When patients have experienced extensive tooth loss, one of the most common treatment options is a denture. Dentures can replace up to an entire set of teeth to restore oral functions, enhance the aesthetics of the smile, and prevent the loss of facial structure. While tooth loss is a factor that is considered when determining dentures candidacy, it is also important to take into consideration a patient’s overall oral health. Conditions such as dry mouth may compromise the fit and stability of dentures. If we feel that dentures and dry mouth may be a problem for our Fort Worth patients, our experienced dentists at Texas Denture Clinic will discuss some alternate treatment options.
In dental terms, “dry mouth” is a phrase that is used to describe patients who consistently lack moisture in the mouth. While there are several possible causes of dry mouth, the end result is a lack of saliva. Dry mouth can make oral functions more difficult (particularly chewing and swallowing), can result in halitosis (habitual bad breath), and can increase the risk of tooth decay.
We take dry mouth into consideration when determining if a patient is a good candidate for dentures. Dry mouth can negatively affect the fit and stability of dentures. Traditional dentures fit over the gum line and create a natural suction that helps to seal the dentures in place. However, in order to create that suction, patients must have sufficient saliva in the mouth. It is the moisture from a patient’s saliva that helps to hold dentures in place and create the seal that will give patients a stable and comfortable fit.
There are a couple of options to consider when a patient with dry mouth experiences significant tooth loss. First, we may try treating dry mouth to restore moisture. Some patients may see improvement with the use of artificial rinses or sprays. In other cases, certain medications may be causing dry mouth and, by switching medications (with a doctor’s approval), patients may be able to increase saliva production. If we are able to help patients get dry mouth under control, traditional dentures may still be a viable treatment option.
In some cases, patients may not see a marked improvement in dry mouth symptoms, even with dry mouth treatment. If traditional dentures do not seem like a good treatment option for one of our patients, our dentists can recommend a second treatment option: implant-supported dentures. Implant-supported dentures are anchored to the jaw with a series of surgically implanted posts and abutments. This offers a superior degree of stability and comfort, and may be an excellent option for patients with dry mouth.
If the strength and beauty of your smile has been compromised by tooth loss, dentures may be an ideal treatment option. To learn more about how dentures can restore the strength, function, and aesthetics of your smile, contact us at your earliest convenience. Our team of experienced dentists at the Texas Denture Clinic looks forward to hearing from you.