Burning Mouth and Seniors
Burning mouth usually occurs in individuals over 50, but can
affect others as well. There are several reasons why it occurs.
Denture problems: a new denture, or one that doesn't fit well,
can irritate your entire mouth.
Reduced salivary gland function: this will cause the mouth to
become dry, inviting oral discomfort, difficulty eating or swallowing,
loss of taste, and a burning mouth. Salivary gland dysfunction
sometimes comes with age. But there are saliva substitutes and
rinses to protect your oral tissues, and soothe burning sensations.
Medications: these often dry the mouth (side effects)
Vitamin deficiency: there is some evidence linking burning mouth
syndrome to Vitamin B deficiency.
Candida infections: this is a common oral fungus, usually apparent
to the eye but sometimes undetectable. A topical anti-fungal agent
can be prescribed.
Cancer Treatment Related Complications
In The Mouth
Each year about 400,000 people with cancer develop treatment-related
complications in the mouth ranging from lesions to chronic dry
mouth to bone disintegration. If serious, these complications
can be life threatening. While many are unavoidable, some can
be prevented or minimized.
It is recommended that whenever possible, a pre-therapy dental
evaluation with a full set of mouth x-rays be performed. Any decay,
gum disease and abscesses should be treated, if time permits,
prior to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Even patients who have no pain or dental disorders need a thorough
cleaning. The goal should be to have the patient's mouth in optimal
health prior to beginning anti-cancer therapy.
If you have questions regarding cancer treatment and your dental
health, please call our office.
Many denture wearers breathe a sigh of relief when they get their
first pair of dentures because they think their dental problems
are over. What they soon realize, however, is that have just traded
some old problems for new ones.
Even the best dentures can't compete with natural teeth in ability
to chew food efficiently and comfortably. As the years go by,
the supporting ridges that remain after teeth have been removed
gradually change and get smaller.
For most patients, the dentures need to be "relined"
or "refitted" every 2-4 years so that the denture will
conform to the changing ridge. A large change in weight can also
alter the shape of the mouth, causing changes in the fit.
If you have questions about your dentures, please call our office.
Dental Health For
The good habits of effective daily brushing, diet, and use of
fluoride will help the aging person adapt to changing conditions.
Reduced salivary flow and addition of medications will affect
oral health dramatically.
Changes of the teeth and gums: Teeth will darken because of long-term
exposure to plaque and changes in the dentin within the tooth.
The gums may recede and uncover the roots. Exposed roots will
be darker than the enamel part of the tooth and are prone to decay.
Fillings can decay and darken, too, as they weaken over time.
"Dry Mouth" may develop: Saliva is useful to lubricate,
wash away plaque, and neutralize the acid produced by plaque.
Flow of saliva can be reduced by a medical disorder or be a side
effect of antihistamine, decongestants, pain killers or diuretics.
The build-up of plaque will accelerate tooth decay. There will
also be more gum infection which will cause a loss of bone support
for the teeth. Poorly-fitting or poorly-cleaned dentures, illness,
and some medications increase the severity of the problem.
For more information regarding dental problems of the elderly,
please call our office.
Missing Teeth And Dental Implants
"Well, you know Doc, it's just a back tooth. No one
will see it so I'll just get rid of it. It's not going to make
The plain truth is that it will make a difference. The loss
of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an entire
"Well, if that's true, tell me more. I sure don't want
to lose the front ones that I smile with."
Teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by
missing teeth. Just like two gears of a car that are not properly
aligned, pretty soon you've got a whole lot of problems.
"Well, I don't like that. What can I do?"
If it sounds like I've heard this conversation a few times, you're
right. If I'm going to keep a patient happy, I need to provide
options at this point.
One of the options would be an implant. This is the replacement
of a tooth with a false root that is surgically placed. It is
then followed by the careful construction of a crown to replace
the missing tooth, to prevent teeth from shifting and thereby
causing further tooth loss.
If you have any questions about missing teeth and possible implant
treatment, please call our office.
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