The New Year is a time to reflect on the past, consider the present, and plan for the future. Ushering in the New Year marks the passage of time. We hear phrases such as “where did the year go?” and “how time flies”. Some view the passage of time unfavourably. However, by being conscious of time, acknowledging change and heeding a call to action, time can become our ally in living a life of happiness and health – including our oral health.
Time Goes By
During the course of daily living, it is easy to lose track of time and awareness of the time interval related to objects and events. A case in point is the fact that denture wearers frequently forget when their dentures were made and/or they do not think about the age of their dentures. Dentures are subject to formidable chewing forces which, over the span of time, causes them to wear and affects how they fit and function. On average dentures have a life span of about eight to ten years; however, in order to extend their useful life, fit properly, be comfortable and chew efficiently, dentures need to be periodically examined, adjusted and refitted (relined) by a denturist. Unfortunately, many people who are managing with their dentures tend to forget about their oral health and fail to have regular checkups.
Our bodies are not static; they are constantly changing. This also holds true for our mouths, especially after teeth have been extracted. Following extraction, gums/bone will change rapidly and they will continue to shrink throughout one’s lifetime. Denture wearers are usually unaware of the changes happening within their mouth and with their dentures because changes are typically subtle and occur gradually over the course of time. Frequently, denture wearers are unaware of problems that are developing until they face an emergency, such as pain or a broken denture.
It is important that everyone have their intraoral (mouth) and extraoral (head and neck) examined annually, regardless of the number of natural teeth missing. Oral disease can occur even after all of a person’s teeth have been extracted. Oral disease does not always provide clear warning signs in the early stages of development. Oral disease, including oral cancer, is often treatable, however, early detection is critical. In addition to a visual and tactile exam, a number of newer screening technologies have become available to assist with the early detection of oral abnormalities. For instance, the Velscope® – a hand-held device that uses fluorescent light – can help to identify abnormalities often before they can be identified with the unassisted eye. Early detection can lead to more treatment options, potentially less invasive treatments and better outcomes.
Symbolically, the New Year is the time of year when people acknowledge the need for and embrace change. People make plans for the coming year and programs, such as dental insurance, are refreshed. Good oral health is essential to one’s overall health and happiness. When was your last oral checkup? Are you confident with your smile? Are you able to eat the foods that you want to eat? Caregivers: are the people you are providing care for comfortable and able to eat with their dentures? The New Year is a fitting time to take action. Good oral health is essential to you and your loved ones’ overall health and happiness. Call Teresa for a consultation or to schedule a Velscope® examination. From all of us at the Nancy Tomkins & Associates Implant and Denture Clinic, we wish you a happy and healthy new year.