More than one 20 per cent of Canadians over the age of 60 have no natural teeth. Health Canada maintains that natural tooth loss can lead to changes in the way patients eat, which may result in nutrient deficiency, speech difficulty, and/or weight loss. Dentures help to prevent these issues by restoring a natural feeling in the mouth. David Jenson, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health, explains that dentures change lives, as the teeth don’t move at all and can help get people back to normal functioning. As a dental assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to be part of restoring this natural feeling to patients and improving lives.
Continue reading to discover three effective tips for treating patients with dentures.
1. Dental Assistant School Grads Know About Denture Cleaning
There is some upkeep required with dentures in order to maintain their look and prevent infection. During appointments with patients, graduates of dental assistant school may see how, or have the responsibility of, removing stains and calculus, which is a form of hardened dental plaque. Some dentists have ultrasonic cleaning capabilities for dentures. These ultrasonic instruments actually vibrate plaque and calculus off of dentures. A good tip is to advise patients that they can purchase these machines for their homes, to keep dentures ultra-clean in between appointments.
2. Grads of Dental Assistant Training Know that Denture Home Care is Important
Denture care at home often extends beyond purchasing an ultrasonic cleaning machine. Patients will need to soak and scrub dentures daily in order for their cleanliness to be maintained. The entirety of a mouth becomes covered with saliva within about 30 minutes, which then can serve as a base on which oral debris and microorganisms can start to form. Dentures are usually fabricated out of resin, meaning they don’t always have completely smooth surfaces and so plaque and calculus can build up in its nooks and crannies. In addition, after you graduate from dental assistant training and begin to work with patients with dentures, you may find out that there is a process of ‘accommodation’ that patients need to go through, during which time the mouth may not respond normally to bacteria and plaque buildup—meaning patients don’t notice it is there.
3. Students in Dental Assistant Programs Know About Denture Adhesive
How exactly do dentures stay in the mouth? Dentists and dental assistants use denture adhesives to ensure that dentures stay where they need to be; on either side of the tongue. Studies have shown numerous times that dental adhesives can be used regularly with no changes to the natural activity of the oral cavity.
Throughout your career, make sure to advise patients that they should apply denture adhesive only to clean and dry dentures, while keeping the cap dry to prevent any clogging in the bottle.
Whether it’s advising patients about when and how they should apply dental adhesive, knowing how to clean dentures, or advising patients about home-care methods for dentures, these tips will put you on track to succeed in a dental office.
Want to find out how dental assistant programs can teach you more about how to care for patients?
Contact an advisor today to find out more.