Tips for Seniors on Avoiding Denture Problems

June 13, 2018, MedicareFAQ

Tips for Seniors on Avoiding Denture Problems
Tips for Seniors on Avoiding Denture Problems
√]Oral care is important for everyone, especially those with dentures. Dentistry is beginning to focus on preventative maintenance and widespread use of fluoride, the result is a fewer number of people with dentures.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology only one out of four people ages 65 and older have lost all their teeth. Dentures that do not fit properly is a very serious issue for seniors. When seniors have ill-fitting dentures, the can develop mouth sores that risk infection and make it difficult to talk or eat.

Improper dental care can lead to extensive tooth decay and gum disease, dentures can be used to replace teeth that have been removed. While dentures may fix the missing teeth problem, they can come with some issues of their own. Dentures can also require just as much, if not more care than natural teeth.

Dentures Can Become Necessary

When you don’t go to the dentist regularly you can develop tooth decay and gum disease. Dental insurance is something most seniors don’t have. “Does Medicare cover dentures?”, is a common question many seniors ask.

The simple answer is Medicare doesn’t typically pay for dental treatment or dentures. With certain medications or medical conditions that can cause oral health problems and accelerate tooth loss, you can see why this is a problem.

Dry mouth and other oral health problems can also make teeth and gums more prone to cavities and infections. Tooth decay and gum disease are among the top 5 dental issues for baby boomers. Seniors need affordable dental coverage to ensure a healthy mouth and a happy life.

Dentures That Don’t Fit

Dental adjustments can be made when dentures are not as comfortable as possible. If they are your first-time dentures or if you have had them for a long time, your dentist can refit the denture, so sores don’t occur.

If sores do occur see your dentist as soon as possible, they shouldn’t be ignored. Dentures that don’t fit are a common problem among denture wearers, and it can be a painful problem. Properly fit dentures should rest snugly against the gums and not slide around, pain shouldn’t be an issue. Ill-fitting dentures will constantly rub the gums and create what is called an epulis (callus) that requires oral surgery for removal.

If you have had your dentures for a while, then expect natural changes in the gums and jaw over time. Gums change and the bone underneath the gum can shrink, this change is slow, and seniors may not realize it. Seeing a dentist to be sure dentures fit properly and have any dental screenings needed preformed.

Fixing Dentures That Don’t Fit

Ill-fitting dentures can be fixed by your dentist no matter what the cause. An ill-fitting denture may cause lesions on mucosa and inflammatory overgrowth could appear; repairing, relining or rebasing the denture will solve the problem.

  1. Repairing: Dentures can fracture during use or they may drop on a hard surface. The key of repairing is the accurate reassembling and alignment of the broken parts in their original position. Dental laboratories can usually repair cracked teeth or tooth loss in a denture.
  2. Relining: Relining is the correction of denture adaptation to underlying tissues by the addition of a new resin material to its fitting surface without changing its occlusal relation. Additional material is added to the tissue side of a denture to improve its adaptation to the supporting mucosa. This can either be done in the office or in a lab.
  3. Rebasing: Rebasing is a process of re-adaptation of a denture to the underlying tissues by replacing the denture base material with a new one without changing its occlusal relation. Dentists will do rebasing when the existing denture base is unsatisfactory.

 

Tips for Seniors on Avoiding Denture Problems

Dentures require as much care as natural teeth. The following tips are recommended for denture wearers:

  • Give your new dentures time, getting used to them may be uncomfortable at first. New dentures will usually require more adjusting from your dentist after the first fitting.
  • Scheduling your adjustment is necessary if you begin to see sores on your gums or tongue. Dentures will need to be adjusted by your dentist. The dentist will place a soft, gum-like material in the denture to provide a cushion.
  • Start a nutrition shake habit. Getting the nutrition needed can be hard when you are adjusting to your new dentures. Drinking a nutrition shake meal replacement will ensure you are getting the nutrients you need daily.
  • Take your dentures out. You should remove your dentures for at least 4 hours a day. When you take your dentures out be sure to store them in a denture solution or water to help it hold its shape. Soaking your dentures at night is recommended; remove the dentures, clean them and soak them in denture cleanser overnight to preserve the quality of your dentures. Be sure to store dentures properly, away from children and pets. Dentures can break easily and will break if dropped even a few inches.
  • Monitor your weight. Losing and gaining weight can impact how well your dentures fit. If you have a significant change in weight you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to check the fit and make any adjustments.
  • A small amount of denture cream should be all you need. Denture creams used properly can work very well at sealing the denture. You should not rely on denture cream to force your dentures to fit. If your dentures are ill-fitting you need to see your dentist for an adjustment.
  • Go to the dentist. Regular dental visits will allow your dentist to check your dentures and clean any remaining teeth that may hold your dentures in place. Even if you have no natural teeth you should still have your mouth examined annually for signs of gum disease and oral cancer.

 

  • Good oral habits are needed daily. Brushing regularly can remove bacteria and food particles that lead to gum irritation and infection. You should brush your dentures every day and night just like natural teeth. Dentures can still build up plaque and tartar like natural teeth. Use a toothpaste and toothbrush designed for use with dentures. Regular toothbrushes are abrasive enough to scratch the dentures.

Dental Coverage

We know Medicare will not cover dentures; the next commonly asked question, “Does Medicare have any dental coverage?” The simple answer is that Medicare will not cover routine dental care. It is imperative that seniors obtain dental coverage.

Improper dental care will lead to extensive tooth decay and gum disease, dentures will be needed to replace lost teeth. Dental coverage can be affordable and is always necessary. Dental insurance providers can offer expansive coverage and may include all the routine dental services that you will need.

With dental coverage you will not need to worry about changing benefits and you typically don’t need to renew the plan each year. Dental plans will allow you to add family members who reside with you. Some plans will allow you to use any dentist, others will not. It is important that you choose a plan that fits your dental needs, you will use the coverage.

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