Denture use is very common in the United States. About 23 million people are missing all of their teeth, and nine out of 10 of these people wear dentures. While your dentures can restore your self-confidence and make it easier to speak or eat, they can also lead to unpleasant oral health complications like oral ulcers. Here are four things denture wearers need to know about oral ulcers.
What are the signs of oral ulcers?
If you develop oral ulcers, you'll notice that you have painful, tender sores inside your mouth. The area around these sores will be swollen, and the swollen tissue may affect the fit of your dentures or may make it impossible for you to wear your dentures. Your dentures may also rub against the delicate tissue and further aggravate the sores. If you think you have oral ulcers anywhere inside your mouth, see your dentist right away to find out if your dentures are the cause of the problem.
How do dentures cause oral ulcers?
When you're missing all of your teeth, your jawbone resorbs over time, so eventually, your dentures will get loose and won't fit as well as they did when they were brand-new. If your dentures no longer fit properly, they may rub against your gum tissue when you eat or talk. Your gum tissue is delicate, so prolonged friction from your dentures can rub away tissue and lead to the formation of painful sores.
Poorly fitting dentures can also rub against the insides of your cheeks. This can happen if your dentures no longer fit snugly against your gums and flop around inside your mouth. It can also happen if your dentures don't fit well and are too wide for your mouth, causing them to rub up against your cheeks.
How can oral ulcers be prevented?
Many people think that they no longer need to see a dentist once they don't have any of their natural teeth left. In fact, studies have shown that a whopping 57% of people with dentures rarely or never have dental checkups. If you're among this group, you could be putting yourself at risk of oral ulcers.
It's important to see your dentist once a year for checkups. During these appointments, your dentist will evaluate the fit of your denture to make sure that they're not getting too loose. If your dentures are too loose, your dentist can re-line them to make them fit better and protect your oral tissues.
Re-lining a denture is a fairly simple procedure. Your dentist will take an impression of your gum tissue, and then this impression will be sent to a laboratory. The laboratory will then re-line the underside of your dentures to make them fit snugly against your gum tissue. It doesn't take very long for a laboratory to reline dentures, and you may even get them back the same day.
How do dentists treat denture-related oral ulcers?
Your oral ulcers will heal on their own, but your dentist can give you various medications to help you be more comfortable while they heal. Your dentist may prescribe an anesthetic mouth wash that you can swish around your mouth to temporarily numb the ulcers. You may also be told to use an antimicrobial mouthwash to help keep the ulcers clean and free of infection.
Once the ulcers have cleared up, your dentist will need to evaluate the fit of your dentures and make any necessary adjustments to prevent you from developing future ulcers.
If you've had your dentures for a long time, they may not fit well anymore and could give you oral ulcers. See your dentist right away to have the fit of your dentures evaluated and adjusted.