112 By the Dart • Health & Beauty



There are a number of reasons you may be visiting your dental practice only to find that you’re seeing a different dentist to the one you met six months ago; who was completing the treatment proposed for you by yet another dentist a few months before that.

Deciding when to replace your old dentures with

As with any medical provider, it is important to find a dentist that you feel comfortable with. You want to find someone who you can communicate well with and who has provided effective treatment for you in the past. Every dentist has their own approach and technique and it can sometimes be difficult to connect with one that works for you.

Setting aside the recommended replacement

time of 4-8 years, there are other factors to be considered.

If you are able to find that connection with a dentist, there are many advantages to sticking with that dentist over the long run.

LOOSE DENTURES Do you find that you are becoming increasingly


Not all dental diseases progress at the same rate and not every brown or black spot on a tooth needs a filling. It may take six months for one person to develop a cavity while for another person that dark spot will never need to be repaired. The rate of decay depends on all the factors you’re familiar with like frequency of sugar intake and how well you clean each surface of your teeth. It also depends on your genes, how acidic or alkaline your saliva is, how much saliva you produce and how regularly topical fluoride is applied to your teeth.

If you see a different dentist at every visit he/she may be unaware if you are high, medium or low risk for developing tooth decay. It’s unlikely that she will know if that discolouration on your tooth has recently made its appearance and needs a filling or if it’s been stable for many years and a filling is not required. Once a dentist, no matter how gently, takes a drill to your tooth, that tooth will need another filling 10 or 15 years later, and then another. The value to you of developing a relationship of trust should not be understated.

IMPLANT DENTURES To make your dentures even more stable, you may

decide to opt for implant dentures. These are held firmly in place by up to four titanium screws which are placed into the jawbone, acting as anchors to secure your dentures. With this option, there is no need for adhesives or anxious concerns at denture movement or loss of control like with the more traditional removable kind. Your facial structure is also less likely to change because your body perceives

embarrassed or conscious when eating in company, or that you can no longer eat some of the foods you once could? Over time following tooth loss, the jawbone changes shape, receding in size and soft tissues also alter. This can cause uncomfortable mouth ulcers and sore spots as dentures become loose. This makes them unstable and harder to control how and what you can eat. You may also have ‘lost vertical dimension’. This is where the nose and chin get drawn closer together as the jawbone changes in shape, giving a sunken, hollow and aged look, particularly around the mouth. New dentures straighten and lengthen the look of your face, giving a more youthful look.

a brand new set can be a daunting decision when you factor in the cost and time required for fitting appointments and adjustments. Dr. Eugene Bojé (BchD, MSc & full BACD Member) gives you some helpful advice to help you decide when the right time is to make that decision.

the implants as its own and so the bone supporting the titanium won’t shrink as it would without implants being present. Reduced bone loss and associated gum shrinkage means that implant dentures last much longer before needing to be replaced.


GOING DENTURE-LESS If you have a denture with only a few teeth attached

to it then you may be able to get rid of your removable plate completely, by having it replaced with a fixed option. Titanium dental implants or sticky bridges may be a viable route to take and worth discussing with your dentist. Imagine not having a denture at all!


GET TING USED TO NEW DENTURES As with anything new, there is a period of

adjustment and ‘getting used to’. Your new denture will feel like a foreign object in your mouth and may feel a little embarrassing as your learn how to speak and eat naturally again. There could also be some initial discomfort or slurred speech or you may experience the strange sensation of your lips and cheeks feeling fuller. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time. Start by learning to chew soft foods and gradually build up to introducing other textures and make sure you chew on both sides of your mouth to help stabilise your new teeth. Your dentist is always at hand to offer you any advice, reassurance or necessary adjustments. You will be feeling comfortable with your new teeth before you know it!

A TEAM YOU KNOW If you recognise any of these signs and think

that it’s time to replace your old dentures, book an appointment with your dentist to find out your options. There is no need to let anything hold you back from being confident in your look, smile and ability to eat all of your favourite foods once more!

Another advantage of sticking with the same dentist is that it allows you to continue to work with a staff you are familiar with. There are several advantages to this. In fact, being able to see and work with the same people at a dental practice has been listed as one of the most important ways to reduce stress and anxiety for those going to the dentist. It will also save you time when it comes to completing medical history forms and paperwork. From front office staff to assistants and hygienists, knowing the team at your dentist’s practice can be a key benefit to committing to the same dentist.

MOUTH Hopefully, your visits to the dentist do not become a regular occurrence besides regularly scheduled check-ups and cleanings. In some cases, though, multiple visits will be necessary to address a specif- ic issue. Being able to go back to the same dentist during these visits will make a difference because the dentist will be familiar with the issue as well as your mouth. He/she will be able to pick up quickly from where they left before and focus on fixing the problem rather than spending time figuring out a strategy.

Your dentist will have records of every time he/she has seen you in the office and of every procedure that has ever performed on you, including consultations. These records will definitely make things convenient for you and the dentist as you move forward with treatments over the years. Your dentist will be able to refer quickly to these records for information that can help in decisions that have to be made. X-Rays will also be kept on file, which means less time in the dentist chair doing new x-rays over and over.

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