You may think that once natural teeth have been removed and your new denture has been fitted that check-up appointments with a denturist are no longer needed. The truth is that even without natural teeth, routine exams are highly recommended to ensure that a person’s oral health and denture remain in excellent condition. Not sure what your denturist focuses on during an exam? Read on to discover how regular check-ups can help protect your investment and keep you smiling.
Oral Cancer Screening
Seeing your denturist regularly provides an opportunity for oral tissues to be checked for signs of oral cancer and other abnormal tissue changes. Denture wearers carry the same risk for developing cancer of the mouth as people who have natural teeth, as oral cancer is often influenced by lifestyle choices such as smoking, other tobacco uses, and high alcohol intake. The lack of natural teeth does not lessen the risk, especially as growths appear on soft tissues such as gums, tongue, and roof of mouth. It is also suggested that denture wearers have a greater need for oral cancer screening due to the appliance covering delicate oral tissue, making it hard for an individual to notice subtle changes.
Checking Your Jaw Joint
A denture that isn’t quite fitting properly can upset the balance between jaw joint and mouth. A denture that’s sitting a little too high or does not fit snugly in the mouth can offset the movement of the jaw, causing the jaw joint to become inflamed and tender and contribute to clicking, popping, and locking of the joint. A denture adjustment might be all that is needed to alleviate TMJ symptoms and other joint concerns, as once the denture’s fit and bite is corrected the jaw joint discomfort is relieved. Jaw pain and unusual joint sounds when chewing, yawning, or speaking shouldn’t be ignored as damage to the joint can occur.
Keeping Your Denturist Aware of Changes to Your Health
Changes to medical health and relating intake of new or different medications can impact the health of the mouth. Some medications cause excessive dry mouth – a condition that can cause gums to become sore and irritated – a situation that is only made worse by wearing a denture. Medical conditions such as diabetes can also hamper the health of the mouth due to an increased incidence of dry mouth, mouth sores, and ulcers that can be quickly aggravated by an ill-fitting denture or by keeping the denture in overnight.
Visiting your denturist on a regular basis ensures that both the condition of your denture and the health of your mouth are kept in the best shape possible.