4 Reasons for Denture Wearers to Have an Annual Dental Exam
If you wear removable dentures of any type, you know how helpful they are for replacing function and cosmetics where teeth have been lost. In this short article I want to present four compelling arguments for continuing to have an annual oral exam, even if you have dentures.
1. The most exciting news in the denture world is implant retained dentures, also called implant overdentures. At your dental visit you can learn about how small diameter implants can vastly improve the retention and stability of your dentures. Implant stabilized dentures are life changing. A person who has their own teeth has excellent chewing efficiency. A person attempting to chew with conventional dentures has only about 3 % of normal chewing efficiency. Obviously, this has a detrimental effect on chewing function and the pleasure that a person can take in eating. An implant stabilized denture can in most cases restore at least 50% of normal chewing efficiency.
Summary of benefits of implant retained dentures:
- Having dental implants placed will preserve bone and will dramatically reduce bone resorption and deterioration that results in loss of jawbone height. Loss of jawbone height contributes greatly to loss of denture stability.
- Implant overdentures can help to control facial contour changes that lead to premature wrinkles and aging.
- Implant overdentures will allow you to chew your food better and speak more clearly. Research consistently shows that chewing efficiency and phonetics are improved by implant retention of dentures.
- Loose dentures that cause embarrassment will be eliminated. Messy denture creams and adhesives are no longer needed with implant retained dentures.
2. The risk of developing oral or pharyngeal cancer does not disappear with your teeth. 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with new cases of oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Roughly 8,000 people die of the disease. That is one person per hour, 24 hours per day. Only approximately 57% of individuals diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer will be living five years after diagnosis. These dismal survival rates are at least in part due to the fact that most oral or pharyngeal cancers are diagnosed at advanced stages. Early detection is critical to increased survival rates. So, if you have not had an oral cancer exam within the last 12 months, please call your dentist and schedule one. It could save your life.
3. No denture fits perfectly forever.The boney ridges that support dentures are constantly changing. The soft tissues around the borders of the denture also change over time. These changes are incremental and most people are highly adaptive, so changes may not be obvious to the wearer until they are quite severe. Your dentist can recognize these changes early and make recommendations for relines at appropriate times so that you can enjoy the best esthetics and function from your dentures.
4. The teeth on your denture wear over time and may not look as good as when the denture was new. Over a period of years, you may even notice that your denture “frowns” or turns down at the corners of your mouth, rather than “smiling” upward. This is an opportunity for a wonderful smile makeover. Ask your dentist about what can be done to improve the appearance of your denture and smile.
If you are already on a regular schedule with your dental exams, congratulations! If not, here’s your opportunity to implement a healthy habit. Give your dentist a call!