over time the ridges in a denture wearer's mouth change, the dentures lose their fit. Denture wearers typically begin to go to their drugstores instead of their dentist, seeking an easy-fix solution for a complicated problem. Little do they realize, adhesives and cleaners will not help make their dentures fit or look any better. What they really need is a new denture.

Time causes changes in the gums and ridges in the mouth, and these changes can only be addressed through a dentist, not over-the-counter cure-alls. The deterioration is so gradual that denture wearers get used to it, forgetting how it used to be - looking good, feeling good, pain free, and worry free. Many of these patients don't realize that, if a denture is designed and fabricated correctly, there is little need for glues, gels, and adhesives to keep them in place. On average, a denture can only perform for three to five years at the most. Sometimes, they need to be replaced or re-aligned even more frequently. Wearing the same dentures for more than their allotted expiration time causes changes in the mouth that are often irreversible. For instance, an old denture can cause the ridges to shrink faster. This results in a looser denture and in these cases, it then becomes that much more difficult to fit future dentures.

Oral structures naturally change over time. Even a denture that started out perfect will not fit the same as it used to. Dentures that don't fit like they used to can cause friction in the soft tissues of the mouth that could lead to sores that are prone to infections and even oral cancers. Therefore, it is imperative that denture patients get regular oral cancer screenings. After all, these are the people most at risk.

Here are some facts you should be aware of regarding oral cancers:

  • Oral Cancer is the sixth most common cancer and accounts for about 3.6 percent of all cancers diagnosed, with roughly 40,000 new cases reported annually in the United States.
  • On average, 8,000 Americans die of oral cancer each year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. The vast majority of oral cancer occurs in people older than 45, with men twice as likely as women to develop the disease, but younger people should be checked too.
  • Smoking and drinking are important risk factors for oral epithelial dysplasia (OED), a histopathological diagnosis that is associated with an increased risk of oral cancer.
  • Recent studies have shown that disinfection solutions do not eliminate microorganisms like Eschericha coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans.

With proper care and attention, denture patients shouldn't have to settle for less. It is now easier than ever to get information on the latest denture technology, procedures and materials.

E-mail us directly and we will send you more information: drrobertrens@yahoo.com


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