Suffering in Silence

Author: Kimberly N. Powell, DDS, MS, FAGD

“Process to completion” is what is written on the final lab slip before a patient is presented with their dentures or partials.  It is the end of denture fabrication but the beginning of the relationship between the patient and their new prosthesis.  There will be hurdles.  For the first-timers, sore spots, a change in food choices, and speaking are new challenges.  For the experienced wearer, sore spots, a change in food choices, and speaking are challenges they have faced before and can articulate what is not familiar and what needs to be changed with their new dentures.  What we do not want is for the dentures to end up in the drawer.  Although we schedule a post-op appointment to address issues following the initial denture delivery, it is not a “one all be all”.  We encourage patients to come back with their concerns as many times as needed.  Relief can be accomplished by adjusting that one high spot (let us do that, don’t get out your file or Dremel), by relining the prosthesis, by considering implants to support the denture, or by making a completely new one.  In the September issue of AGD Impact, a dentist stated that he believed the “overarching problem is that edentulous patients often fall into a blind spot of the dental team; we haven’t heard from them, so we assume they must be doing OK”.  Your dentist does not want to assume, we want to hear from you.  We want to fix the problem, and we want you to return for recare visits.  You may not have any teeth, but your oral cavity still needs to be examined.  Oral cancer screenings with head and neck exams will be performed.  Yes, toothaches are painful, but sometimes the things that are happening in the silence can be much more painful and debilitating in the long run, we want to stay ahead of that.  If you have a partial denture, a complete denture, or both, return for your six month recare appointments, and if you are having ANY problems with your dentures, let us know.  Do not suffer in silence.