Yes, even if all your natural teeth are gone, it is important you continue seeing our Kalamazoo dentist regularly. Wearing full or partial dentures does not make you immune to gum disease, oral cancer, and other health issues. During your appointment, we will be able to monitor your health after tooth loss so you can protect remaining oral structures.
For example, missing teeth increases your risk of losing bone density in your jaw. Continue reading to learn why it is important to continue seeing our dentist if you have dentures.
Protect Your Overall Health
What many patients with dentures do not realize is that oral health affects more than just your teeth and gums. To have truly good oral health, you must also take care of your jawbone and throat. Many studies show a link between oral health and the rest of your body.
For example, people with diabetes have been shown to have a higher risk of gum disease. The quality of your teeth affects how well you’re able to eat food which directly affects your digestion and your body getting the nutrients it needs. Also, if bacteria builds up in your mouth from poor oral hygiene they may travel to other body parts if not addressed in a timely manner.
Screen for Oral Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates about 54,000 Americans will get this year. Fortunately, Dr. Busch-Abbate can do an oral cancer screening to catch cancer and take the appropriate next steps. Our dentist is trained to recognize oral cancer in its early stages, giving you the best chance of survival.
You are more at risk for oral cancer if you use tobacco, alcohol, or have HPV (human papillomavirus). If you spend a lot of time outside, you may also have a risk of lip cancer if you do not use sun protection. Our dentist reviews your medical history to determine your risk factors for oral cancer.
Signs of oral cancer include:
- Red or white patches in mouth
- Sore throat
- Hoarse voice
- Mouth sore that bleeds
- Mouth sore that does not heal
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain while chewing
If you recognize the signs of oral cancer, schedule an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible. The sooner we detect oral cancer symptoms, the better your chances of surviving. In addition to a visual exam, a test used with fluorescence can aid with detection. A screening test like this helps us catch cancer not visible to the naked eye because many times oral cancer is not plainly visible until it is too late to treat.
Detect and Treat Gum Disease
Gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, can be reversed by adopting a good oral hygiene routine and seeing our dentist regularly. Even if most of your natural teeth are gone, it is important that you take care of your gums. If you wear full or partial dentures, your gums are responsible for helping hold them in place. Once your gums recede, your dentures will slip more often and become uncomfortable. Partial dentures are held by remaining natural teeth that must be healthy and strong to support the partial.
Signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Sore gums
- Red gums
- Swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breath
If left untreated, gingivitis will progress into periodontal disease, which is irreversible and will destroy gum and jawbone tissues over time. If you have periodontal disease, our dentist may recommend scaling and root planning also known as a “deep cleaning”. During periodontal disease treatment, our dentist and hygiene team will remove plaque and tartar both above and below the gum line. This treatment can allow the periodontal disease to be controlled and maintained.
Even after losing teeth you will still need dental care. This especially applies to people who wear partial . The more natural teeth you are able to keep, the less your jawbone will deteriorate over time. In severe cases, jawbone deterioration can even lead to facial collapse. To avoid complications from tooth loss, call our office today.
Monitor the Condition of Your Dentures
It is not uncommon for patients to need their dentures adjusted or replaced over time. After all, your dentures receive a lot of wear and tear from being in your mouth all day.
During your appointment, we will be able to inspect your dentures to ensure they are still in good condition. You will also be able to ask our dentist any questions you have about your partial or full dentures. Protecting your oral health is always our first priority.
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This blog post has been updated.