The dentists here at Onsite Dentists Of Texas believe that dentures should never be the first option. With our elderly patients, we will pursue every alternative before we consider dentures.
Many believe that dentures are a blessing for aging seniors. We have heard the argument before that they require less maintenance, they reduce the need for complicated dental procedures, and, therefore, are more inexpensive.
These benefits of dentures are mistaken for “pros” when they are just myths of geriatric oral care. Natural teeth will always be the ideal preference, which is why our dental professionals stress oral care and oral health over the alternative of dentures. While they will always be our last form of treatment, so many of our patients already come to us with a full set of dentures.
Dentures, while not optimal, are not necessarily inherently detrimental. It’s when they are not adequately cared do they become dangerous for oral and bodily health – and most individuals believe they don’t need to follow through with a care regimen, mistakenly assuming they require little to no upkeep.
The first problem that will arise from dentures is that they will gradually start to become loose. To most denture wearers, ill-fitting dentures are viewed as a mere nuisance rather than a concern, when, actually, they pose serious side effects, like:
Malnutrition. When dentures don’t fit comfortably, eating becomes a challenge. Instead of contacting a geriatric dentist to correct this issue, a senior will either develop unhealthy eating habits or refuse food altogether. This leads to malnutrition, which leads to a worsening immune system and deteriorating physical health.
Gum infections. The constant friction of dentures rubbing up against gums can cause swelling, infections, or a callus (or epulis) which can only be removed with surgery.
What can a geriatric dentist do to fix denture problems?
The reason why dentures become loose – and the reason why we prefer our patients keep all the natural teeth they can – is because there will be unavoidable shrinkage of the jaw bone when all teeth are removed, affecting the fit of the original dentures. Here is how these issues can be resolved:
Relining. If the fit isn’t drastically off, a liquid acrylic can be applied that helps the dentures fit more closely to the gums. This is more affordable than continuously making a new set of dentures every time the fit needs adjusting.
Recasting. In severe cases, the only solution is to completely make a new set. The dentist will recast a set of dentures that fits the upper and lower sections of the mouth to eradicate the changes in the shape of the gums or jaw.