When your dentist takes impressions or measurements of your mouth to ensure that your dental bridges will be made properly, it does not necessarily mean that you will not need to have them remade in the future. Certain health conditions can cause changes in the shape of your mouth and jaw.
The normal aging process can also cause the size and shape of your mouth to change as well. This can cause ill-fitting dental bridges, which can raise your risk of developing friction sores inside your mouth. Here are three ways aging can cause ill-fitting bridges and what you can do about them:
Age-related arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis can cause bone destruction and abnormalities of your jaw bone. These conditions can also cause pain, inflammation, and in certain cases, lead to loss of appetite and weight loss.
If you lose a significant amount of weight, or if the size and shape of your mouth change as a result of a degenerative arthritic condition, your dentist will need to re-measure your oral cavity so that proper-fitting bridges can be made by the dental lab.
Before getting a new set of bridges, however, see your physician, who will determine if your arthritis is likely to cause further bone damage. You may decide to forego getting a new set of bridges until your condition stabilizes, or until your physician determines that the changes in your jaw will not adversely affect the fit of your new appliances.
Osteoporosis is commonly diagnosed in older women who have gone through menopause. This condition can lead to brittle bones and loss of bone density, including the density of the bones inside your mouth.
During menopause, estrogen levels decline sharply, and because estrogen plays an important role in healthy bones, menopause-related low levels of this important hormone can severely affect your bone health.
If you wear dental bridges and have osteoporosis, talk to your physician about ways to increase bone density so that your bridges don't get too loose or too tight as a result of changing jawbone size. Your doctor may suggest that you consume more calcium and vitamin D rich foods or may recommend that you take an over-the-counter supplement containing calcium and vitamin D.
Strong collagen also helps your dental bridges stay in place by keeping your gums healthy. Aging can lead to loss of collagen, skin elasticity, and unhealthy gum tissue. To promote collagen synthesis, talk to your physician about eating more foods rich in zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Also, quitting smoking and trying to diminish your exposure to air pollution can help protect your existing collagen. These interventions will not only help your skin look younger and more supple, they may also help protect your gums, teeth, and bones inside your mouth.
If you wear dental bridges and notice that they slip when you eat or speak, see your dentist as soon as possible. Getting new bridges that fit properly will help prevent friction sores in your mouth that may get infected if not recognized and treated promptly.