Conventional dentures vs. immediate dentures

In the event that you need dentures, you will likely be faced with a choice between conventional dentures and immediate dentures. As the name implies, immediate dentures are inserted right after the natural teeth are removed from the gums. Conventional dentures, on the other hand, are not inserted for about six to eight weeks, once the gums have healed. According to the American Dental Association, dentists conduct a preliminary visit in order to make models of a patient’s jaws for immediate dentures.

These dentures are helpful because the wearer does not have to go without teeth for weeks while waiting for the gums to heal. However, one disadvantage is that gums and bones can shrink over time, requiring people to get immediate dentures refitted. Talk to a knowledgeable dentist on your discount dental plan to figure out which option is better for you.

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What is an overdenture?

When a dentist recommends a patient be fitted for dentures, he may recommend a type of denture called an “overdenture.” Overdentures are geared toward people who still have some of their original teeth, implants, or roots because they use these original teeth as anchors. Overdentures are sometimes preferred to regular dentures because they can help reduce bone loss and create a more secure denture. In order to create overdentures, a dentist must first prepare the remaining teeth or roots by removing any traces of infection and, in some cases, strengthening them with metal caps. This typically requires a root canal treatment. Then, impressions are taken to ensure that the dentures fit the shape and curvature of the wearer’s mouth. At first, the person may experience difficulty chewing and speaking, but in time, the dentures will feel natural.

Remember: Oral health is key at any age, but it is particularly crucial during older adulthood as more problems begin to manifest. Talk to your True Care dental plan dentist about the best type of dentures for your mouth and lifestyle. Taking this first step can lead to a lifetime of good oral health.

What is thrush?

If you have ever had an extended stay at the hospital and been on antibiotics, you may have experienced “thrush,” also called oral candidiasis. Thrush is a fungal infection that appears on the tongue, mouth, or throat and is caused by an overgrowth of normal yeast in the mouth. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people who have a weak immune system, take antibiotics or have trouble producing saliva are all at increased risk of developing thrush. This infection is also common in the very young and elderly, people with dry mouth, and people who wear dentures.

In the case of dentures, experts recommend always cleaning and removing them before going to bed. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of thrush include creamy, white lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, or roof of the mouth. Some people also experience cracking at the corners of their lips, a loss of taste, and a “cottony” feeling in their mouth.  Treatments range from taking antifungal mouthwash to lozenges, although medicines may also be prescribed if the infection spreads. If you suspect you or someone in your family may have thrush, contact your doctor or a dentist on your True Care Advantage discount dental plan for more information about its symptoms and causes. Left untreated, thrush can become a serious health issue, so be proactive and take care of it at the first sign of infection.

Advice on Caring for your Dentures

Millions of Americans wear dentures, but not everyone knows how to properly care for them. Dentures can be very fragile and easily broken, so it is important to take precautions when handling them. It’s helpful to stand over a sink filled with water, or a soft towel, to avoid dropping them onto the hard floor. For this same reason, dentures should not be kept in a place that can be accessed by children or animals. According to the American Dental Association, dentures need to be brushed daily like regular teeth. By cleaning them regularly, you can remove food particles and stains. Look for a brush specially designed to care for dentures.

These brushes have soft bristles that are gentle on the surface of the denture. Never use bleach or harsh household cleaners on your dentures. You can, however, use mild dish soap. Most dentists recommend using an ADA approved cleanser, which can be applied to a wet toothbrush and brushed gently onto the dentures. Always scrub carefully so you do not damage your dentures, and be sure to brush all angles and surfaces. When not in use, you should store your dentures in a special soaking solution recommended by your dentist, or in water. Do not soak them in hot water, though, or you will risk warping and damaging your dentures. Finally, do not forget to brush your gums and tongue every day, as well, to remove plaque and stimulate your circulation. For more information about properly caring for your mouth and dentures, talk to a dentist on your True Care Advantage discount dental plan. He or she can talk to you about your routine and give you additional suggestions for keeping them clean, including ultrasonic cleaners.

Tips & Advice for Adjusting to your New Dentures

If you just recently received dentures, you may be having a hard time adjusting to your new set of teeth. If you are, know that you are not alone. The American Dental Association gives several examples of common difficulties faced by people with new dentures, including:

  • An awkward feeling in your mouth
  • A feeling of looseness while your cheek and tongue learn to keep the dentures in place
  • Mild irritation and soreness
  • A temporary increase in saliva
  • Trouble chewing, particularly hot or hard foods
  • Trouble speaking certain words (you may notice a clicking at first)
  • A slipping of your dentures when laugh, cough or smile

If you are struggling with any of these issues, do not be afraid to talk to a dentist on your True Care Advantage discount dental plan. He or she can give you helpful strategies for adjusting to your new dentures, including speaking more slowly, repositioning them by biting down and swallowing, chewing with both sides of your mouth simultaneously, and eating soft foods cut into small pieces. All of these issues are temporary and will fade after continued use of your dentures. Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!