Dentures and Oral Infections: Treatment and Prevention
When someone has lost a substantial number of teeth, or even an entire arch of teeth, dentures are the most suitable treatment option. Dentures can replace up to a full set of missing teeth to restore oral functions, including biting, chewing, and speaking. Dentures offer many benefits, but there are potential drawbacks, including oral infections.
Patients who wear dentures have an increased risk of certain oral infections. Here, Drs. Alex and Jason Hecht, of Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist, discuss how dentures and oral infections may impact their Staten Island, NY, patients, what causes these infections, how they can be treated, and, more importantly, how they can be prevented.
Types of Oral Infections Linked to Dentures
Denture wearers are prone to certain oral infections. Two types of oral infections that are most common in individuals with dentures are cheilitis and stomatitis. Both of these infections are characterized by an overgrowth of yeast, but their symptoms vary slightly.
Cheilitis, also known as cheilosis, can be painful. The infection causes inflammation in the oral tissues and often leads to dry cracking at the corners of the mouth. Stomatitis is not usually as uncomfortable as cheilitis, but it can be more difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not always as obvious. Some patients may not notice any symptoms of stomatitis other than a darker red color of the oral tissues or general soreness. Other people with stomatitis develop small red bumps on the roof of their mouth.
What Causes Oral Infections?
The two oral infections that are most common in denture wearers are both caused by an overgrowth of yeast. However, it is important to consider why dentures patients are prone to excess yeast in the mouth. There are a few reasons that dentures patients may develop oral infections, including:
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Failure to remove dentures at night
- Improperly cleaning dentures
- Poor oral hygiene habits
Treating Oral Infections
Most cases of oral infections can be treated with antifungal medication. Antifungal medication can be prescribed in the form of lozenges or an ointment. If a patient does not respond well to medication, or if oral sores persist, laser therapy may be necessary. During laser therapy, a low-energy laser is targeted at sores to eliminate damaged tissues.
Preventing Oral Infections
Although oral infections are a potential risk of dentures, most of our Staten Island patients can avoid them by taking good care of their dentures and practicing good oral hygiene habits. We recommend the following practices to all of our dentures patients:
- Report any fit issues or feelings of discomfort right away
- Never sleep with dentures in place
- Clean dentures daily (avoid using toothpaste or other abrasive cleaners)
- Soak dentures overnight in a denture-cleaning solution or warm water
- Clean and massage the gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth daily
Consider Implant-Supported Dentures
One of the best ways to avoid oral infections that are associated with dentures is to switch from traditional dentures to implant-supported dentures. Implant-supported dentures are anchored down by a series of dental implants. They are not removable, so they are much easier to clean and care for. Implant-supported dentures can be brushed and flossed just like the natural teeth, so patients should be able to maintain control of their oral health and prevent infections.
Get In Touch
If you have suffered from substantial tooth loss, you may be an ideal candidate for dentures. To learn more about the benefits of implant-supported dentures, send us a message online or call (718) 705-4434 and request an appointment at Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist.