When it comes to myths, dentures have a colourful collection.
Unfortunately, many common misconceptions about dentures have prevented denture wearers from achieving their optimum oral and general health, appearance and self-confidence.
Some denture myths are; dentures last forever and all dentures are fabricated using the same techniques and skill. We invite you to read on as we debunk some of these denture myths.
There are approximately 40 million North Americans who wear complete or partial dentures. These are dentures that replace one or all natural teeth, this does not take into consideration those individuals with missing teeth, who have chosen not to wear denture(s) due to economics or other factors.
Dentures last forever. True or False? False.
While it’s true that dentures are durable, they will not last forever as your mouth changes over time and the fit and bite are affected. Take for example eyeglasses, (spectacles) everyone knows that your eyesight changes over time, requiring new prescription lenses. The oral tissues and jaw bones may change significantly requiring relines (refitting) of your denture(s) or new dentures.
Once I have my denture[s] made, I don’t need to see my denturist unless I have a sore spot. True or False?
False. If you want to maintain a healthy mouth and an accurate fit of your denture(s) you should see your denturist at least once a year. The oral tissues and jaw bone may change so dramatically in a person’s lifetime that an annual check-up may detect a problem before it begins. Another important reason for annual checkups is to detect oral cancer or any other tissue abnormality. Oral cancer is on a dramatic rise and if detected in the early stages, may drastically increase your chance of survival. Oral cancer is not detected just in those who smoke; everyone should have a checkup by their dental professional. Special cancer screening devices, such as Velscope® will screen for cancer and other abnormalities before it is visible to the naked eye.
During your annual checkup appointment, the following should also be checked and questions are asked to gauge the following:
– Optimum, comfortable fit of dentures. Loose dentures cause chronic gum irritation and/or rapid bone shrinkage
– Sore spots – open lesions caused by ill-fitting dentures
– Determine how effectively you are eating – are the teeth dull? Are you able to chew food as you once did when your dentures were new? Are the teeth flat and smooth, is mincing of food impossible, causing stomach and digestion problems?
– Are you choosing softer, overcooked foods with little nutritional value because you are unable to chew effectively and comfortably?
– Increased swallowing problems that may lead to choking
– Are your facial muscles and lips being supported by the dentures and are you content with the appearance of the dentures and facial structures (lips, chin and wrinkles around the mouth)
Denture wearers can’t eat normally. True or False?
This myth is both true and false. While many denture wearers cannot eat everything they would like, some do have few restrictions in their diets because they have either precision dentures, good supportive bone structure or have had dental implants placed to secure their denture[s].
Although being able to chew all foods is wonderful, the key is really about nutrition and the food value to assist your body function, immune system and in staying energetic. Chewing is simply the ability to break down a food bolus (a piece of food in your mouth) small enough to swallow safely. Food is safe to swallow when it has been minced to the consistency of apple sauce.
What happens to that food after it is swallowed is the critical piece of eating food. No restriction to food intake means that a variety of foods, food textures and nutritional values are consumed for good general health. Your mother likely told you to chew your food 40 times before swallowing- she was right! The stomach requires small pieces to be able to process the food and prepare it for the small intestine to absorb and use to fuel and keep your body healthy. Good nutrition is a key component of a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages. However, for the elderly, nutrition is especially important for staying fit and fighting off disease. One of the most important reasons for good nutrition is resistance to disease, says Caroline Fee, a member of the core faculty at the Stanford Geriatric Resource Center and lecturer in the department of nutrition and food services at San Jose State University.
Dental problems can also get in the way of good nutrition. Poorly fitting dentures, dull chewing surfaces of dentures, tooth decay, missing ‘back’ teeth and other problems can interfere with the ability to chew and swallow, making eating less enjoyable or even painful. Good nutrition is just as important for senior adults as it is for younger adults. Optimally fitting dentures may actually encourage you to eat a varied and well-balanced diet that maximizes your oral and general health, you will then be able to enjoy the social benefits that make dining with friends/family such a pleasant experience!
All dentures are fabricated the same. True or False?
False. Is there a difference between automotive manufacturers? Absolutely. As with any technology and craftsmanship, there is a varying qualitative difference in denture fabrication. There is advanced technology and there is dated technology. Advanced technology is the sophistication of the instruments used, and the knowledge and skill set used in the fabrication of the denture. Don’t buy just on price, but rather based on the service and care given after the dentures are inserted. Ask a lot of questions, including if there is a guarantee and discuss other treatment options with your denturist.
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